I never really talk about how I feel, mostly because I don't really suffer from emotional highs or lows and lots of people who are very close to me feel so many complicated and dramatic things all the time that I would prefer (like with many things) to shut up and let them have the floor. I'm also critically conscious of how lucky I am in my personal life - to have a loving, forgiving partner who lets me get away with most things but reigns me in when I get silly and a happy, generous family. So I'm starting the next sentence carefully.
I haven't felt excited about anything in ages.
That's not entirely true. Lots of things I've been up to are personally excited, I got married to the afore-mentioned task-master. That was just about the most exciting thing I've done with my life so far. I had a great year of doing loads of fun and exhausting things, all of which I was excited about in some way or another - if sometimes begrudgingly.
I suppose what I mean is I haven't been excited about anything OUT THERE. I've been asking several people, including the twitterarti what they're excited about recently. All of the answers were about holidays, personal things, job stuff, projects. That's great. It's so cool that there are so many projects and little successes in everyone's lives and I suppose in a bootstrap-y kind of way we're all getting better at what we're doing and recent political changes have certainly seen greater vitality and urgency to these things but it does feel like carving out your own little niche of the world to hide in: 'I'm really good at X' so when the end comes I can say I was quite good at Blender and I had a pretty good grasp of the next 5-10 years of arts education policy. And I was getting to that book. Honestly.
I remember being excited by Apple keynotes. When new computers were exciting. I had a conversation with several people recently that I've all but given up on consumer technology - it hasn't created anything good or exciting for at least 5 years if not more. Just slightly more or less shit and exploitative versions of what we had already - a slightly bigger screen, a gimicky touch bar, a different iOS, a couple more pixels, longer battery life, a new algorithm for the news feed etc etc. 'Nothing's been invented since the search engine.' I absent-mindedly said to a colleague yesterday.
I remember doing my masters degree around the same time as exciting Apple keynotes and getting deliriously giddy about crypto currencies, DIY innovation, 3D printing even godforsaken synthetic biology. All these things! It's so obvious but all these things weren't once about the profit motive. No-one was trying to make them marketable or consumable or usable because this idea of MVP lowest-common-denominator first-to-market crap felt so 20th century. They were meant to collapse it all or phase it all out. Even sat in a big corporate foresight office back then I was writing about how home-grown medicinal drugs meant the end of the pharmacological-industrial complex and everyone agreed.
I keep asking people what they're excited about and they say it's the little victories. Even the VCs are only excited about the little victories - the crypto bubble or the next Tesla. I was talking to another friend before Christmas who was saying it was almost impossible not to just be nihilistic now. There are all these little victories and that's great. there's millions of them I've never heard of, but that sense I once had that we were all on the cusp of a genuinely new and radically different world has gone. It was accompanied by Occupy and when Wikileaks were doing ok. At least Chelsea Manning's (BBC typo - they meant whistleblower, not leaker) running for office now I suppose.
But then maybe we just get cynical (more so if it were possible) when we get older. At my tender age having seen so many visions and dreams get bought out or burnout. I want to know where that transcendent dream is. The one that remembers humans as more than tools of consumption and production to be made more efficient and faster, stronger more leaner. I don't know where I'm going with this. What are you excited about?