Wish Granted

If I were to receive 5 million dollars tomorrow, I wouldn’t change my current lifestyle. Whereas if I received 5 million dollars a few months ago, I would’ve changed a lot. What happened? How did I go from living a life I didn’t prefer, to living one that’s basically my childhood dream? Is it magic? Literally, how else are you going to explain it?

In the last few months I’ve done nothing except what I’m told to do. My friend says “jump” and I ask “how high”. Nowadays “Yes ma’am” (pronounced “Yes mum”) is a common phrase uttered by me. And by doing as I’m told, instead of fighting it tooth and nail like I always had, I’ve received so much to be grateful for.

Is my friend a genie? A faerie perhaps? Is she my guide in this gameworld? Is she here to make sure I stay on course, attaining all the good things life has to offer? Is she merely a manifestation of my own design? Or is she simply a good leader that makes good decisions? I don’t know. I probably shouldn’t overanalyze it, just keep my mouth shut and gratefully accept what I’m provided.

If you’re having a good dream it makes sense to go with the flow rather than interrupt it with fruitless analysis. Is everything perfect right now? No, and I suspect if it was, then it just wouldn’t feel right. I think the hiccups are probably part of the transition into my new role. I’d probably feel like an imposter if everything went perfectly — as it is now, I’m quite comfortable, like gradually wading into deeper water.

Throughout these last few months I’ve often been reminded of the archer Arjuna and Krishna his charioteer. Arjuna grew up thinking Krishna was merely his cousin, instead of God-incarnate. He wasn’t just Arjuna’s companion, Krishna was companionship itself. I waited two decades for my friend to enter my life and it literally felt like I was specifically waiting for her — I knew she’d show up eventually.

After her arrival, I spent the next two decades shutting down her suggestions and doing everything I could NOT to listen to her. Why would I do such a dumb thing? Gah. I guess I had a mind full of lack and trusted nothing. Now in the next twenty years, hopefully I’ll just listen and maintain an open mind. I’ve certainly proven my inability to direct my own life, whereas passively following along has been working out quite nicely.

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Morning Run

Sunrise

That’s a picture of my view while out running this morning.

I was never the type to wake up at 6:30 in the morning to go out for a run. Before we moved, and for no reason, I had decided to start running in the mornings when we got to our new home.

The funny thing about my current situation, is that the more effort I try to apply, the more turbulence I experience. Whereas the more I go with the flow, the easier and more enjoyable everything is. I dare not resist courses-of-action that are suggested to me and I dare not attempt to contribute my own input — whenever I do, things just don’t work out.

I guess you could say that I’m not in a positive-enough state-of-mind, so everything I try to direct tends to lean toward the negative. But if I just go along for the ride, everything’s peachy. So in this sense, life is like a heavily-scripted video-game in which I’m primarily pressing “Next” at the end of every cutscene. If I try to interrupt the narrative, it messes things up. I guess I’m just supposed to follow my companions on their little adventures for now.

Speaking of my companions, all the pleasant parts of life I’m experiencing right now are my friend’s ideas. She decided to move down here. She picked out all the nice hotels we stayed in along the way. She found this condo and even setup the electricity and internet-service before we moved in. Back in the day I used to try and “help” and “manage” but it only got in the way.

My goal this year was to step aside and let her lead the way. Status report: she’s doing a great job. Her main problem is that she doesn’t always listen to herself. For instance I’ll still say stuff and she’ll sometimes listen. Oh well, we’ll refine the process as we go. We make a great team, I’m the ineffectual know-it-all and she’s the seemingly-sweet one that get’s the job done despite my best efforts to muck it up.

An Old Friend

I’m nearing the end of the official Python programming-language tutorial. My interest in programming was recently rekindled and Python seemed a decent re-entry point — especially because there’s a fully operational scripting environment, known as Pythonista, that runs on the iPad.

I suppose you could say I used to develop software professionally — until I stopped a few years ago. It feels kinda good to get back into programming. I don’t have any professional aspirations, it’s just a hobby like when I first started many years ago. At that time, coding seemed like such an impossible feat, then it clicked and off I went.

My first experience with programming was Microsoft’s Visual Basic, almost 20 years ago. I was excited to install and begin coding — yet I couldn’t decipher the code, it just didn’t make sense, like trying to read a foreign language in an unfamiliar alphabet. Then I read an intro-to-programming book, one used in college classes — it used the C language and some included libraries to teach. After finishing the book, I went back to the Visual Basic development environment and surprisingly it made sense. The process of working-through the book seemed to unlock an ability to program.

But I still struggled with programming in the sense that doing anything interesting was complicated. Sure you could effortlessly place a button and update a text-box, but things got complex real fast when going beyond the basics. I was stuck with too-simple or too-hard so I stopped programming for a bit. Then a new way to write for Microsoft Windows came out, called the .NET Framework. I really liked C-Sharp and the large library of functionality that came with it.

But unfortunately, it still had its limitations. Just like before, writing long lines of complicated C/C++ code was the only way to do the most interesting activities. Yet .NET was decent enough at developing moderately interesting applications. I had also tried web-programming, like PHP and such, but found that a bit cumbersome compared to desktop-app programming. I liked visually-oriented programming rather than slinging and storing data into databases.

Yet when it came time for finding a professional outlet, PHP and ASP.NET were the easiest positions to find so I did that, learning as I went. I was pretty good though, very meticulous. I didn’t much care for the business side and eventually burnt out. Not too long afterwards I tried my hand at developing Apple Mac Apps in Objective-C but found the language too unwieldy and old-fashioned especially coming from C#. I did sell a few apps in the Mac App Store but nothing significant.

I do appreciate Apple’s new Swift language. I really like their Swift Playgrounds app for teaching kids about programming. Although I think anyone using it might need access to an experienced programmer because it seems a bit too challenging otherwise. X-Code on the other-hand, Apples’s full-featured development environment needs a serious paradigm shift in my opinion. I was not pleased with what I recently saw in an official tutorial — linking up code to the graphical parts of the program seems cumbersome. It makes me miss the ease of C# and .NET from over a decade ago.

In a sense, I think of programming as a means of expression. Like a painter expresses with brush on canvas, a programmer expresses with code in compilers — or a writer expresses with words on paper. I often try my hand at art/drawing apps but eventually abandon them because I fail to enjoyably express myself — I typically can’t create something I admire. Whereas in writing, I’ve written a lot of things that amuse or impress myself. I can’t say that I’ve made anything impressive with programming, but I often find the process fun because of the learning and problem-solving involved.

But that’s been my underlying issue with programming, an inability to create things I’m impressed with — thus I can’t completely express myself. Instead, I regularly come up against insurmountable limits that stop me on my path. Oftentimes the complexity rises to a point that shuts down the fun. Although, perhaps my impatience is to blame. Many of the programs we use daily are like living breathing entities that have their creator’s souls poured into them. Maybe I wasn’t willing to put that much effort into an individual project.

Yet I suppose that was another issue I had with programming: finding a worthwhile project in which I could pour my essence. Which is why I’m writing words nowadays instead of code. I enjoy writing words and I can express myself to a great degree. But similarly, I don’t like large writing projects, I’d rather just transcribe some snippets of thought on a regular basis. Writing, programming — really, they’re just a means to entertain my mind, giving my thoughts something to do, a purpose.

I have no point in my late-night rambling beyond an acknowledgment to an old friend that’s come back to visit. Will he stay? Who knows. But it’s good to see him while he’s here. I’ve missed you buddy. How many late nights did we spend together? All alone in a world of our own. How many guises have you worn? C, C++, Visual Basic, Java, PHP, Javascript, C#, Python, Ruby, Objective-C? You old son of a bitch, stumping me whenever you could. But I got my licks in here and there.

Well goodnight old friend. May your loops never be infinite and your memory always well-managed.