"When did we get so old?"
My friend asked me, watching the fight while taking another drag of his cigarette.
I took another drag too.
It's a horrifying thought, being able to reminisce about the "good ol' days", when we aren't even old, and it wasn't so long ago. Is this what a quarter-life crisis feels like?
I can't find joy in the things I used to enjoy. I can't relax knowing that in the back of my mind, there's always work to be done. The rote gears of programming and calculation must be turned. Machinery needs to be oiled; yes. If it stops running it rusts. Is alcohol the solution? No. It can't be anymore. In college, it was the status quo. Out of college, it's alcoholism.
Cigarette, Yes. Smoke patterns in the air. I wish all of life were this abstract: the ability to discern shapes out of nothing. The ability to fabricate out of mere shadows and apparitions. No, but life is not mere dreams. Life is hard, calculating, gritty. Everything is based on empiricism, research built on research built on research. Nothing can be proved without something. Numbers, facts... these are what support our technological foundation. These are what are real. As Sagan said, "we live in a society exclusively built on Science and Technology in which hardly anyone knows about Science and Technology." How do I succeed in my field? Know Science and Technology. Simple, machine-like precision.
But we aren't machines, are we? Are we cogs? Yes, they train us to process like silicon boxes. But why do I still feel emotion? Why is it that I need something more visceral? Is our innate capacity to love a weakness? Sometimes it seems as such. Distractions from our real goals: productive members of society. Drops in the sea of erudition. Ripples in the ocean of progress.
Study, solve, sleep, eat. Study. Solve. Sleep. Eat. Every wave brings me closer to steely indifference. Gears turning into the infinite expanse of time.
... I need to get some sleep.