I’ve Walked Down This Road Before

Fireplace With No Home

Fireplace With No Home

I’ve walked down this road before
Been on this stretch for days
Blisters on my feet, salt stains on my shirt
Faces of worn farmers staring back at me
Poor kids eyes begging up at me
Wind in my face, sun high above
The taste of this dusty road on my lips
I’ll keep walking, searching for a more fortunate town
Work the golden blood that once ran through me
My old man wore a big hat, drove a big car
and liked to carry a big loud smoking gun
Worked his fingers to the bone
Lost us all when we learned she wasn’t the only one
That rich blood emptied through a bleeding heart
When he died, I swore on the old man’s dirt
Smiled while I spit on the lessons he preached
So now I will walk to my own deadbeat
Carry my bankrupt load on my proud two feet
I’ve walked down this road before
Passed the miles of dried earth to the end of the line
I survived thinking of you in easier times
But I’ll survive like a criminal doing hard time
These empty pockets paid for our grieving times
I’ll work for a dollar
I’ll work for a dime
Hear the wind blowing through dried out corn
Mister, would you just let me work a hour more
I’ve lost the cash for gas and my credit’s received notice
I have a wife and kids back at home
Please don’t send me home empty handed
I’ll keep walking till I’m out of hard luck
Say my prayers
Hope for the best
This is the longest day of my life
I can’t go home in the state I’m in
A hope and prayer won’t put food on our table
This looks all too familiar
I’ve walked down this road before

Today the rain ceased and the blue skies came out. I took the bike out for a ride that didn’t require waterproof jackets and extra clothing layers. I didn’t have too much time so took the Folsom Prison Blues route which is just under 50 miles. The above picture is a rock fireplace that sits next to the road on Salmon Falls Road and is a pretty site with the green hills. In the other direction, you can see the snow covered Sierra Nevada mountains. Today you could see for miles. 

This week, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the complexity of designing software and how it relates to life. In the last month, there were over 100 changes that I made to the program that included enhancements and bug fixes. This is not atypical for the amount of changes included in our monthly updates. We are constantly adding to the product to improve the user experience and the pace can sometimes be exhausting. Software is often one of those areas where you can find yourself navigating an ocean full of icebergs. What might seem like a small and avoidable problem from the surface is in reality a giant problem waiting for you to head right into it. Aren’t lots of areas of life are like this? The complexity of the situation rapidly increases as more parts are introduced. We might think that as we add things over time, the complexity slowly inches upward as though on a straight line. But this is not the case. Almost always, as we add more and more things to our lives, the level of complexity slopes upward faster and higher each time we add more.

We Can Handle More Than We Think. But At What Cost?

We Can Handle More Than We Think. But At What Cost?

The reason is because most of the time we are not replacing one thing with another, but we are usually adding more on top of an already complicated product or busy life. We think we can add just one or two more things and continue to maintain balance. And over time, those one or two more things multiply into a lot of things. And before we know it, we are at a level that cannot be sustained except through a state of exhaustion. Where is that tipping point? At what point is it too much? In software it can be subtle. We want the user to be happy and there is almost always a good reason for a request. And when we think about it, we can come up with a solution. However, just because we can do something does not mean we should do something. There is always a cost associated with anything we attempt and we have to debate the cost versus the return. We only have so much time and resources, what do we want to accomplish? And there is the urgent and there is the important. More often than not, I am convinced we are dealing with the urgent and delaying the important. There is this box that represents our time, it could be a day, a week, a year or a life. It sits in the middle of the room. Throughout the room are hundreds of items, some big and some small, that we can put into the box. The items represent different experiences in our life, different activities and goals. But we can only fit so much into our box that sits in the middle of the room. The more we try to squeeze into our box the higher the chances that some of the items will break or the box wouldn’t be able to support the weight. You want to try to fit in as many things as possible but in such a manner that the things that go into your box end up surviving the trip. I keep telling myself, “Keep it simple, stupid!” Too often easier said than done.

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