programming and the art of zen

epiphany of the week: programming is fantastic practice for being zen.

Each problem is like a mini version of some life event. You start out daunted but excited. You dive in  (or at least I do) and immediately feel a sense of growth and satisfaction. Then your first wall. But you’re high on endorphins from you first 5 wins, so you break through. Then you hit a second wall. And that one means your first 6 wins mean nothing and you have to start over. Then your second idea doesn’t work. Then your third. Then you start doubting yourself. Then guilt. Then fear. Then frustration and anger. And you feel like you’ll always feel this way. Then distraction. Then it’s like that scene in Neverending Story after the Nothing destroys everything and it’s just Bastion and The Childlike Empress and that tiny pebble of hope. And it’s small, so you proceed cautiously, not wanting to get your ahead of yourself. But something feels right. So you go explore, and things start clicking. And you add more and more things click. Then you stand back with a black and green screen full of fucking OUTPUT and it’s the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen. And you sit back feeling the glow of accomplishment. but it’s fleeting and your next problem taunts you. so you start the whole process over again, determined, THIS TIME to remember that you’ll get through it. to hold on to the good feelings and skip the bad ones.

but you can’t because that’s not how things work. and zen isn’t about being happy all the time, it’s about accepting things as they are now and knowing they will change. and that’s not happiness, that’s presence.

oh and also this cycle happens every 2-3 hours, depending on the problem.

but in life things like, new jobs, breakups, just a DAY, take much longer and it’s harder to see the ebbs and flows. so i’m diggin the metaphor.

also accomplishments of the day: making a custom newsfeed using the reddit API (hello hash iterations) and making a number guessing game (hey there nested loops).

feeling so effing proud and excited and… trying to be okay with knowing this won’t last and tomorrow i’m going to start on objects and momentarily entertain the thought of going back to bartending 🙂

who knew engineering was so full of EMOTIONS?