The Pains of Plains: Searching for the next Mountain to Conquer

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

By Etin Obaseki

I, like many other humans, immensely enjoy the thrill of beating something, of overcoming an obstacle. Finding obstacles, at times, seems like it’s own obstacle.

And to clarify early, it’s not because I’ve conquered all there is to conquer.

In fact, I will likely never know the despair that Alexander The Great felt when he realized he had conquered the whole world. For one thing, the world is a much bigger and more complex place today. And for another, I simply don’t have the appetite to eat the whole world. I think I’d be satisfied with being moderately successful.

Of course, ‘moderately’ is quite subjective, but I’ll know how much is enough when I get it.

Before I get there though, there seems a scarcity of mountains to climb. Mountains are worthy problems. The kind of problems whose solving are their own reward. The kind that you’re proud to show to your peers and expect adulation for.

I haven’t felt that way in a while. It’s not like I’ve been idle. I did a few cool things this year, including giving my first ever conference talk, starting my postgraduate education and, most importantly to me, finding love.

You know, having written it out, these things feel more like starting out at the base of the mountain.

My conference talk was alright, but I’ve already begun working on delivering better talks, writing more open source code and generally making myself a resource for the community including applying to speak at other conferences and meetups.

I struggled with going back to academics. I’ve developed some pretty strong opinions on education in Nigeria recently and I find myself being overly critical of the edu-frastructure around me. It’s a little frustrating, but I’m beginning to find ways to put my stamp on it as well.

And love, love isn’t, I think, a journey that ends. I’ll be walking toward it forever. So, it doesn’t really fit into the mountain metaphor, I think. There’ll be specific events through the journey that will be mountains to climb, but this is just the beginning of the journey. The first steps to forever.

In summary, it’s been a year of transition. No gratifying moments of absolute triumph but small steps towards those perhaps?