Your books are your story

I had a conversation with @jacegu in Baruco about putting stickers in your laptop. As I always did he keeps his machines bright and shiny with no extra glue and plastic over it.

Once, the laptop I'm currently using fell to the ground and a dent appeared behind the screen. To hide it I bought a vinyl sticker from Etsy and sticked it over the dent.

Some time after I went to a code retreat and I ended up with two stickers: one from coderetreat.org and another one from dnssimple.com. Since there was already one sticker, why not pasting another one? Both of them got there. Now, I've added some more and probably more are yet to come.

Why the change? I think that it is probably uglier for an external viewer but I started to notice that the machine I use everyday for work is my machine and is a little bit of me. It's my story and all of its dents and scratches are moments I've spent in my life. They are imperfections but they are my imperfections. They tell a story. The story of the places or the people that computer has been with.

I also kept my personal library bright and shiny in the past. Taking notes on books was strictly forbidden. This is starting also to change. I'm going the other way round. I'm taking notes, writing comments, pointing other examples or related concepts in the margins, underlining things I think that are key concepts... If you do it once, you'll start seeing this as marking the path you followed, as leaving marks for a future visitor to see some hidden treasure that otherwise may go unnoticed. If some friend borrows the book from you he will have not only the standard path for tourists but also your story. For sure when a friend from another city visits your you take him not only to the most representative places but to the places you like the most. Why are we taught that we should not do the same with books? Are they somehow sacred?

It's a bit of Wabi Sabi. You celebrate some imperfections caused by the limitations of the moment. Your communication with the author is limited so you can only write annotations to the book. Also you must know that the purpose of the book is not lasting indefinitely so, why not marking it?

We should also have a little bit of this philosophy in our software projects. We tend to design software thinking that it needs to be perfect and it needs to last forever. We must learn to value the compromises we make in design due to limitations in the moment: time contraints, budget constraints... and appreciate the solutions that were took at a given moment. We must embrace change. And most of all. We must see the beauty on that.