Monday, September 20, 2004

When Doubt Strikes

This post originally appeared in the Book Review Blog. Fuck! Sorry, Grace.

I just spent twenty minutes trying to convince a particularly stubborn piece of hardware to work, with no sign of success. It's frustrating, but everytime something technical gets beyond what I know, I get… doubtful.

It's an old, old feeling, one that gets submerged with the business of well, living. But small things like this, and the realization that I haven't touched a proper IDE or worked on a ‘proper’ programming language (oh, like, I don't know, C. Java. C++. Python. Perl. SQL… ah ha ha ha, okay, maybe not SQL) for almost a year, or when I concede that I don't know (to people I can trust) or bluff my way out of admitting that I don't know (to people I don't) the answer to that techie question….

Yeah. How does someone deal with not knowing what's supposed to be your bread and butter? How does someone deal with the fact that you may not want to be what you've always wanted to be, or that you don't want to be what you used to want to be anymore?

Experience? Time? I know what people say — I learn nothing while in college; I'll pick it up when I start working. But it's not necessarily something I want to learn. The dry rapture of programming, the esoteric knowledge of design… what if I don't want it anymore?

I've begun to realize, at least in my life, that I cannot maintain interest in something for a meaningful period of time. There is a part of me that fears what seems like an inevitable truth — that focus, that dedication, that elusive thing that drives people to greatness, may simply be out of my grasp. I get bored too fast, it seems.

What, then? Learn to cope? Learn to accept the inevitable fact that everything I do will eventually bore and exhaust me? Spend the rest of my life bouncing from one thing to another, hoping for me to settle into something, knowing that I never will? Learn to live the life of an intellectual dabbler, perpetually learning but never mastering?

Or am I deluding myself again, the way the overly-dramatic do? Every time I feel like this, I hear my father's voice dismissing my fears, telling me that thoughts like that are for the weak-willed and the foolish. Even that is in doubt. Am I? My time with Hani seems to cast that in doubt — everything I've gone through with Hani seems to contradict everything I've known about myself.

A friend of mine, Jennifer, would probably smile at all this and pat my hand. A Southern girl with a tolerance of alcohol I haven't yet seen equalled in man or beast, she's training to be a psychoanalyst, following the thoughts and writings of Jacques Lacan. “You're an obsessive” she'd tell me. “You'll always question yourself.”

Oh, anything for a little more certainty in me.

Blogger Najah said...

There are jobs out there for people like you -- people who work in short, passionate spurts are great when it comes of conceptualising ideas.

Start with knowing your "basics", and know it well, at least to get past your degree. Then mingle around with people who can give you an idea of what will meet you 'out there', networking is everything, especially when paving the path to the job that suits you...

10:29 PM  

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