Luck and a New Life in Lawrence

Note: This isn’t a technical post. If you don’t want to be getting posts like this, you can sign up for just my Django feed. This is my personal blog, so stuff like this pops up from time to time :).

Most people believe in luck. If you believe in luck, presumably the chance of luck happening is 50/50 on the side of good or bad luck. Each theoretically has an equal chance of happening, if luck is an abstract quantity.

However, a big part of luck is being in the correct position to embrace it. There are a lot of lucky breaks that people have encountered that they have said ‘no’ to. Even more where they could have had an incredibly lucky thing happen but it just wasn’t right. There are a lot of people who say that they have bad luck, but perhaps they aren’t setting themselves up to be able to be lucky.

To take a personal example, I feel incredibly lucky to be where I am at the moment. There is not a lot of luck involved in it really; I did a lot to get where I am. First off, I had to do a lot of work by myself in college. Nobody taught classes in Django or anything like that. I was incredibly lucky (in the real sense) to have an adviser and professor who was amazing. He taught a Perl/Python class, an Ajax class, and lots of other great classes that have contributed to my knowledge. But if I hadn’t taken those classes and seized the opportunity to learn about web development, I wouldn’t be here.

The next big step was moving to Kansas! From Virginia, by the ocean, having lots of friends, working in the same town I went to college in, for a Python shop. That was the offer that I received after college…Or move to Kansas and work for a Newspaper of all things! Doing tech at a newspaper, how horrible…But this was no ordinary newspaper, and this wasn’t Kansas. It was Lawrence, a long time stronghold for liberals since the Civil war. It was the newspaper that invented Django, and was one of the first to integrate the newsroom. A great place to work and a great place to live.

Plus I had to be in a place in my life where I could up and move. Had I had a girlfriend or some other commitment then I probably would have stayed. There are a million things that could have kept me from achieving what I know I should. From fear of the unknown, being a thousand miles away from any family and a beach, to many other things. But I knew it was the right thing to do, for my career, and for my personal growth. That was it, and it was decided, but it certainly wasn’t easy, and a miraculously lucky event didn’t just fall into my lap. It was brooded over many a night and weighed against the easy and obvious. Who knows what kind of Luck I would have had, had I chosen the other path?

Speaking of moving to Lawrence, it’s amazing how a change in life (moving, new job, new friends, new everything) sends one’s mind thinking into the depths of existence. Ever since ending up in Lawrence without any old friends and lots of time to think, I’ve been re-evaluating a lot of things in my life, and my mind has been working overtime.

Upon dramatic change in life simple assumptions no longer hold true. I get to choose my entire life all over again. Do I want to keep the same personality, same type of friends, same type of lifestyle; or do all of these get changes (for the better, or for the worse). Who knows, but it will be a hell of a ride trying to figure it all out. And I’m going to enjoy every second of it, because that’s all I can do.

I have a great new group of coworkers that I have been spending a good amount of time with. Good people, and they have a lot of similar interests. My co-workers have an amazing depth and breadth of geek knowledge, while managing to maintain a social ability that is above par for a lot of geeks. It is quite impressive and says a lot about the town and people of Lawrence that they are able to keep such quality programmers employed, inventive, happy, and productive.

I think that progressive places have always been the breeding ground of great ideas. The company that you keep says a lot about you, and a town with such progressive and forward-thinking ideas and ideals about the way things should be; allows us to simmer in the creativity that abounds in many forms.

I was having a conversation with a new-found friend the other day. He was talking about the brilliance of the people in Lawrence, about how you can’t think less of people. A simple example was that when we were eating he mentioned the server of our food was an amazing guitarist. In fact, we talked to him about it and apparently he was playing that night at a venue downtown.

In most situations and other places that I have lived, I tend to assume the worse of people. “People tend to suck” is one of my phrases that I say. Lawrence really gives me an appreciation of the ability of my common man, and the fact that they are impassioned and striving for something (anything) is highly inspirational. Surrounding yourself with people that are passionate about anything is a great way to develop passion within yourself.

Is it lucky that I’ve ended up in such a cool place. Or is it because it is such a cool place that I moved halfway across the country to live and work here? These are the kinds of things that I have been pondering as of late…

Now back to your regularly scheduled geekery.

Hey there! I'm Eric and I work on communities in the world of software documentation. Feel free to email me if you have comments on this post!