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: goldkin tranquil (goldkin tranquil)
New Year's Day was spent here quietly. It was filled, for the most part, by whittling away my time improving some of my solutions in SpaceChem and idly petting a purring tabby. This is a gross oversimplification, of course (it leaves out meaningful conversations and miscellaneous games played, including Disney's Where's My Water? and gaming touch-and-go for the semi-annual Steam achievement hunt), but it's how I like to remember these things.

One of the wonders of coming home yearly to see family is seeing how little changes in the intervening time I'm been gone. This leads to sort of a change by degrees -- the whitening hair of my father, the occasional addition or loss of a family feline, the changing topics to suit the current marvels of the given time -- that give each visit its flavor, remind me that time inexorably marches on, and that these visits are precious.

Such stability isn't without its cost, however. My family, while otherwise pleasant and well-meaning, can be outright cruel in their single-mindedness towards my ambitions and goals. While I bask in the familiarity of this place and in its outward-facing effect on my life, I'm also reminded why I chose to leave it for my current residence in Washington State. For me, it's a simple matter of needing to grow free of the stagnant influences of this place in Florida.

Between pleasant dialog, I have been forcefully reminded several times of my parents' vision for my reality. They picture a successful businessman in the vein of the now-late Steve Jobs, ruthlessly and passionately successful at the hands of product niche and insightful design. They would have me give up most of my pursuits as frivolous in favor of finding a successful working wife (not a typo) in a complementary field, continuing the genetic line, and settle down in a quiet corner of Florida that is both sufficiently within my field while being close enough to visit on a weekly basis.

While well-meaning, this extreme expression of ego is the root of many of my psychological problems. Much of my snappishness, reticence, and inability to cope with the changing social whims of others can be traced to my parents' attempts to regulate my behavior and goals, through passive-aggressive feedback loops of social nagging. They go far out of their way to debase my pursuits to uphold their own, and over the course of my life, it has caused me to develop a strong inferiority complex and skewed vision of how others perceive me. It's left me, often, socially paralyzed and depressed.

Before I continue, to the parents reading this: please do better for your children. Your role is to nurture and support them towards what they set their minds to, then step back when they need to figure something out on their own. Be loving, be supportive, be gentle, and be there if things don't exactly go as planned.

To my own issues: I have, through the help of others, moved beyond most of the problems I cited above. Many remain. And I think it's best for my health that I continue on this path of philanthropic science that I've carved out for myself. It isn't much. It certainly won't make me rich. But it's the healthiest life that I know how to live while pursuing what I find interesting.

Being here has reminded me that, for all that I love of this time, this place, and this family, my visits here remain socially toxic. I do what I can to improve what I can, but I'm much healthier as a person when my goals, lifestyle, and habits aren't being constantly judged against an unattainable subjective reality.

So, while I feel glad for the visit, I will be equally glad to soon return.

I feel honored and fortunate to be able to say all this, and I know, against the problems of many, these things are mere trifles. But it's where I am in this life, and I believe, at least in these cases, that it's best to share.


Dec. 31st, 2011 06:11 pm
goldkin: snoooooooww! (snoooooooww!)
I hope you all have a good New Year's. My summary of 2011 can be stated in few words: much was done, much remains to be done, and I've greatly enjoyed the people, places, and projects that have graced my path this past year.

Stay safe this evening. I'm looking forward to seeing you all again in the new year.

October 2015

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