I posted on twitter the other day that I have found purpose once again. I often speak in codified messages on twitter (and in RL for that matter), and for that I apologize. I at times still go back to the world as it was; the life before finishing graduate school. The life of being a double agent, the snarky, abrasive Drupal developer in public that makes sites for people; and yet the same person in private who publishes battle plans for creating more then just a product, who sought to (and has) built a social movement united in technology.
It’s never been about Drupal, it’s never been about technology, it’s been about sending a message and creating a movement. My 20s were the start of the race to build a base of experience and relationships for leveraging all of my 30s (40s are mapped out too but we won’t talk about that for 8 years).
All of 2016, I’ve felt lost (yes we’re 21 days in) and I know why. I’ve never, not been in school. Ever. There was such an invisible weight on my mind for so many years thinking of what the research would be, why I couldn’t talk about it, how much I wanted to; so much conflict, it drove me rather mad. But it’s all gone now and at first it was liberating, then it turned… empty. Nature abhors a vacuum and human nature is to abhor mental vacancies. I had this cloud where the mission, looking out 5-10 years, has been complete. We’ve set things in motion that cannot be undone,…. now what. Executing that vision? Twiddling thumbs? (how drab)
In Avengers Age of Ultron, Captain America keeps having a vision (though supplanted by the enemy) of people saying “The war’s over John, it’s time to go home”. He’s constantly worried that he can’t unpeg from that lifestyle, that he can’t be anything other then a warrior and now in the lack of conflict is nobody. This is the concern I realized I was feeling.
We’ve raged an invisible war for years now. A war against inefficiency, a war against things as usual, a war in the name of empowerment, all the while showing up to work (all of us) and simply doing our jobs (and then some). We built an open community second to none that’s breaking down decades old barriers, once in the name of progress, now in no name at all. We’ve made the message the mantra and it seems many more are adhering to our vision of the future then we even realized. When allies outnumber enemies the resistance is no longer resisting, it’s the norm; you’ve “won”.
We Won, now what.
And so, instead of getting comfortable, instead of eventually becoming the thing that we hate and allowing a future social movement to consume us (yes, it took 3 years to stop the tide, 3 more to change it, and 2 more to get to today, so we’re talking far out) we need to disrupt ourselves. We need to envision ourselves as legacy and step forward into what we are to become. Our destiny; an ever advancing, unclassifiable platitude. Something we can’t see but can only envision in our dreams.
The most important question to ask if your rich (like, money that just sits there and prints money) is “when is it enough?”. What’s your end game. when will you actually be happy? There are many that have chased success their entire lives only to find out at the end they didn’t stop and enjoy that they had “Achieved” it decades earlier. Families, relationships, kids, everything had passed them by as they were too busy seeking perfection and stability to realize they had already achieved it.
Where is this going
I’m trying something new this year. I will no longer contain what I actually feel we’re driving towards to those thoughts in my mind and those cryptic messages on social media, or at least as much as I can comfortably say. I’ve let the cat out of the bag in certain presentations that I’m an activist. A change agent, and that everything I do is to that end. I’ve brought up the who and the why before, and I will again. It’s my kids. My family. My friends. Everyone in the future that I wish to have a better platform to stand upon. From the simple things (people here no longer argue about platforms they just build) to the complex ones yet to come.
This may sound like a research project. And I contemplated it. Detailing it all and “doing the research” and get a degree and all that jazz (and I may still do that some day). The problem is. I like hockey, I love my family, and I enjoy having time to just sit. And a PhD is none of those. But, research, research projects we can commit in every action every day. It started with the ramblings on my personal blog (this is not my personal blog by the way) back in 2010. I was too scared of my own thoughts to post them publicly, but I still had to some how, though this now has transformed into a public site that I’m encouraging others to contribute to over on Information Altruism Network.
To do any good research project, we need questions that are being sought to have answers. I haven’t formulated all of them in away that I find non-threatening yet but they will start to emerge.
We are a social movement, expect us
I’ll leave you with one of the things that changed my life and sent me down this wormhole in the first place. It may be 3 minutes long, but it’s how I know what we’re doing can’t be stopped.
The first follower is what transforms the lone nut, into a leader