When I registered on WordPress and put up this blog I had the exact same intentions as I have today. I put this up to have a space to write. Nothing more and nothing less.
Floating around my house are at least 2 billion pieces of scraps of envelopes, crumbled napkins and torn food wrappers that I scribbled either poems, experienced adventures, cool ideas or mere sentences on. Floating around my head are about 25765 pieces of inspiration, more often unfinished than not.
I’ve tried to come up with an answer as to why on earth I don’t use this little corner of the internet more like I intended to do, and the closest I can get to an answer is that the idea of uploading my scribbles and words to the world is somehow intimidating. Oh hello irony! Because condemning those bits of napkin to get lost sooner or later and my incoherent thoughts doing nothing but catching dust is just as terrifying.
Now here’s an inelegant but effective solution: pushing myself over that edge by force. Starting tomorrow I will publish a blog post (at least) once a week, for no one other than myself. Hopefully Future Me will be reading these terrible jokes, impractical ideas, incoherent rambles, random pieces of unfinished stories, or whatever else may come from this with one hell of a smile on her face.
Buckle up brethren and sistren for a road trip to the exotic Unknown.
I enjoy seeking out boundaries, so I can then take a leap and jump over them. My entire life I’ve been seeking out the physical boundaries my muscular disease puts onto me, and ever since I can remember I’ve seen them more as hurdles than actual limits. Sadly, the last couple of years have been filled with their fair share of hurdles and I had to let go of my dream to study Astronomy at the University of Leiden. That wasn’t something I admitted easily, even to myself, but “knots need to be cut” as the Dutch say. Before making rash decisions I decided to take a year off occupying myself with work so I could carefully think everything over – and search for an answer not only to the obvious question like “What makes me happy?” but also the more important question: “In what subject do I see myself excel in, and why?”
As I mentioned above, I enjoy seeking out boundaries and I enjoy exploring new things and endlessly mulling over mysteries. The technology of Artificial Intelligence is relatively new and I’ve found that it’s the unknown territory that intrigues me. I see the actual building process, the technical part of the studies, as an eventual goal. But to be able to build great things one must first understand the building bricks one is working with. To me those bricks are represented by several philosophical and mathematical parts. How can we break down an actual human train of thought into variables and parts of a bigger algorithm? Exploring limits, learning and creating new things, and using that knowledge to develop new technology makes me happy. Why? Because I find mysteries equally intriguing as annoying. When I encounter a puzzle I don’t only want to solve it, I also need to solve it. And it’s that crazy and complex quest which I plan to feed with the AI studies programme.
For the second question I’ve had more than enough time to think about it and nonetheless I concluded that the answer came rather unexpected and sudden. I never had philosophy classes in high school – a choice I greatly regretted – but after interesting and stimulating conversations with the philosophy teacher I found myself adjusting my personal timetable to be able to sometimes tag along. I find astronomy fascinating, and that fascination partly focused on the mathematical aspect of the subject. I’ve always found languages and the way we use language and words in our lives fascinating, and mathematics is really just another language to add to that spectrum. We’ve been conditioned to use words and phrases to express thoughts, and then my knowledge of language broadened when I learned that we could also use mathematical equations to express certain parts of them. It’s all about breaking down bits and pieces of information and translating them into something entirely new. To expend on my view of language it’s not too big of a leap to then consider converting it into coding – nothing more than yet another language, one designed to be understood by machines. Again, to ensure one can properly translate different kinds of languages, one must first understand what language actually is made up of and how it exactly works. Something I plan to find out.
Combining a scribbled list of my interests and fascinations a trusted advisor led me to AI. After enrolling it now seems as the obvious choice, one so obvious that I don’t quite understand why it took me so long to end up there. What I do know is that I can’t wait to be able to solve these puzzles and start the journey of evolving myself into an even more curious human being.
A couple of days ago I studied the eyes looking back at me in the mirror and decided that the girl on the other side was in serious need of a peptalk. I found a spot in my room with a semi-functioning wifi connection, FaceTimed my best friend in Far Far Away Land, and ordered the desired beverage. Since our friendship has sadly always been a somewhat long-distance one we’ve video called our fair share over the years, but this day I noticed something interesting happening as soon as our laptops connected. Désirée is basically to be described as one big ball of sunshine and I firmly believe that her laugh could make even a stone statue smile back; and during this FaceTime call I felt those rays of sunshine slowly making their way towards me. Her optimism – this highly contagious thing – seeped through the digital connection and found its way to me.
It was only during this phenomenon that I realised something: somehow, slowly and unnoticed, I had lost my own small supply of sunshine. I’ve always had the privilege to describe myself as an optimist, but coming to think of it now I must’ve misplaced this trait back at the ICU when I believed I was going to suffocate. Of course I did notice that I wheeled out those hospital doors a different person – cliché but true – but I never really noticed losing this. After realising my recklessness I’ve now vowed to be more mindful of where I put my stuff, and I’m basically trying to clutch it in my fist as I’m typing.
Later that evening I sat at the kitchen table while retyping my resume and mentally prepping myself to send out some job applications as I witnessed another interesting thing happen: my new-found optimism must’ve somehow spread out and it honestly seemed as if the universe was bouncing it back to me. Things fell into place and stuff just somehow happened. Again; cliché but true. It echoed along the walls and reflected back at me.
Not like a solid thing you can actually grasp, an object made out of a certain arrangement of atoms forming molecules. More like these invisible yet evident beams, cascading all over the place at unknown wavelengths and bouncing back into my lap, emitting tiny rays of sunshine as they go about.