Every two years, like clockwork… then something snapped

So, I’m motivated to make something out of my web empire, again… and I notice how neatly this happens every two years. Easy to brush off some early success, with such past instances of fortitude as those to work from.

But the interesting thing, something just changed. Almost literally snapped, and things were suddenly different. Okay, I can understand some hesitance to accept this change-of-heart as total quite yet, but here’s something: I quit drinking iced tea. Not “I’m trying to quit iced tea,” not “I need to quit iced tea,” just woke up one day and it occurred to me “I don’t drink iced tea.”

And now I don’t.

Something’s different this time.

The Road to 50

As has been known to happen every couple of years, I’ve had a birthday and I’ve decided to put more energy into my websites.  The fact that two posts down from here exists a post proclaiming much the same thing — two years ago — gives me the opportunity to cover the same ground as I did then and note the differences two years can make.  So how have I used the intervening years to benefit myself, my family, and my world?

I certainly feel more comfortable with this question than I did last time.  Things definitely feel as though they are moving forward, even though they are moving slowly and perhaps not in precisely the direction I’d hoped or expected.  I am also hopeful that this next year has the potential for new starts, which I wasn’t so sure of last time around.

And this past year has seen a particular change; although there has been less writing about it, there has been real progress in several areas.

In particular, there is progress in areas that I particularly made happen: things have changed, and I have changed them.

The trick now is keeping it coming.

The first thing I mentioned two years ago was the need to address my weight, and I’ve made some changes that have already made a noticeable change from last time, and are habits that are sticking to keep improving.

It’s still not perfectly clear “what I want to do when I grow up,” but now is the time to be trying things until I find out.

So that’s what to look for now: new starts.

BruceS — Joi Ito of MIT Media Lab:

Joi Ito of MIT Media Lab:

From a Wired interview:


Ito: There are nine or so principles to work in a world like this:

1. Resilience instead of strength, which means you want to yield and allow failure and you bounce back instead of trying to resist failure.

2. You pull instead of push. That means you pull the resources from the network as you need them, as opposed to centrally stocking them and controlling them.

3. You want to take risk instead of focusing on safety.

4. You want to focus on the system instead of objects.

5. You want to have good compasses not maps.

6. You want to work on practice instead of theory. Because sometimes you don’t why it works, but what is important is that it is working, not that you have some theory around it.

7. It disobedience instead of compliance. You don’t get a Nobel Prize for doing what you are told. Too much of school is about obedience, we should really be celebrating disobedience.

8. It’s the crowd instead of experts.

9. It’s a focus on learning instead of education.

We’re still working on it, but that is where our thinking is headed.

via BruceS — Joi Ito of MIT Media Lab: From a Wired….

Year 48: Work in Progress

I had my 47th birthday this past Sunday, and, as ever, the noting of another year past highlights the question: what did you get done?  What have you accomplished?  How did you use this year to benefit yourself, your family, your world?

I haven’t been comfortable with that question for a long time, now.  Not that I spent these successive years to be totally bereft of any wisdom about the world or myself… indeed, there are times I’m almost convinced my knowledge and inclination is leading me towards counseling others on exactly this topic… yet still I am left with the unavoidable conclusion that the true answer to all of those questions is “Not nearly enough.”

I started this website in September of 2003, with the intention of writing about personal change… documenting my own and hopefully mapping the way for others.  Certainly, there has been change along that way, and if need be, I could find a reasonable enough list of things that have changed for the better.  But one of the changes… actually, several of the changes along the way… have been of the completely-ripping-up-the-road-and-starting-over variety.  Most recently, this happened just a few months ago, and there is certainly nothing here now that is of any help to anyone looking to effect their own life change.  And a deeper problem is how little of even the positive changes I can point to and say: I wanted that, I planned that, I made that happen.

Things changed.  I can’t honestly say I changed anything.

Obviously, that’s got to be the first thing I change.

As I dig through that accumulated wisdom I referred to a few paragraphs ago, it’s clear that I need to change, as a starting point, two particular areas.

The first is my weight.  I spent most of my life as a skinny guy, and then several years as a normal guy (which, in America over the last couple of decades, still qualified me as pretty skinny, compared to those around me)… and the last year or two as a fat guy.  And still, at 6’4″ and 250 lbs, I’m not outrageously obese when I walk around out in public.  But I can’t do things I should still be able to because of the weight, I believe my health is suffering because of my weight… and to be perfectly honest it kind of makes me hate myself when I’m confronted with my own weight.  So that’s one thing.

The second thing turns out to be the first thing, in its way, as well.  You don’t have to look very far to see a revolution going on… see people turning their backs on traditional ideas of jobs, careers, and employment, and making their living by living their lives.  Confucius said that if you find a job you love you’ll never have to work a day in your life, and that’s probably overstating things somewhat, but the kernel of truth is there.  I need to find my passion, follow my bliss… I need to figure out what I want to do when I grow up.

So that’s what I want to change.  So let’s watch for some changes.

Welcome to jeffjewell.net

This is the most personal of my weblogs.

While www.jjewell.com is intended to be the front page for my commercial activities, and www.jeffjewell.org is for creative and interactive works, www.jeffjewell.net is about changing lives: in particular, the changing of my own life, and hopefully by extension, the eventual changing of the lives of others.

This is not the first incarnation of jeffjewell.net.  Earlier versions have all, in their turn, struck me as being of dubious enough value so as to have been buried with each new format, or host, or purpose.  They did, however, provide the plan for moving forward.

Because it is the most personal of my weblogs, one type of post will be personal journals… not personal in a hidden-away-and-passworded sense, but personal in a here’s-how-this-worked-or-didn’t-work-for-me sort of way.  History suggests that some of these will be rather whiny pieces… and that they will occasionally be the result of over-indulgence in one substance or another.  I’ll be posting these in the journals category, to be more easily sought out or ignored as your preference requires.

All of my weblogs have a category for posts concerning the weblog itself, and its place within the framework of my overall internet presence.  On this site, these posts will be found in the meta jjn category.

My hope is that I will find some successful techniques and methods for identifying, planning, and achieving personal change that will be useful to others.  For now, these posts will find a home in the Franklinism category.  Benjamin Franklin has been both an inspiration to me and an ideal for me to emulate, and the previous jeffjewell.net used the term to encompass the structure I was creating for life-change.  There are some things about using the term that I’ve grown uncomfortable with, but at the moment I’ve not come up with anything I like any better.

Finally, there will be posts that mostly just link to something or other I’ve found useful or interesting while travelling this road.  These will end up in the resources category.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you find something here that helps you change your life for the better.