Tangible Things

Leaving behind the tangible. My mission to being remembered.

I'm really not sure when I started to think about this - perhaps, it's because I'm approaching 35 - but I have come to the realization that I have nothing tangible to show for my work. As a web developer, I am in a unique position. Unique in the sense that there is nothing physical I can hold or hand to people and say "Look! I made this!".

Sure, I suppose I could print off screenshots of every project I've ever built, or print off every class and method I've ever defined, but that isn't very practical. Nor, I would imagine, is it something the average person would be impressed by.

I guess there comes a time in everyones life where they start to think of the brief time we have on this planet. That time, for me, is now. I have really been struggling with this...a lot.

I don't have children and have never really had that yearning to be a parent. I won't have minnie-me's that can go on after I'm gone and talk about who I was to them or the things that I accomplished.

Even this blog will eventually fade into nothingness. The server it's hosted will cease to exist. The domain name will eventually be recycled after I am no longer around to renew it. The work I have done can be erased with a simple "rm -rf /".

What can I do to remind people that I was here?

For me, the answer has been to get away from the keyboard. Gasp! I know, for some of you reading this, that seems like blasphemy...but hear me out.

Over the past year or so, I have started to find hobbies that will allow me to produce the tangible. I made the decision to learn a new hobby each year with the goal that I could create gifts to give to friends and family.

I started with crochet since that was something I had learned as a child and thought it would be pretty easy to get back into. I found that I really enjoyed making stuffed animals and toys to give away.

In July of 2014, I taught myself how to knit. I had always avoided picking up knitting because it looked really complicated. Just over a year later, I am whipping up hats, socks, scarves, shawls and even a sweater.

This year, I've moved onto sewing. I am starting small by making bags. I have to admit that this was motivated by selfish reasons to have something to put my works-in-progress in besides plastic bags. I plan to move onto other things in the future, but so far I have been getting a lot of compliments when people see them.

I haven't decided what 2015 will bring, but I can tell you that this has been an incredible experiment. I find working with my hands to produce an object that I can hold is more satisfying that I ever imagined it would be. Seeing the reactions on the faces of those I care about when I give them a handmade gift has been incredible.

Something I didn't expect was the calm I experience while working with my hands, especially with knitting. There is something so peaceful and calming about the rhythmic motion of knitting.

Do you have a similar story? What hobbies do you have? I'd love to hear about it.

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