April 2021. Mount Hood, Oregon – A midnight alarm stirs me from my bunk at the Timberline Lodge. There’s a wall of snow outside the window, making the wood-walled chalet especially dark. A prime setting for a Stephen King novel (and incidentally the exterior filming location of The Shining). I fumble for the sink, and when I turn on the light, I cringe—expecting to find REDRUM scrawled on the mirror. Not today, I think, staring at the glass of murder movies. Not today.
I turned 28 last week. Late-twenties are an odd age—a major fork in life’s road. For some career-oriented urbanites, 30 is the new 20. For other family-oriented suburbanites, the biological clock is ticking. Men’s testosterone declines, s0 the window for fathering healthy kids shrinks. This mindset triggers a domino effect of activities: Marriage, home-ownership, career settling, and so on. While both the Barney Stinson and Marshall Eriksen views on age are valid, it’s a false dichotomy that leaves little room for the nuances that make life interesting. That said, there’s an objectivity to age.
The Palm Springs of Washington… While Miranda Cosgrove didn’t share this view, I appreciated the analogy. Yakima’s a little desert town, a quick weekend escape from a West Coast metropolis. When my girlfriend and I visited the other weekend, we enjoyed hikes on the rolling hills, a farm-based brewery, and the glacier-fed river that cut through town. I especially enjoyed my experience at a local espresso stand.
At work, I inherited this tool to help people use a poorly designed product. While the long-term solution was to address core issues in the product, this supporting tool had low-hanging fruit, such as glaring usability holes. Rather than preach about these gaps, I leveraged the ever-relevant heuristic from writing: Show, don’t tell.
Time is the great equalizer. Everyone gets 24 hours per day, 365-366 days per year, 73.2 years in a lifetime. But how much of this time is actually usable on things we want to do? Imagine an arcade filled with game machines. To play, the machines require tokens, and one token is worth one hour of time.
The other day, I saw a bald eagle’s nest. Masterfully crafted in the tallest tree in a two-mile radius, it summoned images of leathery pterodactyls. This massive, strong structure seemed anachronistic in today’s natural world—a world where nature is fragile and delicate. Yet its architect, the icon of freedom, had somehow persisted through the ages. The bald eagle had survived man.