Hand Covers Bruise

July 7th, 2020

I try not to update this blog unless I feel at least somewhat inspired in the moment, not because I feel like I have to keep it updated. I’m still not even sure what to write right now, but we'll just see where the keyboard takes me.

It’s July 7th, 2020 and my birthday is in 6 days. That’s insane. I’ll be 26 soon. I can now officially refer to myself as in my “late-20’s”. Where has time gone? I’M OLD! Why does it seem like everything around me is moving so quickly, yet I feel staunchly stuck in place?

The year so far has been a chaotic mesh of an ever-thriving pandemic that currently plagues my nation overlapped with the cries of an entire population of people that continue to still be disregarded and ignored. People are suffering, and my country burns around me as I enter month 5 of quarantine.

At times, it feels like my current mental state is about to reach a limit soon in terms of the amount of news and information it’s able to process on a daily basis. How much more can we as human beings take before our minds reach a stimulus-overload? Living in the U.S. seems to make certain that this experiment is constantly fully tested.

If it wasn’t for Zoloft, that boiling point might’ve been reached a lot sooner. Yes, I’m still taking Zoloft. It’s...okay. My mind feels simultaneously clouded yet very driven. It’s a happy medium I’m willing to put up with for the sake of my sanity.

Admittedly, quarantine in general has not been easy on the mental. I mean, I’ve never been a person who doesn’t mind the company of only himself. Hell, I practically spent almost two years of my life in my room alone at one point, and I came out of that just fine. Side-effects still pending.

I do miss a lot of my friends and family who are able to bring even the smallest moments of joy to my life though, but more importantly I miss all of my favorite activities that kept me sane. The gym. Thrifting. Going out drinking. Exploring. When the world becomes locked down, your brain tends to mimic it in terms of how it chooses to operate.

In the meantime, there’s really been no other option for me but to just focus on work. Work? Is a reaction such as this mostly an American thing? Why during a major crisis like the one I find myself in now, do I automatically gravitate to burying myself in work? I’m currently way too comfortable with getting lost in problems I need to solve for the big corporation that employs me, but why?

It’s not been all too bad. In fact, because of my recent increase in productivity, I got a promotion. Getting a promotion in the middle of the year during a pandemic is pretty unheard of. I should be grateful. I don’t entirely hate my job. In fact, I would say there’s nothing I particularly don’t like about my job. They’ve been really kind, I work with a diverse group of people, I’m coding every day, and I’ve even had people recognize me for my work and take chances on me which have certainly benefited both parties.

I honestly couldn’t really ask for much more than I have in the moment, but in my usual fashion, I of course still feel that lingering feeling of emptiness. I recognize that I speak completely from a position from privilege. Many would be much more appreciative if they found themselves in my current situation, but I realize I’m still not doing something that gives me complete happiness.

Whether it’s where I live, my current job, the people I work with, or even possibly that I don’t belong in the software industry entirely. I don’t know, but after doing some reading and self-reflection, I realize now it’s not selfish to always be contemplating if there’s a better situation possible. You may get yourself stuck in an endless spiral of never being 100% happy, but is it selfish? No.

The industry I currently work in has afforded me a lot of opportunities and experiences that I never would have gotten if I hadn’t taken that initial leap into programming. This year, I’ve built apps and websites used by hundreds of thousands people, which is amazing. Yet, there’s still that twinge saying “you can do more”. I think it’s important to sometimes take a moment and recognize privilege and what you’ve been able to accomplish up until now, but to also be ready at any moment’s notice to dive into the next opportunity when it arises.

I think that’s about to happen again soon. I can feel it. And when I say I can feel it, I know I’m being serious, because feeling much of anything lately is such a rare occurrence.

Did you know? One of the biggest drivers for why I even began my journey into programming and computer science in the first place was the David Fincher film The Social Network. I probably watched it 5 or 6 times at first. The movie of course hasn’t exactly aged well because of the modern-day business model of how Facebook now operates, but man, when I first watched that movie back in highschool, it sparked something in me.

I had the chance to recently watch it again with my partner, and everything came rushing back. The hacking scenes. The crazy college coding parties. The rags-to-riches story of how Facebook came into existence. Except...I came away from my viewing with almost a bad taste in my mouth. Specifically because of how much my view of the Mark Zuckerberg character shown had changed since I first fell in love with the film.

Initially, as a young, more optimistic Jonathan Robins with a giant chip on his shoulder, I remember how much I thought “Wow, Mark Zuckerberg is just like me. A socially-awkward kid with a lot to prove who’s not afraid to do or say whatever he wants, because he knows he’s smarter and will one day be successful.” Now? Not so much.

If I’m being honest, to me now, Jesse Eisenberg’s portrayal of Zuckerberg in The Social Network primarily came off as an insufferable, immature asshole. Some might say that Fincher never intended for the audience to idolize him in the first place, so why did I do exactly that when I was younger?

Did it come from a place of wanting to take nothing and somehow make a means for myself just like he did? Or maybe a place of hurt, because I felt just as misunderstood by my peers? Regardless, I almost feel disgusted with young Jonathan Robins for putting so much weight in the character of Mark Zuckerberg, but I also don’t blame him. That infatuation eventually turned into motivation, which in turn turned into achievement, and which now eventually has morphed its way into being a semblance of regret but also clarity.

I feel somewhat wiser, and I now realize not all paths to success need to be littered with contempt and resentment. I also think every person’s path is unique, and that there’s nothing necessarily wrong with using an immature, fictional misrepresentation of a successful person as your motivation, especially if you are in fact in an infantile state of mind yourself at the time. It’s exactly at the point in life, where we are so malleable, searching so hard for purpose, that we find ourselves consequently grasping at whatever can provide inspiration.

It’s quite possible I’m going through that again right now. Shamelessly.

“You’re not an asshole, Mark. You're just trying so hard to be.”