I know that things are getting tougher
When you can't get the top off from the bottom of the barrel.
Wide open road of my future now,
It's looking fucking narrow.
Whatcha gonna do with yourself,
Boy better make up your mind.
Whatcha gonna do with yourself boy,
You're running out of time.
--"Knowledge" by Operation Ivy
I heard the above song today while I was taking my ten minute dinner break between swimming and working. It seemed perfect given the day I've been having, and given the month that America has been having.
My preoccupied mind can be broken into three compartments.
That which is petty: ...why did I just eat those reese's, my thighs are always going to be huge...why can't my computer science building install some fucking tampon machines...how am I ever going to graduate if I don't get time to focus on my actual research...why do I have to be so hard on myself...why does my boyfriend put up with me...will I ever have time to have kids and get tenure...why does my dog have to roll in dead animals...
That of local importance: ...how can I increase diversity in computer science...why is my country's president such an incompetent moron...why do so many people own those damn hummers....why does Texas have so many freeways...
That of global importance: ...what is going to happen when the world's oceans rise 5 feet...will my father be the 1 in 3 that dies of avian flu...is my country working to make more vaccines so its citizens will be safe...why can't the world's countries just sign the damn Kyoto agreement...
It is the third compartment that gets me into serious trouble. It has been working in overdrive today. I'm not sure if it's my obsessive personality, my predisposition to depression, or my oversensitivity, but when I think about the trouble that the human race has gotten itself into, I fall into a tear-stricken panic. I am paralyzed, and I think, "Why is it all so horrible?" I think, "I can't fix this, nobody can fix this, what's the point of any of this?"
Why do I work so hard to get a PhD in computer science when I'm just going to die anyway? A single life can make no difference, as Milan Kundera so gracefully points out in "The Unbearable Lightness of Being." I think only hope for surviving without going all Brad Pitt in Twelve Monkeys (translation: completely nutzoid) is to hunker down, put my head in the sand for a while, and read about Domain Driven Design.