RE: Being 23, in the FoRKa's Paradise.

Joe Barrera (
Sat, 18 Jul 1998 20:17:41 -0700


Well, I sure the hell don't know what to tell Rohit. Except maybe that it's
possible to be ten years older, happily married to a pretty and intelligent
woman, with kids, a shitload of money and more to come, and still be fucked
up beyond all repair, three bad days away from being committed. You can take
this either as a depressing outlook, or a cause for celebration, or just a
fact of life for smart and fucked up people.

I got my annual review today (yes, Saturday) and it was insanely positive
given that I was only really productive for about three months this year
(and TOTALLY checked out for the first five of the last six months). Jim
(Gray) was sitting there telling me that I'm wasting large chunks of my
life, and I need to learn how to focus - that I can focus, and when I do,
"watch out", but that I appear to have absolutely no control over when or
what I focus on. All I can say to him is, yep, that's about right.

Maybe changing jobs, working for a startup, focusing on shipping product...
would help. Maybe the research world is just too free-form for me. Who

All I can really do is thank God for my gifts and try not to bitch too much
about my "personal demons" (that's what Jim always calls them as well, which
is probably why I started writing this post about me in response to your
post about Rohit). Even if I never figure out how to be productive more than
20% of the time, I'm still doing really quite well.

If Rohit and I are similar in the ways I think we are, then he'll do just
fine no matter how much time he spends idling, thrashing around, spinning
his wheels, etc. Now of course, he won't be "living up to his potential."
Who knows, he might even become a WASHED UP FAILURE like me who never gets
his Ph.D.

I should stop this, it's not going anywhere. All I guess I'm trying to say
is that life is big, and there's lots of room for "failure" and "success",
sometimes simultaneously. I've hit bottom several times and I've come back.
(Yes, bottom is a relative thing.)

So, how to help Rohit? I don't know, except to be willing to share my
experiences and opinions and knowledge.

- Joe

"depression is an overuse injury of the brain" - Juliet Barrera