Pair running

A few weeks ago, I finally had a chance to do a long-run with a friend. Miki is your typical Silicon Valley up-and-comer: driven, well-educated, charming, works for a startup, and always too busy. We both live near the Panhandle of San Francisco, which is just a few miles from the Pacific Ocean. So, we decided to run to the Ocean thru the Golden Gate Park (San Fran’s answer to New York’s Central Park), circumscribe the rectangular park, and return.
The route for me was about 8-mile run, which is a typical mid-distance run, and something I would do without breaks. In other words, it is a routine run, not something to make a fuss over. When we reached Ocean Beach, Miki stopped. He wanted to walk to the beach. To the sea water.
Me: “Why?”
Miki: “Because I like to dip my toes in the ocean.”
Me: “Really? It’s only half way, and we only ran a few miles.”
Miki: “Yeah, but it’s my reward. Otherwise, this run is really boring for me.”

Man! that water was cold! This is Julember in San Fran.

Believe it or not, the Pacific Ocean was a fabulous pit stop. To get sand between my toes, then to dip in frigid waters, and look out toward the endless waters.
I had done that same run on my own a dozen times before, and I could not believe that I never had bothered to stop to dip my toes before.

Pair programming

Growing up in North Carolina, I had never thought of the word “pairing” as anything other than a dating term, or perhaps a wine tasting conversation piece. As I spent more time learning to code, I learned how awesome it can be to pair — as a system of encouragement, of mentoring, and of accountability. And probably many more things besides.
I was frustrated with my inability to make satisfying progress in my technical learning. I was fortunate enough to find a friend in a similar circumstance. Q and I are both learning to program and to build, though we are coming with no formal education in computer science, and little prior programming experience. We forked an open-source photography application, and burned ridiculous number of hours trying to get our set-up so that we could run the app on our computers — so called ‘localhost.’ Now, it is working, and only now, we are ready to begin tinkering with the lines of code and see the changes.

Not much to look at - but it felt good!

Who knew that some colors of text messages affirming success on the “Terminal” could be so exhilarating? (Q and I high-five AND fist bump.)

Happiness Project

Some years ago, when I encountered a disappointment in a personal relationship, I coped by reading about happiness. Among the many tomes, I picked up Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project. The book itself is a catalogue of Rubin’s year-long experiment to be happier. During that year-long exploration and work, she cultivates techniques that help her be happier. Of Gretchen’s many insights, one cardinal rule stands out: “Be Gretchen.”
Truth is, one of my weaknesses is to get stuck on the goal. I forget that the various bumps in the road have a meaning (i.e. one gets preoccupied with “performing,” to use another’s terminology). If I don’t achieve or accomplish the goal, somehow I do not feel the effort was celebration-worthy. This is a mistake. It is important to know oneself and “Be David.”
And it is also important to pause during a routine run, and notice that you are running next to THE Pacific Ocean. And sometimes, it is okay to take a detour to dip in the sea. If only your toes.

Further reading:
I am enjoying the process of learning and growing in tech. This is one of the ways I'm breaking into the local tech community as an MBA. And I probably didn't celebrate enough after selling my first 'lemonade,' or after I became an author for the first time.

Do you have problem celebrating? Please share your story. I'd love to hear about it.