Jason McSheene

An Outlet for Thoughts, Ideas, and Discussion


Day 20: Appreciation

Taking 3 seconds to show appreciation for something you enjoyed could simply change the world. As people link success in one area of their lives to others (for better or worse), a simple “Thank you” could improve somebody’s outlook.

I received a brief thank you note via e-mail this morning and it was such a great start to my day . On another note, I am now more likely to appreciate other people. Thank you.

Day 19: Time To Be A Loser

It’s time for me to be a loser in two different ways:

First, I want to lose some weight. I am used to the lifestyle of running around lab all day. Since finishing up my PhD, I am now sitting way more than I have been used to for the last few years. I get some small exercises in during the day, but I think it is time to get back to tracking my eating and fitness.

Second, I’m ready to strike out on some ideas, if necessary. I’ve recently adopted the phrase “There are only two outcomes: success and learning” to replace the idea of “failure”. Failure is not as scary as it used to be for me. I am willing to lose out if it means I truly learn from it.

Of course… I’ll strive for success.

Day 17: Through-line

Finding the right fit for all that I want out of my career is difficult. No one job is going to fulfill all responsibilities and goals that are on my list. Yet, I am confident that if I am with the right group and work on something interesting to me, I will excel as I have always done.

Until then, I cannot wait for each bit of my interests to merge into the perfect employment opportunity. I will forge this opportunity myself, both occupationally and recreationally. My current list involves: learning about 3D printing, improving my programming skills through the Python language, and boosting my scientific communication skills.

Day 16: Narrative

Each day I check in on myself, asking “How is Jason’s story playing out?”

Sometimes it is refreshing and motivating. Other times it can bring out my strong inner critic. These days the question brings many mixed emotions which I am charged with facing. As I continue my job search after graduate school, I must remind myself that my value as a person is not a reflection by my monetary value or corporate value.

This time of reflection has been amazing… but I am ready to get to work on some new and interesting problems.

Day 15: Music and Platonic Ideals

Music flows. When the musician creates each note, woven into the previous and foreshadowing the next, it is a beauty.

Whether it be classical concertos that have survived hundreds of years or an improvised jam session which will exist only for a few minutes in a bar on a Saturday night, the music remains intentional. There is a Platonic ideal behind each piece in which it is the musician’s duty to draw out into the real world.

The challenge to myself: What are the Platonic ideals that I am in charge of materializing in this life? What are the tools and arts needed to do this?

Day 14: Generations

We have, over the last year or so, developed friendships with those of different generations. We’re in our late 20s, an age in which it is easy to keep sectioned off. However, as time marches on, we have cultivated meaningful relationships with great friends in their 30s, 40s, 50s, and even 70s (we’re missing a decade).

I very much look forward to participating in a mentoring program in the near future. This spread of life experience has benefited my thinking in many deep ways. I now have an understanding that all seemingly “permanent” features of my life are, in fact, temporary. I know that everything can change today or tomorrow, and I also know that surprises are often what make stories.

My hope is that, when I reach the later third or quarter of my life, I am able to cultivate relationships similar to what I have now.

Day 13: My Sources

We had a housewarming party this past weekend. With it being the first time we have had company, it was really special having so many loved ones in one space — our space. Our family, our friends, our UU congregation, our coworkers… all there to mix (a little bit) and mingle.

Those are the people who keep me honest and driven. They are the ones who give some context to my life and lay a foundation for my work. Now I can take the energy left here and convert it into meaningful gains in my job search and development.

Day 12: Tempo

I am so used to the pace at which I live my life that I often expect those closest to me to practically read my mind. In professional settings, this is not an issue since I want to make sure the details of my work or projects are clear.

It’s time to change up tempos, to experience life in different ways. Slowing down, speeding up, syncopating, all are important to ensure growth. Which great musical artists ever had songs at the same speed, time signature, or key?

Day 11: Sharing Ideas

As a big political year approaches here in the US, it is interesting to see how the world has changed with social media. I am a Millennial who remembered the days before everyone had a cell phone or even access to the internet. Because of this, I can appreciate that many of my elders are adapting to the same types of communication I have had my entire adult life.

Important, I see the frustrations that result in everyone being able to share thoughts and ideas. Of course this is a good thing, since it promotes dialogue and inclusiveness. But it is also a challenge to those who grew up surrounded by people who only (broadly) had the same ideals.

Soon, only a post-Internet, post-Social Media life will be known. Putting aside the pros and cons, I feel particularly grateful to experience life on both sides of that paradigm shift.

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