In spiritual cultivation communities, the master’s teach that understanding and improvement comes through conflict, either with ourselves, with others, or with our environments. This year I’ve experienced all three, continuously.
At the end of 2010 and start of 2011 I had a high paying job at an internet startup. I thought it would be great, but unfortunately I wasn’t happy and the job consumed every aspect of my life. I decided that I wasn’t happy there, and chose to quit.
This decision had a lot of ramifications. A few negative, but mostly positive, such as figuring out what I really want to be doing with my life.
Also, I started dating, and on May 1 I proposed to Deborah Yun.
Deborah’s a really great person who is always striving to be better in life. She has taught me a lot, and helped fill in the gaps and missing pieces on the road to fulfilling my potential. Plus she’s cute and funny.
You can see her photography at www.deborahyun.com.
But very quickly we both found out that living the freelance life (me a website developer and her a photographer) in Los Angeles can be very difficult and tiring.
We decided to move in together for a lot of reasons, including saving money and being closer to one another.
We must have gone to at least 20 apartments, and applied for several. The process was exhausting, driving through LA traffic during the middle of the day, filling out applications, and dealing with a lot of other issues that came up.
The bottom line was that we couldn’t find anywhere nice to live that was also affordable; At least not at our standards. The place we thought was perfect for us was instead given to a friend of the land lady.
Meanwhile, my laptop crashed. Windows 7 decided not to work anymore after I installed the PHP Zend web development framework. For some reason the PNPClass.sys file, a Windows driver, became corrupt, and god help me there was no way to fix it. Including multiple re installations of Windows. None of them would even run. Something went wrong at the hardware level.
What this meant is that the last 4 months of work, including the Dragon Ball book related content, research, and notes, was gone! It was all gone!!
Inexplicably, the backups that I had been making of the book vanished from my USB thumb drive when I went to find them later.
Truly devastating to have your life’s work disappear.
I researched the heck out of hard drive recovery methods, and ended up using a Linux boot disc to try and access the files. But they had already been written over during the attempted re-installs.
So I used a super nerdy program called PhotoRec to recover the files one layer down, but as it happens, it only recovered the files that I didn’t need, not the ones recently written or updated.
In addition, some of the blog posts I wanted to make, such as my recap of Anime Expo 2011, were put on hold, as well as any future articles.
Everything was gone and I was just going to have to accept it.
Then, needing some type of OS, I tried to install Ubuntu Linux, which worked for a day before crashing at the startup screen again, after spending hours setting all of my programs up. The hard drive was officially dead.
The entire experience was exhausting, and almost made me buy a Mac! I came very close to doing so, but was able to get my laptop fixed by the manufacturer free of charge, since it was still under warranty. Although truth be told, the new Macbook Air does look awesome.
In any case, I had to come to terms with the reality, both internally and externally. I realized that Los Angeles was too expensive and that things weren’t working out, despite my best efforts.
Moving Right Along
Deborah and I decided to move to Fresno, California, where her mother has a nice house. That way, we can get away from the Los Angeles traffic, the expensive apartments, food, and stressful cycle of working to survive and then continue working. By doing so, we could escape the hamster wheel of modern life.
Before the move we sold almost all of our belongings on CraigsList, except for personal items. That was a very freeing, and lucrative, experience.
So far so good. Fresno is a little hot, but otherwise awesome. Living in the suburbs of a countryside type city has a lot of perks: All of the benefits without any of the drawbacks. Really nice, actually, and I’m very grateful to be here. Things are looking good.
What this means is that I’m now able to focus on the projects that are important to me, like finishing the book. Also completing freelance websites and saving up money for the wedding and other momentous occasions in life.
On a very positive note, for an even more inexplicable reason my DBZ book content came back! It showed up again on my USB stick, and I have no idea how or why! But I’m very glad it did, as I’m picking up right where I left off!
Now I use CrashPlan to automatically backup my hard drive. If anything should happen in the future, I always have it available in the cloud.
Secondly, I’m better at following through and completing the things I start. Otherwise, I simply won’t start it. I had so many important articles partially complete, that when I lost them, I felt like they could never be written again, or in the same way. Inspiration only strikes once.
Furthermore, I’m trying to minimize and simplify my life down to the essentials. Eventually I may become a digital nomad and travel the world while building websites and writing.
The whole experience of 2011 has been difficult yet beneficial. I’m finding out who I am, what I want, and how I can better benefit other people.
Overall, I’ve realized that while the book is a work in progress, so am I.
I guess this is what means to be in your 20’s.
Look forward to the release of the book at the end of the year, and more blog posts along the way.
Also, more and more people are contacting me about the “How to Train Like Goku” bonus article, so I’ll make that a priority for those who want to pre-order the DBZ book.