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Everyone’s a workaholic

There were multiple nights in January during which I wanted to work on one of those things I resolved to start doing this year, but sometimes one just wants to watch a wonderful television show or spin a record. But there persists a nagging feeling. An itch not being scratched.

I have a lot of itches. One involves forming chords on a piano keyboard, another involves what you’re reading right now, another involves automating my house, another involves just building something cool. I’m not a skilled coder, but I’ve wanted to become good at it so I could eventually make an app on my own. And then I realized that nocode is a thing: No-code development, the idea (or now a movement, I guess) that there are dozens of cheap, scalable services out there on the Internet now which can be strung together to form a meaningfully viable business operation.

I could spin up an idea of my own in a weekend.

I assumed correctly that I’m incredibly late to the party: Personalities on Twitter spinning out consulting services to help fellow no-coders, whole premium communities where indie hackers bounce ideas and team up. But virtually everyone I see on the internet talking about something they love is talking about their paid vocation.

This is not just isolated to weird, specialty forums, but has also taken over my Instagram. I have reached the point where Facebook’s own app — yes, the app that my mother and her friends use more than people my own age — is more useful to me than Instagram, because Instagram for me has devolved into nothing more than puppy pics and individuals & corporations trying to convince me to buy things. Facebook is at least where I can talk to extended family or learn about delays in trash pickups & snow emergencies in town. On Instagram, every fourth story is a sponsored ad, and my feed is roughly 75% people promoting their new albums/projects/products/hustles/whatever. My wife’s feed is even worse.

It’s worse now that it’s extending into the real world. My wife and I need to make a conscious effort not to talk shop while eating meals. The most troubling example: We received a Christmas card from some friends (intentionally keeping theme anonymous), and they were promoting a product in. The. Christmas. Card.

Everyone selling all the time can’t be good for us as humans. Talking only about your work all the time inherently adds massive stakes to virtually every conversation you have; your life is centered on your income, your lifeblood. Sure, eventually some of those side hustles could become sustainable, passive income, and that’s the dream. But think about the psychological damage this is probably giving us.

No wonderful mindfulness apps are so popular: it’s not that they’re fashionable, it’s that all of us are regularly on the verge of a psychotic break.

I truly hope my fellow millenials have hobbies they can pour this anxiety into. The beauty of a hobby is that, if I lose interest, or if my interest changes shape, there are no stakes. I can morph that hobby as I please and as my passion for it changes. When I decided to stop exploring music as a profession, it didn’t stop me from playing; when I decided I no longer enjoy live music, I kept recording music and listening to recorded music. I listen to new and old music constantly; I strive to engage in deep conversations around why great music is great. But I gave up on trying to make money on it, and .

But then again, maybe I should be trying to: I could have done this. There’s the fucking itch again, and here comes the psychotic break.

Instead,

I might start buying Lego sets again and writing about that. Would that get attention?

Posted on February 10, 2020






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