08-15-13 - Mistaken Missing

I find myself recently often thinking wistfully of this time in my past.

One summer I spent in Texas - I guess it was actually after I quit grad school, after I came back to Austin to work at Eclipse and then quit Eclipse because they were going under - it was the first time in my life as an adult that I had nothing to do. Every summer in college I worked a computer job; I made enough money in those summers to pay my way through the college year (I generally lived on about $20k a year, which seemed like plenty to me at the time). In hindsight I wish I'd taken those summers off to do something other than work, but anyway.

So that summer for the first time in my life I had no job and no school. It was a hot Texas summer as always. Some days I would ride my bike over to Zilker and swim in the cold springs a bit. Most days I would just go up the road to the little local neighborhood pool. (Austin, like many cities in the US, has a great network of public pools built back in the ancient days when our government actually did good for its populace). I would lay in the sun, swim a bit, lay in the sun some more, read some books. In my memory I can feel the pressure of the sun on my skin; the beads of sweat slowly forming, getting bigger and bigger and then suddenly running down my side. My company at the pool was typically a gaggle of chattering moms; they would sit on the hillside and watch their kids swim and I would lay a little ways off.

In my memory there's a great feeling of repose. That there's nothing to do in this life, no reason to get up, so just lay there. There's a great stillness, heavy summer air, slowly slipping into the water like a crocodile.

But that's not right at all. I was actually deeply depressed at the time. I was aimless and alone; my mind was frantic, going in circles all the time; what do I do with my life? my god where do I go from here? I hate my friends, I have no women in my life, I hate who I am as a person, I'm completely isolated, I kind of hate software jobs, I guess I'm not going to do physics, good god I need to do something to shake this up, I need to make a big change but I don't know what, I need to stop lying around all day.

But in my memory I block out all of that and I only see the moments of lying around, feeling like there's nothing else to do in the world, and it feels sweet. I guess I'm stressed out at the moment and feel like there's way too much that I need to be doing all the time.