Harry R. Schwartz

Software engineer, nominal scientist, gentleman of the internet. Member, ←Hotline Webring→.

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Racecar Beds

Racecar Beds

Published . Tags: introspection, personal.

racecar bed

I’ve been thinking lately about how goals change over time. I’ve had a lot of big goals over the years, like moving out of my tiny farming community, earning a PhD, and working at a prestigious company. Some I’ve achieved, some I haven’t. Some I’m glad I pursued, some not.

My goals have changed as I’ve aged. The things I wanted in high school, or college, or at age thirty, or yesterday, aren’t necessarily the things I want today. I get myself into a lot of trouble by fixating on achieving goals that I used to want, but not checking in with myself to be sure that those goals are still consistent with who I actually am.

Lo and behold, while listening to a podcast yesterday along came a pithy summation:

You don’t see many fifty-year-olds with racecar beds.

Yes, exactly! I’ve had a lot of goals (working at Google leaps to mind) that turned out to be racecar beds: something that a younger me wanted desperately, but that current me feels is just a terrible fit.

It’s hard for me to disentangle racecar beds from my actual, present goals. My identity is bound up with my aspirations, so acknowledging that I’ve been sleeping in a racecar bed is profoundly disorienting. It’s difficult to admit to myself that I’ve been pursuing goals that are bad for me, and patching up my identity is genuinely hard work.

The payoff is tremendous, though. I sleep a lot better when I’m not squeezed into a racecar bed.