Keeb and Life Balance Dilemma 2

Oops. Clicked ctrl + enter on accident on the first draft, hence this is draft two.

Alrighty, back on track. I don’t have a steady flow of income yet, so I had to do a lot of trading, buying, and selling to get to the point I am right now, and I’m still doing the same. However, now that school is back in session I found that I’m having a bit of trouble fitting keebs with homework, extracurriculars, etc. I consider myself and the academic mindset I have to be an over-achieving, excelling type of person, so I have influence from those around me to do so, and my hobby is, technically, taking away time I could be scrutinizing a book or following Alice down (the real) rabbit hole.

On paper, I should be completely settled. I have a very nice keyboard for main usage, a smaller keeb for libraries and classwork, and a really flashy one for when I’m in the mood. I’ve obtained the keyset and keyboard I’ve wanted since beginning this hobby, met Keyboard Jesus himself, and overall talked to a bunch of cool people. Seems like the perfect time for a little break, but I can’t seem to will myself to do so.

Buying, Trading, and Selling is… fun. Even taking a bit of time off seems like I’ve missed so much, and I’m worried that if I take enough time off, I might just quit altogether, which isn’t what I want. I sincerely enjoy this hobby and want to be involved in it for as long as I can.

Can anybody relate to this, or did anybody take a little break for keebs as well? Any advice appreciated.

4 Likes

Forgot to add this, but a lot of unfinished or pending sales are stopping me from taking a break. As soon as I finish one deal, I see another one and jump on it.

And I feel bad selling something that I could build perfectly fine! Currently have two (cough cough perfectly buildable) keyboards on my way to me. Guess what I’m going to do with them.

1 Like

Finding the balance between the enjoyment of the hobby and your other long term goals is definitely worth taking the time to think about.

It wasn’t keebs I took a break from, but another hobby I enjoyed when I had some other important tasks to do, PC building. I didn’t build those as often as I build keebs now, but I was always tinkering with one or another. I took a break for a good few years and did miss a lot of neat developments - but when I jumped back in my mind was blown how far things had come and how much easier the build experience had gotten. No more fluorescent tubes. No more cases full of nothing but 80mm fans that sound like the Concorde. No more master and slave jumper shenanigans. And video cards! When I took a break, I think the biggest baddest card on the market had 512 mb of vram, and when I got back in cards with six times that at a lower price were commonplace.

While the keeb space does change quickly and always seems to have something new and interesting, it’s not like (most) of those things are going anywhere. If you take a break from the more expensive parts of the hobby (acquiring new chassis, etc), there are still plenty of things to keep you engaged while you give most of your time to short term tasks that feed-into long term goals. I basically totally ignored the PC universe for a few years, but you don’t necessarily have to do it that way, especially with keebs.

I think it’s worth developing a personal heuristic for handling things on a case-by-case basis. How much time will x take? In context of the time I directly have to work with and what may compete for use of that time, is it worth it?

I’ll say this; I think any time you’re faced with the decision of keebs or academics, go academics every time. There will come a point at which you’re finished with the academic stuff (at least in terms of the stuff society puts weight on, you can always continue learning on your own), and keebs will still be there. It’s true, you may have missed-out on getting this or that innovative or interesting whatnot, but chances are there will be something new that iterates on them later.

Yes, you may have missed the window to get the Lamborghini Reventón of keebs while studying, but later this year there will be a whole fleet of Aventadors that improve all the good parts of the design at a better price and at wider availability, ready to go.

Think of it as a sprint; it’s worth putting your energy in the right place for it, and you’ll benefit more over time from that choice in the short term and be more able to enjoy keebs in whatever way you might want down the road.

There are a lot of different aspects of the keeb hobby to draw enjoyment from, and the trading and selling aspect is fun for lots of folks. If you have to take a break from that for a little while to get some other things done, I think it’s a compromise worth making - and in the mean-time you can still enjoy keeb-related content and help other folks discover the fun and/or enjoyment of a good keyboard.

9 Likes

You should probably see a therapist for the lack of self control and the low self esteem, which I’d be willing to bet are indicators of an underlying mental illness.

Definitely, but it seems like I need to do XYZ to get started on a break. For instance, I’m awaiting that one “flashy” keyboard, and switches and keycaps are still in the mix. Secondly, I’m currently trying to find the correct switch for yet another build. It just seems incomplete.

Really? Are you seirious? Keyboards are fun, but I still have my priorities straight… I’m doing great in school and this is only a side hustle I’m doing for fun. I just think that a break might be good for me.

1 Like

With your academic mindset and overachieving and excelling personality, you should be able to answer your own questions, so it’s an obvious plea for help.

Don’t know what to make of this. Are you implying that keyboards aren’t good for my mental health, or are you referring to my academic mindset as a whole? I’ve just never considered what I’m doing unhealthy, but I’m willing to hear out what you mean by a “plea of help”. I’ve sent you a PM.

It may help things make sense to point out the person asking this question is a young teenager; I think this is just the normal, responsible seeking of advice from elders by a person in the process of growing up.

8 Likes

I have a flashy keeb I’m looking forward to building one of these days; it’s been in my closet about a year now. I have it in the back of my mind when I happen to come across a set or switch I think would be fitting. This is the kind of project that can wait; it’ll be there when I have time for it.

I might recommend the same approach for other incomplete builds; you don’t necessarily have to scour to come across the perfect bits to be part of it. Have in-mind what sorts of things might work, and then wait for them to come along. I scroll ghsear.ch for like 30 seconds every couple days and that lets me scan new stuff without burning much time.

So, you could take a break from actively searching / researching, but still glance at the feed and talk with folks online about anything you might have in-mind. Basically a reduced-resources way of keeping the search up without sacrificing much time to it. Keep those two flags up in the back of your mind, and hold off on new projects until there’s space for them.

1 Like

Sounds good. As always, thank you Dave!

You’ve already gotten some excellent guidance from @Deadeye but I’ll chime in as well. The other things that are competing for your time are more time-sensitive (school-related extracurriculars) and school is of course your #1 priority.

That said, I think you can also separate the hobby from the inherent consumerist tendencies that it’s intertwined with. You can still devote as much of your time to keyboards as you see fit but you also don’t necessarily have to always be buying new things. It’s okay to just appreciate people’s shinies, too. Keyboards will still be here when you have disposable income. In fact, there will probably be newer, and hopefully more interesting stuff by then. But as long as you’re reasonably happy with what you have now, I think it’s totally doable to still be involved in the hobby while abstaining from the additional time commitment of buying, selling, and trading.

3 Likes

As someone with ADHD I’d like to chime in with a few wisdoms I’ve come to learn that may be universally applicable;

Realizing that this feeling of incompleteness could be used in a different way could be nice. Feelings of incompleteness provide us background consistent motivation to get back to a topic. It’s a way not to quit! You just have to negotiate with your rational brain what it is you’d like to do about that and with that feeling. The dark side of the feeling of incompleteness is both your rational and background mindsets have to agree at some point that the topic has reached or is progressing well towards completeness. So I’ve come up with some solutions …

For example, in keyboard hobby-land I would like to finish one build I’ve started long ago from Norbauer, and then finish the design of one of mine (hopefully within the year I hope to introduce The Prose to you all). I keep conscious that every time I consider buying a new keyboard it would compete with those goals, not add to them. Because I have finite time, and even less finite keyboard hobby time, each project I start interrupts the rest. So I like to maintain one open project for quick fix (buying somethings) and one long term project (1-2 years) for producing something in the hobby that uses my unique voice. And I do this 50-50 project split in all my hobbies. It allows me to work towards completeness without constantly fighting my moment-to-moment urges to dip in the hobby all the time.

Also, as someone with ADHD, you should consider that what moist.anus has mentioned could be true. For me, the realization that I cannot at all control my impulsive side was the first sign something was wrong. It took too long for me to learn to listen to my own psyche and come to that realization.

This is a very rational reminder about how to be kind to one another. It’s not helpful to dump baggage or anger where it’s not functionally useful.

I also do this in other hobbies. I call it “procrastinate-until”. I leave a reminders for myself in my hobby notes about what a perfect solution to a problem or taste I have is. And I wait for that solution to come along. I generally don’t have to fight my impulsivity all the time because at any one time, one of my hobbies has something new released that addresses one of my “procrastinate-until” reminders and I work on that hobby at that time. It’s a nice way to feel connected to the world’s pace, instead of feeling like I’m rushing towards a goal with no particular reason to be rushed.

8 Likes

As someone who also has ADHD, this is sound advice! I love your “procrastination reminders”. Learning how much we need physical, in-the-environment cues and anchors really changed my life. To add a medication perspective;

No meds + hobby = shop impulsively

Meds + hobby = actually build some of the boards I’ve purchased

6 Likes

Another hat on the ADHD pile here. I live and die by visual cues, and smartphone reminders genuinely changed my life, ha. Keebs are my functional fidget-spinners.

Sometimes I feel like the Memento guy and think about getting some basic reminders as tattoos… but to bring that back around, longer term goals and projects I’m genuinely interested in (in keeb space or otherwise) can act as helpful signposts in the fog, assisting me in the continuity I otherwise find so difficult.

I love adding new words and phrases to my adaptive vocabulary - thanks for a good one!

On that note I have a couple procrastinate-until projects that have acted as a sort of connective tissue to hold-together as a hobby what may have otherwise been a collection of short-term hyper-focus obsessions long forgotten. (See: small collection of dust-covered drones in my shed). The procrastinate-until projects almost act as a mailbox where related ideas can collect until the next time I consciously come-around.

4 Likes

Great advice. I think this topic is taking a little bit of a mental health perspective, and I’m open to that.

Yes, I am a bit impulsive at times, especially when it’s something that I enjoy, like keebs. But, I don’t think it’s completely out of control. I may have one or two impulsive actions from time to time, but not enough for me to consider a mental disorder.

Sounds like a plan. Although none of the builds I have currently are some that I consider long-term, I think this should work well.

Brainstorming on my own, but transalting this into context: I should leave one of my “nice to have” builds tucked away until I feel I had a sufficient break from keebs, so that when I’m ready, I’d have something to kick-start me back in, helping me not quit. Is that around the lines of what you’re trying to say?

I think this kinda has to relate to what I said above. Might be a little hard to keep that little side of me that wants to dig in and go nuts at bay, but for the (tentative) time frame I’ve chosen, which is around a month and a half, I think it’ll be smooth sailing. If it goes even better than anticipated, I’ll try until thanksgiving, when I then can go all mushy-gushy about it on the Keebtalk Thanksgiving thread.

3 Likes

I wish I had such a great attitude as yours when I was in school. No internet armchair expert will ever know more about you than yourself, and you seem to have a good level head about who you are.

So at least for me, the purpose of the long term build is to reconcile my feeling of incompleteness with a concrete goal I’m working towards.

What you’re describing is actually closer to ‘The Hemingway Bridge’, which is a wonderful way to make sure you never quit a hobby. It’s to hit the pause button intentionally when you’re deeply into something, so it’s easier to come back to it.

For me, my problem is I want to stay safely away at some times, i.e. not starting 20 projects. So my long-term project is intentionally a pie in the sky, difficult to complete project. But one that I think is quite special, and time spent away from thinking about it costs me something. I’ve chosen to design my own, so for me, it would cost me the ability to self-express.

To bring it to your example, consider custom colour coating a keyboard, or integrating it into a clever way into your desk, or building some home automation into it or something. Basically, choose a goal that doesn’t involve buying things. So that the impulsive side is funneled into one project, and the hobby-incompletion feeling doesn’t have to deal with that side of you.

A realization I’ve come to is that whenever my brain does this, collecting seemingly disjointed projects with hyperfixation, it’s actually my incompletion center of my brain trying to fulfill a standard I would like to maintain. Paradoxically, I’ve spent a lot of time building out a nice kitchen recently. Even though I know I have to move soon. I then realized that my brain wanted to experiment with as much kitchen stuff now while I have the space, so that I can minimize into my smaller accomodation later without feeling like I’m missing out. Some times it feels like my brain is a second person, and I still have a lot of listening to do. Hopefully the drone projects lead to a nice photography hobby culmination, or similar. :wink:

4 Likes

I did some research on what the Hemingway Bridge was, and it seems like a neat concept. Thanks for the extra info!

1 Like

Great example; @Backspace if you aren’t already familiar with the channel, TaeKeyboards is a good one to check out for project ideas.

2 Likes

Yup, Andrew (TaeKeyboards) makes some really good videos. I used his tutorial to paint my first mech!

1 Like

Curse you and Bless you for mentioning ghsear.ch - had not seen that before.

3 Likes