My current role at The Iron Yard is an interesting one. After four semesters of teaching our JS-heavy front-end course, I’ve taken the rest of the year off of teaching. My time instead is spent developing curriculum, supporting the rest of the teaching staff, and thinking about what our future looks like. The thinking part is by far the most difficult. Since I was a kid, I’ve needed time to think. I craved uninterrupted solitude, somewhere to walk or pace around, and roughly an hour. When I was a young boy, and living out in the country, I would roam the woods and pastures for hours imagining who would become and how I would get there.
The themes weren’t always grandiose. Sometimes they were simply thoughts on video games, planning what I would actually say if the girl I had a crush on said something to me in class, or longing for the day that I would be able to grow a beard. Other times they were deep topics; my goals, both short- and long-term, the kind of work I wanted to do, the kind of people I admired and what it would take to become like them.
This deep, uninterrupted rumination is something that I still hunger for, almost daily. Most mornings, before I leave for the office, I’ll take an hour to think on all sorts of things: conversations that I’d like to have with my staff, people I want to meet, languages I’m learning and want to learn. I think about what I can do help someone’s project get off the ground. how I can challenge and encourage students. I consider what I failed at, and how I want to improve. I imagine where I’ll be as a person in a year, and where my company will be in a year. This list go on and on.
I often have ideas so ethereal that I have to say them out loud to crystallize them. For me, verbalizing an idea can help me immediately see it’s defects and strengths much more clearly. (This is also why I love the solitude. Sometimes you need time to sound and look crazy.)
This may sound strange, as though I go through my day without using my brain until I find a quiet hour to do so. On the contrary, as a programmer and a teacher, I spend a huge portion of my day doing critical and creative thinking. There are, however, two modes of thought for me: thinking about what is happening right now and thinking about the future. For whatever reason, these two modes rarely overlap. I envy those who can do both at the same time. I’m incredibly thankful that I have a job that gives me time to think. It’s a luxury, but if you can afford it, I believe it’s worth it.