In about a month, I’ll be 24.
At 18, my sister told me: “you’ll see, life between 18 and 20 sucks. It’s messy, you don’t know where you’re going, you have tons of stuff to figure out. But it gets better. As you grow up, you do figure stuff out, and it gets calmer, a little more peaceful”.
And you know, she was right. It does get calmer. Moving out of my parents wasn’t exactly a peaceful endeavor, but it worked out. University is frantic at first, but then you forget to stress out about being late to class. Or about going to class at all. Exams are just things that pass by, that you can wave hi to, because you know soon they’ll be gone again and you’ll have more time to spend on side projects.
And after a while I got bored with university and left altogether. Back to France, moving in together, all that sort of stuff. And that too, is good. It’s calmer. I get to write articles at 5AM and hear the birds outside. That’s cool.
But I don’t know, life at almost-24 is kind of disheartening. It may just be a passing phase, and maybe I’m making a big deal out of it, but I’ve lost faith in the work that I do.
I learned a ton of things, during (and outside of) university, since then with the various companies I’ve had the chance to work for. I can have an expert opinion on all kinds of things ranging from servers to APIs to front-end frameworks to user experience to mobile strategy, even some here and there on client relations, business models, target audience, team building…
Now more than ever, I’m a walking and talking encyclopedia. Except I don’t walk much because ads in the streets are depressing, and I don’t talk much anymore because I’ve passed the age where I would self-righteously “tell it like it is” to anyone at all.
I look back fondly to the times where I was still neck-deep into ooc work, my toy programming language. Of course I was a pretentious teenager who thought he could upset the status quo with yet-another-programming-language. But it got me to Portland, Oregon - and I met with Steve Dekorte, Ola Bini, Rich Hickey, Charles Nutter, Brian Shirai, and many others.
It got me to Lyon, to Paris, to Brussels, to meet fellow open-source enthusiasts. It got me to Barcelona and Berlin to attend hackathons, and it got me to Dublin and Geneva to organize hackathons. It got me a 6 in my semester project at EPFL that should’ve been about Scala.
I was a self-righteous asshole, but I was an interesting self-righteous asshole, because I still had dreams. I had no idea how big the problems I was trying to attack were, and my opinions were probably an insult to anyone half-educated on the matter, but damn it all to hell, that didn’t stop me from making actual progress.
I think my mistake was stopping to think. But it’s not like I had a choice. A few years of this life and a few relationships down the drain, I was at the end of my rope. It didn’t matter whether I wanted to take time off or not, I was just physically incapable of doing anything except wandering half-naked in the apartment my ex-roommate was no longer living in.
And then I found fresh new illusions and crashed with another fancy project, movies.io. And again with devsofa. And many many game-related projects. Always the same cycle: I’m bored with this! Oh, that sounds nice. Alright, I’m doing that now! Forever!
meep. Wrong. I’m not doing that forever, I can’t do anything forever because ultimately its pointlessness will catch up to me and I’ll start fuckdamnthinking about things again and I’ll lose interest in it and I won’t get anything done all over again.
24 is pretty fucking young, I’ll admit - but 24 years is also pretty fucking long. Maybe 24 is pretty fucking younger when you’ve been doing nothing but wait around. But I ain’t been waiting around for things to pop up. I did my darndest to manufacture paper so that I could shred it in creative ways and make wonderful and terrible things pop all over the place whether people would open my pop-up book or not.
So I’m not saying I don’t have anything left in me. On the contrary - I could talk about many subjects for hours, and in those hours there may even be a few minutes here and there that are of some interest to you. But I just don’t bother anymore. I tweet random strings of rant-y babble that make Terry A. Davis look sane and coherent. I’ve lost touch with all the scenes online that I used to identify with and the worst thing is that I’m not sure that I care anymore.
And in the meantime I keep reading articles about how young white guys basically have the world handed to them on an iron-nickel alloy plate. Well it sure doesn’t fucking look that way from here, what with the crippling depression and everything. I don’t know, maybe I’m just doing “being a white guy” all wrong.
I’ve grown bitter towards the indie folks because I don’t find them bitter enough. Fuck all of you with your positivity and getting-shit-done attitude. YOU’RE FUCKING RUINING YOUR LIVES by conjuring coping mechanisms out of thin air. If your work consumes you to the point that doing anything else at all is a welcome break from coping so you can go back to more coping then what the FUCK are you doing with your life?
I wish I had some kind of redeeming closing paragraph here, some adeptly-wielded group of words that would make it all better, that would somehow give a point to this whole wreck of an article, but I don’t. I just don’t. I’ll just keep blogging about technical stuff because I can guarantee those articles are 0% soul and 100% things that I hate myself for blogging about, but at least this way part of me will keep being tricked into thinking that I’m actually making progress.
But really though, I’m not. I’m just feeding yet another addiction.