October 28, 2008

600 Hours

A baby needs to crawl for 600 hours before it can walk. This is something I've heard from people I know who have kids. I don't have children myself -- I mean apart from the seven I've mentioned previously -- but I find it amazing how much of life can be understood in terms of grinding, unlocking abilities and leveling up.

The comparison doesn't work both ways. Never while playing a video game have I felt the enormity of something like learning to walk or writing a blog for one year.

That is what this is actually about.

At the beginning, it was nothing but crawling. For a while it seemed like that was as good as it was ever going to get. There were definitely growing pains. And how long did it take before Hit Self-Destruct stopped peeing and vomiting on everybody? It's still kind of doing that. One Year was, for the longest time, an absurdly distant goal. It would be a cool thing to say, sure, but it wouldn't actually mean anything. Now it turns out that the best thing about doing something for a year is that it gets better.

We had our ups and downs. There were mistakes, missed opportunities, and moments where the entire thing nearly fell apart, and all of those were my fault. It could have all gone wrong so easily. Sort of like this post, incidentally, since today isn't the real birthday. It was a couple of days ago. But it's all part of the epic fragility of life, or, you know, whatever, basically, pretty much, I guess.

Learning to walk is a reinvention. There's so much more you can do now. The sense of achievement and potential is awesome in one sense and terrifying in another. Now that you can walk, the next 600 hours might get better but they will certainly get harder. Walking isn't a reward, it's the next level. Expectations have gone up. You can't get away with crawling anymore. You thought crawling for 600 hours was a grind? That shit was easy. It's only going to get worse. Most actual babies, fortunately, are not haunted by these kind of self-esteem problems.

Most babies don't have all of you guys, either. I evidently can't explain how I feel about all this without resorting to confused and exhausting metaphor so, for you, I'll leave it alone and be as direct as I can: Thank you so much.

It was a long year. Which is why this one day exists. I get 24 hours out of 600 to not care about how time-consuming and challenging this will always be. One year is an awfully long time to wait to say "I did it", but, well, I'm walking now. It's nice.