2030: The next decade
The year 2020 is upon us and while it is merely a number change it feels like it bears significance. My wife joked that she was "going into 2020 with clear vision" and you can be sure that's not the last time you'll hear such jokes/puns this upcoming year. So, what does this new year mean to me? A couple things come to mind.
I am currently 31 years old and from what I've read in my 20s, your 30s is when you finally get your shit together. I certainly feel more confident in my professional skills and my propensity to create whatever comes to mind with dexterity. But rather than make resolutions or plans for next year I am drawn to the idea of doing so for the next decade. Where do I want to be at 41, physically and mentally? What skills will I possess? What habits will I break and what habits will be formed?
It may sound cliché but, to forecast my future I look to my past; introspection, basically. It's a powerful tool that I believe everyone should employ frequently.
When I was in 5th grade there was a "Career Day" and four adults came to my class to talk about their respective careers. After explaining what they did for work, every kid in my class stood up and said what they imagined their future career to be. When it was my turn I mentioned several career paths I wanted in life. The demographic makeup of the adults in the room were four White women (one of them being my teacher) and one Black man. I feel this detail is necessary because all the women chuckled in disbelief (some with incredulous looks on their faces), which encouraged some of my classmates to laugh as well. The man only smiled and listened intently which gave me the courage to continue. In the moment it didn't seem notable but in hindsight it certainly does. I think I'll save my thoughts on this matter for a future post as I've had other similar interactions in life.
The point is, thinking back to your dreams and aspirations from your childhood can help steer you when you feel you've lost direction in your life. For this next decade I'd like to make the 5th grade version of the most fantabulous Paul Anthony Webb feel proud about the man he's become. Here's a non-exhaustive list of things I'd like to attain/obtain, followed by reasons why I chose these items:
- driving license
- fluency in (conversational) Japanese
- hardware product (kimoyo beads?)
- home ownership
- media network
- publishing house
- record label
- revenue generating businesses
I enjoy writing and feel I should do it a LOT more. A couple weeks ago I decided to try journaling and have been pretty consistent. The past week hasn't been eventful in any way but I think I should still make an effort to put in an entry at least once a week. I use an application called Standard Notes to keep track of all my ideas. It has a "pin" feature so whenever I go to the "All Notes" section I can see my journal there. Anyhoo, I've had concepts for novels and screenplays since high school and I thankfully scanned most of those documents...I don't know where they are but the core concepts are still in my mind. There's enough content for a trilogy.
Another book idea I've had for some years is titled "How to be Awesome" and is based on how I see obstacles and overcome them. For whatever reason I have been able to stick to my guns in the face of negativity and adversity no matter the source: family, friends, life, whatever, AND unassisted by drugs or alcohol (the only casualty has been my hairline)! I'm not sure why I'm the way I am but private conversations throughout my life indicate that others would benefit from my story. Maybe I would benefit from in-depth introspection too.
My wife would love if I took up cooking, especially because my culinary interests are largely Asian-based. She's already pretty good at cooking regular/soul food and is not trying to learn other cuisines. I am interested in replicating the amazing ramen I had on my last day in Japan. Woks are a fascinating tool to me so I'd like to learn how to use it efficiently. One of my buddies got me a cookbook from one of my favorite food trucks in Boston (Mei Mei). The main food item I ordered from them is dubbed, "The Double Awesome". It's a scallion pancake sandwich with ham and a scrambled egg in it, with pesto and other things. Add Sriracha and you're all set! Mei Mei's Haymaker's Punch was perfect for chilly days and a good pair for the sandwich. I tried making a Double Awesome while on vacation at Disney World and...it was quite crispy (burnt). One day at a time!
Growing up in the Boston area, I had no need for a license. Public transportation is pretty good, even though the MBTA (we just call it "the T") regularly has issues. Moving to Tennessee means I lost my mobility and basically became a homebody, much to the chagrin of my wife. It's not a big deal to me (right now) but I know I'll need a license eventually. Also, now that Tesla's Cybertruck exists I think I'll accelerate 🤣 my plans to obtain one.
I'm a big fan of doing things myself, which is why I self-host a lot of things (including my own email server). For my space-centric novels I always imagined how they'd look cinematically and what changes I'd need to make to the story to allow the reader to visualize what I see in my mind. It only makes sense that I'd film my stories to ensure correctness. To flesh out the world of my novels I'd need to film faux commercials and recently have jotted down some humorous concepts.
I've been roughly 145 pounds since high school thanks to a fast metabolism and sporadic eating/sleeping habits. While I have good body positivity I've always been curious to see how I'd look with muscle and more meat on my bones. I'Robot is one of my favorite films and with Will Smith being one of my favorite actors (and rapper, don't @ me), his home workout scene solidified the body type I want to achieve. My dad was in the Army and jogged shirtless in way too short shorts that were tight so you know he was fit. Physical fitness also improves mental health and mood so why not delve into this?
Fluency in Japanese
A couple things from my high school years influenced my desire to visit Japan and absorb the culture.
- Anime: Samurai Champloo, Tenchi Muyo, Yuyu Hakusho, Dragonball Z, Rockman.EXE, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Cowboy Bebop
- Games: Megaman Battle Network
- Music: Samurai Champloo and GITS:SAC OSTs
I often watched fan-subbed versions of anime when they weren't officially available in English (sometimes for years). Every now and then I would think about learning Japanese so I could skip over all that and well, something else was always more "important". In hindsight, it'd be easier to learn then due to better brain elasticity but my work ethic/dedication/diligence is stronger now.
Fun fact! I learned how to use chopsticks from watching the Rockman.EXE anime. I also learned a couple phrases like, "Roger that" (Batou from Ghost in the Shell says that a lot to Major), "Cool/Awesome", "What?!", "Excuse me", "Damn you", and so on. Most anime
lovers connoisseurs know these phrases too.
I think I'm pretty good with software but hardware is something I have zero knowledge about. I own probably every Raspberry Pi that has been released thus far and have done NOTHING with them. At ALL. For me to really get into something I need to have an ambitious goal. Creating functioning kimoyo beads is definitely ambitious and would require sourcing research and probably microcontroller programming. I just made that up, not sure if that's necessary but that goes to show that I don't know what I don't know. What I learn along the way is gonna open up so many more mental pathways and that excites me.
Ownership is something that is becoming increasingly important to me as the years go on. Having a landlord absolves you of certain responsibilities but you are also not the master of your domain. In high school I used to daydream about having a custom home built (and recently I learned of a startup in that space). I would like my kids to have a "childhood home" to grow up in, move out of, and visit.
Y'know that space novel series I mentioned above? Over the years it has evolved into something that spans many creative disciplines. 2000s-era Toonami is what I have in mind for this network. A series of shows with space-centric idents between them. Video content is expensive and time-consuming to create so initially the network would have the music I create on shuffle (essentially) with generative visuals. Naturally, having a record label and publishing house under this umbrella makes sense and would fund the content creation. What if it was part incubator? Seems like a great way to curate content for licensing. HMM.
When I was actively making music I did so under a number of aliases and in different genres, namely, rap/hip-hop and house/lounge with some experimental EPs. The rap content was semi-conscious, braggadocious, and space-centric. The lounge content was mostly instrumental but when there were lyrics I focused on topics of love and longing. I made my own beats and attempted to make them sound mastered but uh, to my ears now they sound kinda terrible.
My DAW of choice was Acid Pro, which is a Windows-exclusive application. When I entered the web industry full-time I transitioned to macOS and haven't looked back. Acid Pro is still in active development and the latest features are incredible but sadly (for me), it remains Windows-exclusive. I could always learn how to use another DAW but every one I've tried since just don't feel right so a custom PC build is in my future.
While working at the flagship Converse store in Boston many years ago, a middle-aged woman followed me around the store asking questions about virtually anything; just to hear me speak. She said I had a nice radio voice and that's when I knew a rap career could work for me. Can you imagine?
"Boy, his lyrics are hot garBAGE but his voice is smooth AF!"
I like making money so that's why I didn't pursue rap as strongly as web design.
Anyhoo, I get into fascinating discussions with friends and family and some of those conversations would make for excellent podcast content. I have a dope name in mind for it too, all I need is a home office again. Because my interests are so varied my podcast would probably be in the "lifestyle" category. Gaming, design, technology, animation, Blackness, &c; I'm passionate about a lot of things. I'd make good use of the drum machine I currently have in a box as a soundboard.
Revenue Generating Businesses
I come from an entrepreneurial family and I have way too many side projects to not have any of them generating income. Then again, all of them are in alpha/beta status and in varying states of neglect. An immediate change I am making in the new year is seeing my projects to completion or out of test status. One of my services has been in operation and virtually unchanged for more than two years. It's amazing I was able to hack together something that still works, haha! It certainly feels like hacks compared to my knowledge now.
The struggle of a creative. Everything you ever made is absolute trash almost immediately, no matter how much time you spent on it before releasing it onto the world.
I like sharing what I know, and figuring out how to distill high level concepts to easily understandable concepts is an interesting challenge. About a month ago I had a dream where I was teaching middle-/high-school kids about web development. And they were listening! Seems to bode well for the future. In terms of industry titles, I could be considered a senior front-end/ux developer and the next step up is managerial. I just call myself an architech; someone who designs and builds technology (there's no ego tied to it and is a better descriptor for me). It'd be nice to have a mentor in 2020 though, I've been teaching myself everything I know since the recession of '08. 👨🏾🦳
The beautiful thing about the Internet is that it has democratized a lot of industries so I could complete several things on my list within the next year no problem...well, the only problem being me half-assing things just to say I did them. Barring that, I will seriously attempt to accomplish everything within the decade. The main trait I lack is discipline and it will be difficult to instill greater levels of accountability into myself. 😥 But not impossible!
The other benefit of being in my 30s is having the financial means to invest a bit more into my ventures. With a decade of experience in the web space I can fetch a pretty good salary and put non-trivial amounts of money away for more ambitious projects.
What a ride life has been thus far. A decade ago I had no kids and could barely code my way out of a paper bag. The services and sites I've created in that time since were mere thoughts scribbled in a notebook on my lunch break. Wild! I can only imagine what my 2040 blog post will contain. 🕸