9th September
written by Randy

Over the last two years, I invested a lot of my time and energy in blogging. But not only blogging — it’s been about learning new things, doing new things, and publicly putting my journey on display.

The net result was quite valuable, of course. When I set goals in private, they easily get overlooked, but when I openly, publicly commit to a plan of action in front of an audience of my friends, I don’t like to fail. I don’t want my friends to see me fail.

More than that, however, the blogs have been an outlet for thoughts in my mind when I didn’t have anyone around to talk to. They’ve given me a place to confess weaknesses, to share my excitement, and hopefully to help others learn from my own experiences.

Lately, my life is full and I don’t have the time to write. I have a full-time job that I love — actually, more than full-time. Whereas in other positions, I’ve had so little to do that I could actually crank out a blog post right from the office most days, but now I have a job that I love and I often find myself working non-stop at the office, and then bringing more work home and working all through the night. And this is not because I’m a slave, it’s because I love what I do.

Further, I’ve been finding better friends and spending my time with better people. Whether it’s been my dance partner, or the girl who helped me practice Italian, or great group of people I work with, I’ve been making better relationships and finding less need for a place to share what’s on my mind.

You see, when I first started all this heavy blogging, I was pretty lonely. The closest person in my life had just left me, and left a big hole that I didn’t know how to fill. In the past, I’ve had a tendency to jump quickly from one relationship to the next, which allowed me to hide a lot of things from myself and allowed me to avoid actually facing difficult periods in my life. But this time was different.

When this happened, almost 2 years ago, I didn’t run to a new relationship. Instead, I began focusing on myself. I spent a lot of time alone. I accepted that I had a lot of things to learn and I started down a path toward learning them, and toward improving my life by improving the person that I am.

All of these big things that I’ve been doing? They’re steps in an even bigger plan. Traveling gave me interesting things to talk about, and interesting experiences to remember and to use in my life. Running has given me the mental strength to take on long, difficult, seemingly impossible tasks. Language study has given me a somewhat unique for others to associate with me, as well as an impressive social skill. Dancing has given me confidence and social grace, and the comfort to be a leader. Minimalism has caused me to strip away all the baggage and all the bullshit that’s been with me my whole life. My current level of physical activity has me in the best condition of my life. I look great, I feel great, and I’m a better, more interesting person to be around.

I’d love to continue documenting my journey and sharing it with anyone who’s interested, but I feel like the point is gone. The journey is becoming less interesting — or at least my telling of it. Not to mention the fact that I just don’t have the time any more…

I will most likely keep the Yearlyglot site up. I may continue to add to it from time to time, and I will probably continue to give attention to language learning on a yearly basis. But I think the rest of my online presence is going to begin to fade away… starting with this site.

I appreciate all of you who have read this and followed along on my journey.

31st May
written by Randy

Today I started a new job. With the exception of a few weeks working short contracts for extra spending money, I really haven’t had a job since last October, when my engagement ended after a year with a company I had hoped to stay with.

In a break from what has been my pattern for the past several years, this is a full-time position — that is to say that it’s a long-term commitment, rather than a contract. Several people have remarked that it must have been a really exciting opportunity for me to make that decision, and they’re right: it really is an exciting opportunity.

I’ll be in a position to do what I love, and to help others learn to love it the way I do. I’ll be working with people I respect, and with whom I enjoy working. And as part of my generous compensation package, I have gotten a commitment to allow me more to travel much more than what a typical person is allowed in a normal American company — the most important detail that led to me accepting the offer.

Now I’m excited to find out where this will lead, and in what other new ways my year will be amazing as a result of this!

22nd January
written by Randy

For the past 10 years, I have made my living as a programmer, and a damn good one. I’ve stayed familiar with current technologies and I have only accepted job offers from companies where I could grow and move forward, rather than sit and stagnate in old, comfortable skills.

Since the introduction of the iPhone, it was obvious that the world was changing, and as a programmer, it was never unclear how that would affect me. But what’s interesting is how slow actual businesses are to move toward what’s new, and how much slower developers are to learn those things.

It’s a catch-22. Businesses want their apps developed by people with experience building apps. Developers want their companies to give them that experience. Nobody gets ahead.

Today, it’s not just the iPhone. Today, we have the iPod and the iPad, and even AppleTV is using iOS. Who knows what will be next? The time is now. I need to have this skill, whether it’s for the purpose of getting a job somewhere else, or just for the sake of earning money from the sales of my own app.

Therefore, my fifth yearly challenge for 2011 is to put in the time, learn what I need to learn, do the work, make an app, and have it published on Apple’s App Store.

This involves more than just learning the language and APIs for iOS, it also includes becoming a registered developer, learning the ins-and-outs of the app store, and generating attention. Success in this will be measured by making an actual sale.

Now, it seems the first thing I need to do is figure out what kind of app the world needs…

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17th November
written by Randy

We’ve been cheated. We were promised something and we’re never going to get it. We believed in something that isn’t true. We’ve been robbed, swindled, cheated, lied to. We’ve been had.

Most of us grew up believing that if we do well in school, pick a good career, work hard, get married, raise kids, and be “productive members of society”, we could have a good life, and one day retire and enjoy the fruits of our labors.

We’ve been taught to think of people as human resources. Most of us learned to define ourselves by our jobs. We perceive our value in the world as relative to our income, our consumption, the size of our houses, our cars, the prestige of our job titles.

We’ve been taught to believe in democracy, and capitalism, and the invisible hand of the free market, but we were never taught how to be citizens. We’ve only ever been taxpayers. Consumers. Nothing more than cogs in the corporate profit machine.

And we believed. We bought into it. We went to school. We went to college. We chose good careers that were in demand. We bought those big houses and those fancy cars and convinced ourselves that this was the good life, and that we were happy.

But in 2008, the bubble burst. Some call it the real-estate bubble, a few call it the banking bubble, but it was something bigger. In reality, it was the consumerism bubble that burst. It was the end of capitalism.
It was the end of the world as we know it.

Now, we’re left with the self-delusions of recessions and recoveries and stimulus and tax-breaks; delusions that we feed ourselves to avoid admitting the truth: we have no idea what comes next.

The world we grew up in is gone. The truths we thought were true aren’t true any more. The things we took for granted are gone. We live in a new world. The world as we knew it ended in autumn of 2008, when the world economy collapsed. This thing we’re in right now — it’s not a recession, it’s a correction. This is the new world.

A century of technological progress and innovation has raised efficiency so that much more work can be done, and better, by fewer people. And with free-trade and outsourcing and offshoring, we’ve spread the limited resource of “jobs” all over the world, to the people who would do them for the lowest wage.

And now we’re unemployed. Unemployment isn’t just a problem in the US, it’s a problem throughout the developed world. And it’s not going to go away. Why would it? Nobody’s going to hire first-world talent to do work that they could have performed for pennies in the third-world.

It’s the great normalization. The result of the “world economy” will be to make the working class equally poor, no matter where they are in the world. This change is already happening, and it won’t take long. We can’t afford to hang on to our delusions any longer. There is no such thing as “creating jobs”, no matter what the politicians tell you. Capitalism is over.

It might take 50 years for the dust to settle. But that’s just because we all need to get old and die off, so that we can get out of the way with our old world way of thinking and let the youth grow up and show us how to survive and succeed in this new world.

It’s either that, or wake up and figure it out for ourselves. Which would you prefer? Would you rather slowly rot away in poverty and die, wondering what happened to your American Dream™, or figure out how to adapt and overcome, and survive happily in this new world?

In the new world, there is no place for consumerism. In the new world, there is no place for big cars and big houses. In the new world, we don’t have the luxury of being so careless and frivolous.

Here in the new world, less is more. Rather than earning more, the key is to spend less. Here in the new world, the minimalist is king. Possessions get in the way. Experiences are the new currency. And really, that’s how it should have been all along. The end of the world as we know it is a good thing.

Instead of living like slaves and using excessive consumerism to numb the pain of that life, we are on the edge of freedom. We’re standing on the edge of an awakening. We’re close to the realization — either willingly or by force — that capitalism isn’t the life we were meant to live. It’s not the good life. It’s slavery. But we’re not free yet. First, we have to unplug ourselves from The Matrix…

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1st October
written by Randy

Today is my last day at my current job. And instead of being worried or sad, I’m excited.

It’s not a big dramatic ending. I’m not quitting, and I wasn’t fired. I have been working there under contract, and today is the last day of that engagement.

Most people tend toward permanent placements at jobs where they will stay for several years, so when someone leaves it’s a big deal. But for the last ten years I have worked mostly as a contractor, so I’ve grown accustomed to seeing things end and new things begin.

What makes things really different this time, however, is that because I’m completely debt free, I don’t have to hurry out and find a new job. And I’m not going to.

My monthly cost of living is already very low. I don’t have a car or any of the associated costs of owning one. I recently had my cable tv turned off and found that the free broadcast HDTV signal is even better than what you get over cable. And giving up my cell phone is going to lower my expenses even more.

So while so many people right now are unemployed and worried about how they’re going to pay their bills, I actually have the freedom to be unemployed by choice! With only three months left in this year, I am very tempted to simply not take a new job at all.

Instead, if I replace the time I would spend every day working for others with time spent working for myself, I am confident that I can make my web sites grow. And I have one in particular (which I can’t tell you about just yet) that only needs a few more weeks of work before it is ready to share with the world.

After that, I’ll work on the e-book. As you may know, I’ve been learning Italian this year, and writing about it at my web site Yearlyglot. My plan is to release an e-book at the end of the year, with an easy, step-by-step description of how I became fluent in Italian in one year… without traveling to Italy. I will include links to free learning resources, and video of myself speaking Italian so everyone can see that it really does work.

And finally, during all of this, I will continue to travel. Mostly within the US — I’ve already been to 34 states, and there’s no reason I couldn’t get to the other 16 in the next three months. Especially since I’ll be visiting five more next week when I go to Salt Lake, Mt. Rushmore, and Yellowstone National Park.

My year just continues to get more and more amazing. I’m not sure how I’ll top it next year, but I’ve already got some great ideas. You’ll have to stay tuned to find out what they are.

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