If you’ve been following my personal story for the past few years, you know I’ve had a run of less than stellar moments (that’s four links). I feel a little weird talking about it sometimes – I’m by no means in a unique position, and by any overall measure certainly in a good one! – but I am nevertheless, because I sincerely believe that stoïcism and silence are two very different things.
So today I’m going to write about something else.
I’m going to write about having a good time.
Personal Pandemic Pizza Party
First up. A bunch of my friends and I all have birthdays in what I call “political summer” – between Memorial Day and Labor Day, because the solstices are climactically wrong – so I rounded everyone up, put ‘em in a group chat, and told them to crash my mom’s house, and we did. Most of my friends don’t (past tense now!) know each other, and so everyone got to know each other and have a good time.
It was really nice! I hadn’t seen any of the attendees other than my partner in about a year for the most recent to ten years for the most separated.
One of my longer-running gags on my Twitter account is to become mutuals with people for various online-graph reasons (many of which neither of us can remember; the whole website exists as a giant boiling cauldron of social chaos and sometimes collisions are elastic and sometimes they agglutinative) and then meet them for the first time by showing up in their town for a completely unrelated reason.
Before the pandemic, I’d met three people that way. In 2021 (I’m backdating 2021 by two weeks into 2020 December also, roll with it) I added another six. Admittedly I’m cheating a little bit – I moved to Arlington, where some of them also live. But the moral of the story holds up: it’s fun to know people online, and it’s even more fun to hang out with them in person.
I’ve been a fan of the band Bleachers for a while, in part because Twitter user @nerdassbitch_ refuses to let me embarrass her by only knowing three women in pop and nobody else …and in part because Jack Antonoff is a producer for all three of them. So I got some tickets to their show at The Anthem and invited her, as well as two others. By a fluke of scheduling, the other two dropped, so I invited one of the aforementioned locals instead to keep them from going to waste.
It was a great show. Also my fourth-ever concert (Mannheim Steamroller and Trans-Siberian Orchestra as a kid, Taylor Swift for her reputation tour), but others with more experience than me tell me my opinion is not just because I have a low bar. Even masked and somewhat anxious about crowds, it was a phenomenal time.
I left AWS in early August. I didn’t have another job lined up immediately, which was just a little bit (a lot bit) frightening, but my instantaneous relief on my last train ride home was still the most relaxed I’d felt in a long time. Absolutely no shade to my former team here; I was just in rough shape and the overall environment wasn’t helping. I got tremendously lucky to immediately begin interviewing (and hired) at Fastly, who gave me a start date of last week, so I got to spend six weeks blessedly unobligated.
I’m only six days in at my new job, but I’ve been feeling confident and optimistic about working here since my second phone call with them. It’s work I haven’t done before, but still near my niche. It’s for people I think I like, and most of all, it’s wholly public. No classification, no clearance, not even a corporate muzzle. I’m can tell you what I’m doing right now: I’m working on the H2O webserver.
First time in a five year career I’ve been able to freely say that. It feels good!
So yeah. These are some nice things that have been happening. There are more! I have been holding steady for the last few years but I really, sincerely, am finally feeling like I can be doing well. Even with everything else going on.