goldkin: goldkin tranquil (goldkin tranquil)
At the end of each yearly visit with family, I perform a solemn ritual of leave-taking. It is the time when I mentally and spiritually prepare myself for my goodbyes, pack up my room for another year's hibernation, and spend what few hours remain with family, both human and feline, before saying my farewells.

Each deliverance is harder than the last. For, despite my practiced view of detachment to physical things, the impermanence of my existence and impact on this world settles home when it becomes time to leave. It reminds me that my place is now this continuous walking in and out of the lives of those I care about, and I frankly don't know what to make of it.

Each time, though, I find a little more of myself in the experience. This visit, I found my resolve to confront my family on my mental distress and finally rebuild our lost communication. We still don't see eye-to-eye, but even that small victory, long in coming, is meaningful to me.

And in my first quiet time to reflect since earlier last year, I also found that pithy phrase to define what drives my life: I exist to make this world more elegant and more simple, without sacrifice, by organizing ideas. It seems like such a small thing now, and yet my guiding principles in everything I do, from mathematics to computer science to art and architecture, flow from it. This brings me an increased amount of peace within myself, and next, I shall seek to find why I became this way.

In each leave-taking, there is new sadness. And in each, there is joy in new experience. I do hope 2012 fares well for me. I currently have no plan on what I shall do next, save to be there as the story unfolds.
goldkin: A goldkin squishie? By Jirlae? Here? Surely, you jest! (goldkin squishie awake)
Flying home is invariably bittersweet for me. It's like returning to the first town of a well-crafted RPG, 40 hours in, where you discover by sheer relief of experience just how small your world used to be. The old newbie training grounds are still there, the fort you had your first adventure in is still intact, and all of the topical content has fallen by the wayside of interestingness due to the level curve. Yet, it's filled with memories of discovery and early optimism that makes it worth the visit from time to time.

For this reason, South Florida is a bountiful source of old habits and ritual for me. It hasn't taken me very long to readjust to my old sleeping habits and late-night software maintenance schedule (as I resuscitate the aging local network). My habit of daily trips to the bookstore has reasserted itself, as I peruse for new material outside of my standard reading paths to shove into my Kindle or speculatively purchase as something I might like. And the ritual of spending the evenings mostly to myself, working on one thing or another when I'm least likely to be bothered, has consumed most of my time when I'm not in the midst of being paraded by family to some location or other.

The energy here is much nicer than I remember it, which is good. I'd been dreading this suffocating sort of social malaise that I primarily associate with visits with family, and while some of it is still present (in the form of low-grade social drama and pathologically poor communication choices), mastery over my metabolic issues and my own style of communication has made it quick to dispel. All that's left is striking a balance between my family's interests and my own, as I aggressively defend my time off and my social time from incursions of easily resolved trivia.

Our Christmas was fun in an almost parochial sense of the term. The Christmas rituals were nice, the lights and various dinners were fun for all involved, and the bepresenting went better than I expected as the primary gift giver this year. Interestingly though, the communication gap between generations was more palpable than it's ever been, contributed to primarily by age and use of technology. It seems that proficiency with the Internet has become the biggest contributor to how effective my family members are at communicating and getting things done, and to that end, each is performing admirably in their respective age categories. The notion of my parents performing their own research and tech support before asking me has me giddy, though it adds a sense of urgency to masking my actions from them online, as they're still quick to assume the worst without reading the best.

Otherwise, with the occasional social dilemma, it's nice to be temporarily back. It's let me reconnect with my cats, reassert my control over my servers and backups, and otherwise catch up with the world in ways I'm not able to when working full time. And see family and old friends, whom I hope remain in good health over the next several years as this becomes something of a new tradition.

Though, next year, I think I'll take Thanksgiving with family instead of Christmas through New Year's Day. That way, I'll be able to attend FC in 2013, which I'm sure many of you would appreciate.*

* Assuming the world doesn't end, of course.

October 2015

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