My Noodle

2021 Resolutions

It’s resolution time! Oh no! What on Earth am I going to resolve to do that I’ll drop after two weeks?

Resolutions seem to go like that don’t they? I usually don’t worry about them. But this year I think I’m going to indulge in the tradition. This year, I’m going to succeed.

What do I resolve for this year?

  • Stop playing Sudoku
  • Stop eating so much sugar
  • Figure out what I want to do next
  • Find a way to forgive myself

Sudoku

I’m addicted to Sudoku. I think to myself. 15 minutes of Sudoku is okay. There’s nothing wrong with 15 minutes! Then I wake up an hour later to find myself still playing, and I can’t stop. This is a serious problem.

Sudoku itself isn’t a problem in itself, the problem is that it affects my life adversely.

First, it wastes time, and considering that I’m very aware of time passing and I have the impulse to get what I want to do done in my life, playing Sudoku does absolutely nothing for me. Sure, it can help me relax, but the fact that I can’t stop tells me I need to make a change.

Second, it affects my health. Playing Sudoku, especially on a computer, requires me to focus. My eyes pull in on what I’m doing. Now, I’ve noticed that the more my eyes pull in, the more likely I am to be depressed, and not sleep well. I do exercises to pull my eyes out and be more open to the world. But it would be nice to not have to compensate for an addiction.

So, I’m going to block my Sudoku game on all my browsers.

If I really need something to focus on to relax, let me walk the 5 steps over to my keyboard and do my piano lessons. Or do a few lessons on Duolingo for Spanish. Both are goals of mine. That hour could be used more efficiently!

Stop the Sugar Madness

I love sugar. I know, I know, I’m not alone. It’s the worst drug in the U.S. I love it so much.

Yesterday I went to a friend’s house for brunch. Let’s just say, they really know how to put on a brunch. So much yummy food! And great company! And cookies and chocolates and this cream cheese frosting that I couldn’t say “no” to when tempted by my friend who was dangling a spoonful in front of me.

I have no willpower around sugar.

That night I came home, and my ears were on fire. They itched so much. I’m pre-diabetic (last time I checked). I have no business having sugar. At least that much sugar.

I’ve been trying to only have two squares of chocolate a day. Theo’s 85% dark chocolate. Chocolate is the one thing that if I don’t have, I feel completely deprived. 85% doesn’t have much sugar in it. I want to continue having it.

But what if it’s a gateway? Humm? What if those two pieces of 85% dark chocolate are opening the door to more chocolate? More sugar?

I don’t want to give up those two squares.

Here’s what I’m going to do:

  • No extra sugar in the house
  • No going to the bakery on 61st street (they only have sweets)
  • If I need a pastry, go to the other bakery, and get a savory pastry
  • When I’m invited again, let my friend know I can’t eat the sugar anymore, and why

If this doesn’t work, I may have to give up the 2 squares. But I really want this to work.

Planning the Future

Currently, I’m a software tester. A manual software tester (automated testing is not testing). This is great when I’m working for the right company. I have so many opinions and goals around testing. I have a great need to put out a tight product. I like to feel like I made the software world a better place.

Goodbye Testers

The issue is that people are not hiring manual testers so much anymore. There is this idea of “minimum viable product” and that that is good enough. That the customers will send in bugs.

The result of this is a lot of really crappy software products. And if you do turn in a bug, they don’t fix it, they try to just give you a work-around. Or they tell you you’re wrong, because the Devs want to think they’re great, even as they put out crap. The delusion is astounding…

Not only do I have to deal with crappy software, but my job seems to be going away industry wide. A job that could help them not put out crap. There are some serious screws loose.

I have a good job now but having three companies with different ideas of what’s acceptable squished together is really hard. I think that if I’d been hired after MITS was acquired, I might have had an easier time. But I wasn’t. I was a part of MITS. A company that valued quality almost as much as the bottom line. So, I’m stuck in the past, mourning the loss of my company, and not sure what to do about it.

There’s this idea that software is somehow not so important. Yet, our lives are ruled by it. I certainly hope the people coding bank software hires testers. The last thing I want to hear is that my savings disappeared due to a computer bug.

Hello Age

On top of all of this, I’m 57. The fact that I’m still in the tech industry is a miracle as it is. Usually, techies get chewed up and spit out by 40. They’re either gone, or they’ve joined management. But no, I’m still plugging away at 57 yelling about how the Cancel button doesn’t work as expected.

I’m fine where I’m at, for now. But none of us know what the future holds. I have to start thinking about my own future.

I’m trying to figure out something I can do, that will pay decently, that will not fry my brain. I want to start learning about new things and go to school. I want to be ready when it’s time to make that change, whether I’m the one making it, or it’s being forced on me.

The Monkey Wrench

All of this planning is about a job, making money. But that’s not my ultimate goal. My ultimate goal is to live a creative life.

I want to write, and I want to act. Both of which do not guarantee success. Or money. You gotta make sure the bills are paid.

Some people have this romantic view “going for it 100%” or “having a backup plan means you’re not serious.” This is bullshit. It’s a delusion. And it’s an excuse when we fail. “We didn’t want it bad enough.” The truth of the matter is that there are brilliant actors that are not acting and poor ones that are. Some books get published, some screenplays get made, but most don’t. And none of it is rational. The creativity business tries to work with the bottom-line, they are a business you know. Decisions are made without any sense. You can’t run on the belief that you are in control. You’re not. So, get the fucking job and pay the bills!

I’ve been “getting ready” for COVID to be over. I’m working on getting some European accents and trying to get my funny bone back.

When COVID is over, I’m moving somewhere. And I’m going to do the thing. And I’m going to make sure I can eat as well.

Forgive Myself

The person I have much to answer to is…myself.

15 years ago, I went to Los Angeles to be an actor. I made many mistakes, lost all my money, and became technically homeless. I stayed in a rattrap on Aurora for a while. I was depressed and a bit suicidal. Since I’m writing this, I obviously pulled myself together. Whoo hoo! But it was hard.

As I pulled myself together, I joined a community. I got a lot out of it:

  • I became less ego-centric and saw other people as separate from myself (you wouldn’t believe the delusions I’ve created in my life)
  • I learned that most people didn’t have a bad childhood like I did
  • I learned about non-violent communication
  • I had a lot of fun going to dances and parties and events
  • I went from having a few friends to having many
  • I got to feel like I was a part of a community

But there was also a lot of bad:

  • Members of the communities tended to be rude to outsiders
  • There was a lot of pressure to conform
  • Most of the men were beta males, so I quit dating (I like alpha males)
  • I allowed rudeness and assholery towards myself in order to be “nice” and fit in
  • I put up with dumbasses
  • I let go of a lot of my old friends for this community
  • I lost myself

The thing is, I saw all the badness. There were so many things that made me go “hummm.” And yet, I pushed it aside, out of my mind, in order to stay with the community.

Then, the community did something I could not push aside. The women in the group chose a man in the group and bullied him, attacked him, and threatened to banish him, forever. And they claimed to love him.

It’s been a couple of years since I found out about this and it’s been hard trying to reconcile it all. My mind is blown.

They have tried to justify their actions to me but were unsuccessful.

I could no longer hide from it anymore.

These people are not my community. I don’t fit in. I haven’t dated anyone. I don’t have any really good friends from that 15 years of being with them. I don’t condone their actions.

Even though I had a lot of fun at first and many needs got met, I let myself down. I lowered myself to stay with the group. I discounted my own intuition when clues popped up about the true nature of this group. I ignored the signs. I lost my integrity and my self-respect.

This is my fault.

When I was feeling better, I should have been gone, or at least disconnected myself quite a bit. But I didn’t. And I wasted 15 years of my life.

“Should have…” yeah, the dreaded “shoulds.”

Now I can only go forward. This is hard because I know that many of the people are not in this core group. That they are more on the periphery, like I actually was. They probably don’t even know something happened.

I need to forgive myself.

Clearly 2021 is the year for change.

  • I’m going to reach out to members of this community who I think wouldn’t do that bad thing to that man and let them know I’m going to be de-friending that core group and find out if they want to remain on my list
  • I’m going to de-friend that core group
  • I’m going to call out the bullshit
    • I will not be manipulated
    • I will not be bullied
    • I will not back down
    • I will not be lectured
    • I will not be shamed and blamed
  • I’m going to be myself, in all my inappropriateness…
  • I’m going to do what’s right for me
  • I’m going to have a great rest of my life

And Then…

That’s right, resolutions from the silly (Sudoku) to life-changing (bye bye community). That’s what I’m going to be doing.

And I’m not letting anything get in my way….

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