When I was at university in the 1980’s, I admired friends who had the discipline to choose engineering. When I was married, I saw the heavy workload closer up as my husband completed an engineering degree. But engineering didn’t interest me then.
And when I went back to school in 1999 for an IT diploma, I was still thinking like a student of English Literature (rewarded for originality) and I was surprised by my (objectively given) poor grades. After two months, I considered quitting.
A family member in a technical field gave me a pep talk that helped me decide to stay in the course a bit longer. Something shifted for me the third month. The work suddenly became clear to me. I saw code and patterns everywhere. I had fun and did well in the remaining months. I didn’t quit too soon.
But if I had a school/work path do-over (or could give advice to any young people willing to listen), I’d get a computer science or engineering degree after high school, work 10-15 years, then retire to a simpler life before 40 after which I would have lots of worry-free time to pursue English Literature and writing. Yes, I became more practical with age. And, no, when I was young, I never listened to any advice.
When I was dating MF, I appreciated having easy access to an engineer brain: I could ask him questions about technical stuff and quickly get talked out of some of my ignorance and its trailing paranoia. With the condo and especially with the tiny house, I often used my motivational reminder for problem solving and reasoning: think like an engineer.
I have been trying to figure out optimizations and troubleshoot challenges with living in the tiny house myself before asking for help. There has been some success, some progress, some ongoing experimentation. With the first days of freezing temperatures in November, I had an issue with the hot water heater and the propane regulator. As is often the case, there were multiple factors (including user error) causing the issue. I tried a bunch of actions in my troubleshooting before contacting James, the tiny house builder, and I felt good when he said he would have tried the same things.
I admit that if given a choice, I would prefer to fill my days with just reading, writing, meditating, hiking, and dolce far niente. But SLSR and a tiny house require me to be handy so I will learn to be handy. It’s what I signed up for. I guess it’s a bit like code debugging, but may involve getting my hands dirty or going outside at night when it’s dark and cold. So I’ve upgraded my motivational reminder: be your own engineer.
References and related links:
- IT: Information Technology.
- MF: manfriend referred to during first year of this blog (and who was very supportive in getting this blog started in 2014).
- Dolce far niente: an Italian expression meaning the sweetness of doing nothing.
- SLSR: simpler living semi-retirement.
- Previous post: the heat