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Changed My Mind: 2021 Edition Part 2

This post is a followup to Part 1 where I reflect specifically on cases where I have learned, grown up, or adapted to new circumstances.

Physical Books

This one is a cop-out because I still actually prefer reading ebooks for myself. However, I have a new reason to want to have physical books around.

I love reading, and I want to share that with my daughter. Of course, she has plenty of board books that we regularly read to her. However, I want to go beyond that towards having a household culture of reading.

This isn’t a stretch for me: despite having a child, I have still found plenty of time to read. What worries me is that when I’m reading an ebook, it doesn’t look like I’m reading. It looks like I’m just on my phone or Kindle, and my daughter can’t tell the difference. Dad just spends a lot of time on his phone.

However, if we have physical books around and she sees me reading, that hopefully becomes a positive association about how we as parents can model our desired behavior.

Planescape: Torment

I first played and finished Torment in high school. I knew the story was brilliant and the gameplay was terrible, but I don’t think I really got it, per se.

Since it came out on iPad a few years ago, I have tried to play it on multiple occasions and couldn’t get over the poor gameplay. It didn’t seem worth putting the time into.

Then at some point, I got over the hump and was hooked. I took one long break, but during the two big stints, I was playing it constantly in every gap of time I had. It was worth it, and when I finished, I was looking for more games in a similar vein (and unfortunately couldn’t find one).

I have become extremely fickle about my video game preferences recently, and it’s mainly around justifying the time spent. It’s made me picky, and that’s not a bad thing.

Gardening

My parents love to garden. My in-laws love to garden. I, however, couldn’t be bothered to figure out how to keep even a basil plant alive.

It just seemed like a lot of work to tend to a tiny (compared to the size of the Earth) plot of land. Plants are capricious, and weeding is an unending task.

Then I got a yard.

I wouldn’t say I love gardening. At least, not yet. I also am not quite at the point of taking pride in my gardening work. However, gardening has enabled me in one major area.

In 2020, I set a goal to “Get in Touch with Nature.” Just about all human plans set at the beginning of 2020 went awry, and mine were in that batch. However, I don’t think it was going to work anyways.

In general, I find it difficult to learn new things for their own sake. I thought I was good at it in school, but after school, I realized I was motivated by the structure and grades. It’s much harder to read a textbook or just really learn things in real life.

I have been trying to keep up on learning Mandarin for years, and I honestly haven’t made much progress. However, when I knew I was going to Paris, I crammed French for a month and used it as much as possible at restaurants, grocery stores, and with drivers. I made myself use it.

Similarly, in my professional life, I have a huge backlog of interesting technologies, frameworks, programming languages, and more that I want to learn. I have done plenty of tutorials and read a few books, but none of it stuck. However, when I needed something to build a side project, I figured it out.

So when it came to getting in touch with nature, I had some ideas for why it would be good to do but no specific purpose for it. However, it has happened naturally because our garden will go to ruin unless I figure some of these things out. And it’s been very fulfilling and grounding to do that.

P.S. On Dice & Diapers, I wrote about 5 Player Rewards That Won’t Break Your Game and My Experience with Parent & Toddler Swim Lessons

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