Watch this and brighten your Friday morning. It’s 9 minutes. You can do it 🙂
Raise your hand if you know how modulo works, most of you should.
The room erupts in laughter 🤣
Young kids finding something they enjoy… they’re just the most inspiring, most wonderful thing in the world, aren’t they? They get so into it… it’s like it fills their entire being. Their whole world revolves around that thing that they love.
When they really enjoy something, you can’t get them to shut up about it.
Now, I don’t know if that’s true about young Revel up there, but it was definitely true for my younger sister’s gymnastics and for my coding.
My sister would come home from school, rush off to gymnastics for four hours, come back home, and immediately start doing cartwheels and splits and all sorts of gymnastics shit at home because 4 hours just didn’t feel like enough. She was 8 or 9, and she wanted more!
Same with me and coding. I was 9 when I started with DOS and Logo, later Pascal, and that 2 hour/week coding class at school just wasn’t enough. I would spend my afternoons poring through the instruction manual in English, a language I barely understood a few words of, just trying different functions to see what happened. Building and rebuilding random shit because.
Coding was way too much fun to ever stop.
But something weird happens when you grow older. You become grizzled. Disillusioned.
Programming, gymnastics, whatever it was you loved as a kid, it loses some of its spark. You hit puberty, discover the opposite gender, social dynamics, all this weird unnecessary crap.
One day, you go to school, and you say “Look at this cool thing I made!” and that mean kid in class says “Nerd!”.
But say you survive that. You push through. You love your thing too much to let go.
Sometimes, you are forced to let go. My sister had to stop gymnastics because her body couldn’t take it. I had to stop playing with LEGOs because there’s only so many careers you can find in that space.
That’s another thing that kinda ruins it.
You hit this age, around 15 or 16, and you start thinking “Fuck, I gotta do something with my life. What do I want to be?”
Programming, luckily, makes for a fantastic career. None better. You get to build cool shit, and people throw money at you. What more could you want?
Ah, but all the shit isn’t cool, is it? Once money is involved, sometimes you gotta build stuff you don’t care about. You have to build real grown-up stuff like accounting systems and data management and glorified bureaucracy forms.
A lot of real-world programming is just codified bureaucracy.
And coding does get boring sometimes, doesn’t it?
Day in and day out, it’s all the same crap you’ve seen a million times before. Yes, dear compiler, I missed a comma. Of course my coworker changed that function signature and broke half my code. Indeed there is a production bug, we’ll walk through the code and find it again.
You’ve seen it all in one form or another. Especially if you’ve been programming for 20 years since you were a kid.
And that’s okay. You’ve gotta build real stuff for real people to use. A lot of joy comes from building something people use.
But never forget to play.
Then I had another thought: Physics disgusts me a little bit now, but I used to enjoy doing physics. Why did I enjoy it? I used to play with it. I used to do whatever I felt like doing – it didn’t have to do with whether it was important for the development of nuclear physics, but whether it was interesting and amusing for me to play with. When I was in high school, I’d see water running out of a faucet growing narrower, and wonder if I could figure out what determines that curve. I found it was rather easy to do. I didn’t have to do it; it wasn’t important for the future of science; somebody else had already done it. That didn’t make any difference. I’d invent things and play with things for my own entertainment.
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