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October diaries

Oh, it is more than a full month since my previous blog post. So what happened in October?

First, let me tell you that since the summer I've felt growing determination to spend more time coding a small side-project. And that has been rather okay - I've managed to code regularly enough to keep the project alive. Although, at the moment I'm not yet ready to announce any more details about the project, but if everything goes well, that will sure happen later on.

Then, all kinds of other stuff started to appear;

A neighbour who owns a lot of forest said that he'd like to get storm-felled trees removed from the forest. He offered that I can have the timber if I debranch and trim the trees. That would make a plenty of material for firewood. Since some of the storm-felled trees were big enough to be sawn into boards, I asked a yet another neighbour to join the workforce. I know that neighbour needs sawn timber, so we agreed to work together and share the timber. Together we spent a few days working in the woods, using chainsaws and handaxes. Cooking coffee with a portable stove, and occasionally chatting while working. I especially liked the moments when we didn't use chainsaws, so all the subtle sounds and odours of the autumn forest where there to be enjoyed. This is the kind of a life I dreamed of when moving to the countryside. Yet, at some late nights there was a tiny voice of doubt whispering in the back of my mind: "Hey Erkka, what is this? You had decided to devote most of your free time for that coding project, but now we see a third day in row when you've spent all of you free time working with something else!". I replied the voice that it is better to work in the woods now when there is not yet snow - coding can be done when the weather is freezing cold. And that if I now spend some days debranching storm-felled trees that will provide me with the much-needed firewood for a year or two. Working those three days we got about 25% of the area cleared, so there is still a lot more work to be done there.

I went to see my friends (the ones who got married in the summer). I had promised to help them with a little renovation project at their place. It happened to be exceptionally warm days and the work was greatly enjoyable. The task was to fix some rotten support beams of the roof of their shed. A few more friends joined the crew, and we went on building a winter-proof chicken-coop. The project lasted for a few days, and those days were filled with good humour, tasty food, sauna, swimming, and some alcohol left over from their wedding party. I love this kind of days. And it also seems to have a long-lasting positive effect on my mood - a good and humorous atmosphere shared with others makes me feel more real, dissolving the tasteless haze of unconnectedness which I grew up with. These days were so great that the little voice of doubt was all gone. It felt immediately obvious for me that these days will leave me feeling more energetic and more capable of maintaining the coding project.

Then, in order to not run completely out of money I've spent some time working with massage and coding for the mill. For a weekend I went to meet Sami, as we had some project planning to do. The route from my place to Sami's takes through the city of Jyväskylä. And on Friday night at Jyväskylä there was a concert of three bands; MÄSÄ, Muuan mies and Ursus Factory. I stopped at Jyväskylä, met a friend and together we went to see (and to dance) the gigs. That was good, and definitely the kind of thing to cheer up ones' moods. After the musics I resumed my driving and arrived at Sami's after 3am. Well, but we had a good and productive weekend with some sauna, a little of canoeing, and a lot of planning, some coding and concept-testing.

After returning from Sami's I noticed all the undone householding chores which had been piling up at my place. A smallish amount of blocks of wood which had been waiting to be split to firewood. The last of the potatoes which needed to be dug up from the soil before the winter hits. Changing winter tyres to the car. A lot of that kind of stuff which consumed most of my free time - so that I didn't have time to continue clearing those storm-felled trees, and had very little time for my coding projects. I was starting to feel increasingly confused and unsure.

I mean, again there is this general pattern where I first decide to focus on working on thing X which is a project I like, something of my own - and then weeks pass by and I notice that I have managed to spend only a very little time working on X, as all kinds of other stuff always seem to get higher priority. Yet, this time all that "other stuff" has been things I love, so it has not been a classical case of "oh, I postpone my own projects because those other people need me to help them with their projects, and other peoples' projects are always more important than my own things." So maybe this is more about me unnecessarily feeling uneasy? I remember having this exact flavour of uneasy feeling for a good part of my childhood and early teenage years; "Oh why do those other people force me to spend time doing this stuff Y which I don't like - when can I be alone so that I could do X which I want to do?". Maybe it is just echoes of that chronic emotion? Unnecessary echoes, for these past weeks I've honestly enjoyed every moment which I've spent with other people doing practical work (or dancing, or laughing, or having a deep and meaningful discussion.) But I couldn't figure it out for sure; had I failed to maintain my own priorities, or is it just me feeling unnecessarily uneasy because I had unrealistic expectations of spending a lot of time alone with the coding project?

Then there was an e-mail from Clementine, she offered we could do a meditation call. I told her about me feeling confused for I wasn't sure if I feel uneasy for no good reason, or if I feel uneasy for a valid reason of ignoring my own priorities. She understood, and istead of any cognitive analysis we embarked on a guided meditation, diving deep to the roots of the question; do I feel myself worth of receiving care and love, or do I feel myself worthless so that any other priority or agenda set by other people can always override my own wishes? Clementine is one of the few people who has the ability to connect with my deeper subconscious mind, gently guiding me to a state of mind where these emotional processes can transform. I felt a sense of clarity emerging. Oh how I'm thankful for Clementine's warmth, wisdom and openness.

The last weekend of October. I went to Tampere to meet friends and to see Yari playing together with Liktu Klemetti and her band. Again, that was totally worth it! To mention one aspect; I visited the family of my friends', spending a few hours playing together with their kids. Children only grow up once; my adult projects can always wait for a week or two, even a year doesn't matter that much, but a year in a life of child will have effects lasting for the rest of the life of that person. Now when my own son is already 25, I'm happy to occasionally share a moment playing with the children of my friends. Those moments make good memories for me, and hopefully also for the children (and for their parents).

After the weekend there were still a few days of October left. And, luxuriously, I had not filled those days with that much of pre-arranged schedules. I only had a few customers for massage, and otherwise I was mostly free to do what I please. So I focused my attention on the coding project, and got fully absorbed by it. All the rest of the worl faded into the background, for I was only interested in completing a few coding tasks - reading, learning, debugging, proceeding by trial and error, momentarily pausing to plan ahead, and nearly forgetting to eat. Several nights I kept on coding until 1:30 am, greatly enjoying the opportunity to do so. And gone was all the uneasiness, that old tiny voice of (self)doubt was silent, probably just satisfied and comforted by all the good energies.

working in the woods
a post-work beer on the roof of the friends' shed
leaving Jyväskylä, driving to Sami's
Yari & Se Tuntematon Numero
tags: 
depression
diary
homesteading
music
programming
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Comments

Thanks for the update. I always appreciate seeing your thoughts, and the unique setting you live in. Be well.

Wonderful post Erkka! Thank you so much for the shout-out too. I love how thoughtful you are about the way you live and your writing about it is always so great. All the best!

Clementine

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