A youtube video prompted me to do something, really a trigger to address a problem I've ignored for too long. The host of the show, a psychologist, related their experience of a problem that is the cause of most of my pain; a severe lack of belonging that manifests as anhedonia, being unable to experience reward for accomplishment or basic pleasures.

Like myself, they have no narrative or direct explanation for why this happens, only that it causes their life to devolve into mayhem. Their own solution is to cope, to accept the pain and work around it. I may be reaching, but this host did mention that this happened in their adolescence between 13 and 18 years old, which leads me to believe this was "resolved" before early adulthood.

Unfortunately in my case, this waited to bite me in the ass when I turned 23, living on my own with a job. The problem started to manifest a little before I graduated university in 2018. I was getting my degree in computer science, I had a teaching assistantship and an internship behind me, but I struggled knowing what I was supposed to do with all of it, I still do.

At the time, making a career didn't seem like a bad idea. It was between that or staying in school for another 2 to 6 years, so I took a programming job at a SaaS startup. I did OK at first, but I quickly slid into complacency. I developed some arrogant tendencies around being the only person who knew enough linux & infrastructure stuff to keep the more basic parts of our product running well, but beyond that, I really didn't know how I was supposed to do anything of consequence for that company. The worst part was, I didn't want to, because I didn't care.

I really don't care for most software products that make money. Money as far as I've experienced, is not a proxy for the value I want in the world. All of the things that I see make money disgust me in some way, and this was no different. There's either some repetitive triteness, exploitation, or just being boring.

Even the business of making software itself makes little sense to me. It's full of trivialities I'd rather ignore, but somehow always come back for reasons of being "well understood" or "building bigger teams". Programming is sometimes more easily compared to a fashion runway than other engineering disciplines, and some people seem to like it that way.

The psychologist mentioned earlier has written off rationalizing this problem, rather just accepting it exists and moving on. I'm in the position where this problem continues to wreak havoc on my life, and has done so for six years. It eats away at my being until there is nothing. I need to address it directly, I feel like I don't have a choice anymore.

I've tried other jobs, going to meetups, tinkering with technical hobbies and applying outside of my specialty, talking with people about it. But the more I try to work around this, the more defeated I feel. I don't have a reason to pursue other labor, other than to try things and not be a burden to my parents. I might just work in a grocery store or something for a while, just so I'm not doing nothing.

I don't believe I'm better than anyone else, or should get special treatment, but there's no want that would keep me doing any of this. I don't think I want to be a programmer, and the want of a house doesn't give me the drive to deal with the things I don't like about it. I don't have kids and I don't want any. The thing I want most is time to myself, freedom from anyone else's whims.

It makes me wonder why I started doing this at all. I was good at taking machines apart and studying them, programming gave me the most expedient means to do that. After I got past the bits of machinery, it became more about trying to understand the ideas that underpin these machines, then I just wanted to contemplate ideas and have an open environment for that contemplation. Figures, availability, even architecture don't matter to me.

It makes me think I should write more, write to solve problems, or at least my own problems. Surfaces with words bring me actual joy. Language has inherent duplicity, but is still beautiful.

I'm sorry, I had to tell someone.

Date: 2024-03-14 Thu 00:00

Created: 2024-04-08 Mon 17:19