What I’ve Been Doing On My Non-Summer Vacation…

Apologies if you’re expecting something totally serious, but come on, it’s Saturday…

I recently wrapped up a work thing, so I’ve been poking around regarding new opportunities…obviously, in the course of doing so I’ve had to update my LinkedIn, resume/CV, etc., and the reality is that if you look closely it becomes clear that I took…well, not a complete sabbatical, more like a half vacation. This is in part because I don’t just put “HEY I WAS WRITING OK LEAVE ME ALONE” as a job title, but also partly this:

Some backstory: I was a competitive figure skater as a kid, but (being realistic here) I wasn’t really good enough for it to be worth it to forgo educational opportunities and such for the sake of a sport. I hadn’t skated in about 15 years until the world figure skating championships took place literally across the street from me- I pulled a few strings and got to be all official and such:

(yup that’s a bathroom selfie I apologize for nothing) At the event, I got to talk to reps from all of the skate manufacturers and such,and you will be pleased to know that ice skate technology has progressed pretty considerably in the last 20 years. That said, skating is still hard and takes a lot of work, but one of the upsides is that there’s an amazing community of adult skaters who are serious about their sport but also have jobs and such. For example, my friend Sarah both runs the nuclear reactor lab at MIT and makes her own pretty dresses, because why not.

I stupidly thought that I would at least be the only economist on the scene, but…no. This guy’s going to be a professor in the fall:

(I’m not giving more info because, in rather depressing news, he doesn’t talk about skating a lot because he’s afraid he won’t be taken seriously in academia. *primal scream*) I consoled myself with the fact that I’m still only at N=2, but then I had the following conversation at a competition dinner:

friend: did you know that one of the men in the dance event has a Nobel Prize in economics?
me: *nods politely, assuming friend must have gotten her facts wrong* oh that’s really interesting

(I really don’t know how I didn’t know this, given that it’s even in his Nobel Prize bio.) So yeah, I’m by far not even the most impressive economist in the adult figure skating world, and it’s not even obvious that I’m the most impressive figure skater in the econ world. (yes, I know that “adult figure skating” sounds like porn, just let it go) But I guess our existence makes graphics such as these make a little more sense:

Now that you’ve read this far, please indulge me and allow me to give what I feel is an important piece of advice: find a hobby that you can be passionate about. No really- I get that work and family take up a lot of time, but it’s important for a number of reasons. Among them:

  • you will get access to a community of like-minded individuals that are outside of your other circles- it’s refreshing, trust me
  • it’s probably psychologically healthy to be able to pursue some goals in a context where your life won’t be meaningfully worse if you don’t succeed
  • you will be a more interesting person (unless your hobby is distance running =P) and probably in better health if your hobby is of a physical nature

Seriously, if Josh Lerner can have a donkey farm, you can do the hobby thing too. Sometimes you’ll even find gear that allows you to combine your interests:

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