The Problem With Right Now

Hang on. Just a sec. I gotta read this [text] real quick.

What now? No, I heard you, I just… I needed to check my phone.

I find myself saying that way more often than I’d like to admit. But I love that I can have any one of a dozen or so different inputs throughout the day alert me in one central place. It immediately brings everything I need to know to one little device. I love that tools like this exist.

But, there’s a negative side effect: I’ve programmed my brain to “need” something “now.”

*bzzzt* CHECK PHONE NOW.

*bzzzt* *bzzzt* CHECK PHONE NOW.

*bzzzzzt* PHANTOM LEG BUZZ CRAP MY PHONE DIDN’T EVEN BUZZ.

I dive for my phone regardless of what I’m doing, INSTANTLY. Talking to the barista, the guy at the tire shop, a coworker, my wife (*gasp*), etc. It’s a really bad habit.

Even worse, I catch myself applying this unrealistic expectation about how long things should take to regular life. “UGH this red light obviously doesn’t know I’m sitting here!” “I ordered my sandwich four minutes ago, is there a reason it’s not in my mouth right now?!” “Okay, I’ve been on this diet for three days and I haven’t lost 30 pounds yet, what gives??”

But that’s not how ketchup works. I mean, “good things come to those who wait.”

When I first started going to Doctype Society meetings, it was brand new. A few members, like maybe a dozen. I knew one or two of them. It was hard for me to go, but I went. I didn’t go in order to get some short term value out of it. I mean, I did, of course, it was a great time; but what I was secretly hoping was that I’d find out there were like-minded, web-oriented folks in the area that I could meet and interact with. It was something I was missing and knew *had* to exist in such a well-educated area that had all the makings of a tech hotbed.

Since there wasn’t something obviously established though, I’ll admit I was hesitant to go. I think it’s pretty human to only want to put effort into something that you know will provide you a return on that investment. It’s even more appealing if you know you’ll see that return sooner rather than later.

Communities aren’t like cell phone alerts though. You can’t just look up and see “Look! A community just finished! I’ll do that now.” Even if a community is established, you still have to make a long-term investment to see the true rewards of one. Because what is a community if we don’t put effort into it? It’s nothing. It’s just people waiting around for something to happen to them. That’s not what I want. I don’t want to sit back and say “this community isn’t giving me what I want” and then just expect it to change.

Lately, I’ve just been waiting for my alert. I’ll be the first to admit I haven’t been putting in much effort. Life this, excuse that; it doesn’t matter. I have to put in some effort if I want to get something out of it, and am re-energized to do it. This is my public affirmation of that.

Don’t look for an alert. There isn’t one for when your community is ready for you.

Get out there. Right now.

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Eric Zanol

Eric does some front-end webbing and some operations stuff at &yet. He's got an awesome wife, a two great little boys. Some of his favorite pastimes include watching the Seahawks, drooling over fancy cars, and "gadgets."

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