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Re: Work, Life, and Love

tags: life

tetris is pondering why he finds himself in arguments with his SO:

> But, her passions and her profession have no overlap.


Dear tetris,

your description is vivid. And yes, I can see that your profession and your passion overlap quite a bit. And yet it is no surprise to me, that your SO is requesting some premium attention time.

You ask for thoughts.

About Work an Passion

My profession and my passions do overlap to some extent, too. But:

I refuse to plan my work day in my free time

I refuse to solve any work problem in my free time (with the possible exception of trying to use git at private projects in similar ways)

I refuse to even keep my notes about work and passion on the same device. That might sound very strange to folks, who are constantly using their smart phone. But as I have written elsewhere, I even refuse to have a smart phone.

In other words I keep work and passion separate to some extent. At work I am preparing Linux operating systems including all the bells and whistles to support the application. At home I'm programming microcontrollers, use the solder iron and the logic analyser.

About commuting

While I have quite some time to tap away on a computing device during commute, I don't often do this. I prefer to stare out the window and let my mind wander. For me this is very important. I am convinced that being productive all the time is unhealthy and even somewhat of an illusion. My mind requires "free time" to stay sane. And I am not keen to experience what John Brunner calls "sensory overloading syndrome[a]". I cannot imagine watching TV and typing away at all --- but I disgress.

About attention

I cannot do two things simultaneously, which both require my full attention. And I conclude, noone else can (which might be wrong occassionally). And therefore I demand full attention from people around me, while we chat. It drives me mad and quickly away, if I am just one of several simultaneous conversations --- the others of which I do not see/hear (think smartphone messages). I think your SO is demanding some time of whole hearted attention.

I am married for more than 20 years. My wife works in programming, too, but she does /very/ different things. We can chat about programming related stuff for a bit. And sometimes we do. But premium attention time involves other things:

We sit down together for meals including coffee and dessert. No rushing. Often one prepares the meal, and the other cleans the kitchen. This works well.

When I come home in the evening (my wife works from home since SARS-COV2 got abundant), we sit down to have a drink, sometimes a snack, have a chat about the day, life, plans for the immediate future, sometimes health, sometimes even the universe (both being physicists by education). Often we sit on the terrace for this moment.

Working in the garden, not together, but often at the same time.

Going out is not a big thing for us. But if we do, no devices keep us company.

Lately we have spend some times looking at old slides. Private cinema of sorts.

So. I think, what I am trying to get across is this: Spending some time in full attention mode may change things in unimaginable ways.

Good luck!


[a] John Brunner, The Shockwave Rider, "Reiz├╝berflutungssyndrom" in the German translation


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