Are you there, blog? It’s me, Tom.

Wow, it’s been over a year since I’ve posted on here.

Much has changed and developed.

My last post was “blog more, reddit less”. I definitely didn’t follow through on that. I wrote that at the turn of 2015. I still hop on reddit, almost every day. The outings are definitely more infrequent and shorter, though. I deleted my reddit browsing client from my phone and occasionally access the site throughout the day. It is probably part avoidance technique, but it’s also a way to stay informed and feed intellectual curiosity.

In the spirit of the “be. here. now.” theme of this blog, I started working on incorporating more of the “be” part of the theme into my life. When it becomes time to face negative, stressful thoughts and emotions, we often look to distance ourself from them. We look for distractions. I noticed that reddit was one and while I still use it as a distraction from thought, it’s helped that I have limited its use. I have turned my focus to be willing to face the content that comes into my head, be it positive or negative. Willingly facing emotions and thoughts head-on. Willing to accept the circumstance, but also the power to change it. A lot of these thoughts have come from a book- “Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life” by Hayes and Smith. I recommend it.

So what have I been doing the last year that’s taken up blogging time?

-Programming. I mentioned earlier in this blog that I had started to pick up programming in Java, and done more stuff at a community college in learning more abstract concepts like discrete math and systems programming. Today, I went to my first hack-a-thon (one on music and tech, of course). I like programming so much that I…

-Started a master’s program in computer science at DePaul University. I’m in the third of what should be 7 quarters. I have learned to work on programming projects within deadlines, something I had the luxury of not dealing with at the community college, where learning was much more self-paced. This quarter is focused on distributed systems / servers and learning common threads between programming languages.

-Working out / recovering / avoiding injury. I love running. I’ve written posts about it. But there’s something about my left leg, around my shin, that incessantly bothers me. Over the past year I’ve had an MRI, 2 rounds of physical therapy, and attempts at trying to avoid re-injury through new equipment, exercises, and stretches. I think it’s a perfect storm of over-training, weak hip muscles, and just plain aging. It bothers me from time to time still, but I nevertheless try to run once in a while. School makes it tough. Hopefully I’ll do at least one race this year.

-Traveling. 2015 brought me to California, Georgia, Nevada. I haven’t traveled much in a while, and haven’t taken very long trips (most have been 2 – 3 days), but it’s nice to get out of Chicago once in a while and out into the world beyond.

-Trying to be more ‘present’. I mentioned it above. It’s probably worth mentioning again because it’s something I will struggle with for some time. I’ve definitely become better at it, but it’s truly a habit to be formed in order to become second nature.

-Pet projects- made my own personal website. Very basic, but it has provided a motivation for learning more front-end development skills this summer. Started learning programming concepts away from what I’m directed to do in school, such as working on automating processes at my current job.

Those, I would say, are the biggest things. Work and school are by far more demanding than they’ve ever been. And I like it like that. So far.

Perhaps this blog will take a turn to expand beyond the “be. here. now.” theme. I’m not sure yet.

First, I’d have to come here and write more.