July 20, 2016

I decided to write a blog!

It’s in English. I almost decided to write in my mother tongue, but then my internet friends (hi guys!) would not be able to read it, and I’m pretty sure that most of my Spanish-speaking audience also reads English well enough. One important exception is my mom, her English is not so good. That sucks because it’s important for me that she read my blog.

I have a close relationship with my mom. Our relationship is so close that there is some lucky Freudian psychoanalyst out there with a guaranteed steady source of income for at least a couple of decades, or at least there would be if I had some trust in that crap. Our relationship is so close that we are already two paragraphs into the first post of my blog and we’re still talking about her.

So anyway. Last night I had a dream about a person I don’t like. In the dream she was judging me in a harsh way and I woke up distressed. I was stressed out that a fabrication of my subconscious - a reflection of someone I don’t even like - didn’t think I was cool. I read somewhere that people with anxiety are the nicest people you’ll ever meet, so I naturally thought that my reaction to her judgment was just me being too nice. This was obviously bullshit. I am known to be a socially inept asshole. I have all of the anxiety and none of the niceness.

Anxiety is like going through life on a higher difficulty setting. You see that everybody is playing the same game but you can tell that those jerks who can just put on pants and go to the supermarket like it’s the easiest thing in the world are not faking it, they really find it the easiest thing in the world.

I know what you are thinking: kids in Africa. Yes, I have always had food and a roof over my head, but I am also most definitely not fit to survive in any environment other than the comforts of a modern city. As a child I had flat feet, asthma and problems with motor control. To this day people make fun of me when I run. If I had been born into any situation where I had to compete for resources, I would have died long ago. I totally get to complain about anxiety just by virtue of having survived this long, but that’s a post for another day!

Matthew VanDevander (@mvandevander) tweeted something about BoJack Horseman the other day and it reminded me of my favorite moment in that show, a quote from Mr. Peanutbutter. “The key to being happy isn’t a search for meaning. It’s to just keep yourself busy with unimportant nonsense, and eventually, you’ll be dead.”

At first glance it is a good bit of black humor, but like all great humor, it conveys truth like an intravenous drug.

When our problems seem too big to confront, it can be therapeutic to visualize them in the grand scheme of things. My program Milton is the most important thing for me, and it used to stress me out a lot. What helped me the most to stop freaking out was to realize that is a small part of a tiny community of a niche interest of computer programming, which is a discipline most human beings don’t know anything about, and human beings will only exist for a fraction of time in the lifespan of the universe. It doesn’t really matter.

While this frame of mind can help tremendously when problems seem huge, it can be devastating when life seems pointless. There needs to be a balance, we need to trick ourselves into thinking that there is some point to whatever we are doing.

Living life is a matter of managing a healthy delusion that what we are doing matters.

It’s easy to see this realization as bleak when it’s anything but. It is liberating.

Happiness is that drive that makes us want to get up in the morning. The same drive that makes us not want to go to sleep. We should find that drive at any cost and by any means, without actively hurting others.

And eventually we’ll be dead. :)