Ever since I can remember I have been an addict. Over the years my addictions have come and gone. But one thing has always remained: I have an addictive personality. Luckily for me all my addictions have been mostly productive.
It started when I got my first computer, the Commodore 64. At the age of 10 I got the C64 for Christmas and soon after I learned the BASIC programming language so that I could study my Spanish vocabulary words. I know that sounds strange, and it probably is. I didn’t know it yet but I would soon be spending more time coding the Spanish test than learning the Spanish words. It was the first addiction in a long string.
Later in college, I discovered the World Wide Web (remember that?) and my addictive personality struck again. I started to build an application in Perl 3, and before I knew it I was in deep. This time it was much worse. I started to skip class to build the application. Luckily the skills that I formed during that time have served me well but the truth is that I really had no self-control or cognizant influence. Once I started to build that app, the runaway train had left the station.
There was a burning in my gut that I could not quench. The cycle of changing the script and seeing the results was like a drug. Over and over and over I would pound at the keyboard and wait for the results like a junkie waits for the next hit. It was hypnotic and I was absolutely hooked.
Programming has taught me so much throughout my life. Persistent, dedication, thoughtfulness, selflessness. And it all started with that Perl script which I stumbled into. There is still something so pure about making the computer do exactly what you want it to do. Today this fire is still burning within me.
But that’s not the end of the story. After my career became stable, I found other outlets. First it was gaming. StarCraft, Quake/Quakeworld and later World of Warcraft. It was the same, I couldn’t get enough. There was always more to accomplish, mountains to climb and opponents to vanquish.
And that brings us to my latest addiction. Crossfit. All I want to do is exercise, which is strange. After being an athlete in high school I seldom had any meaningful physical activity (outside of hiking) for over 15 years. It’s the damnedest thing, all I want to do now is work my butt off in the gym. The addiction gene has struck again. And again the results have been positive.
Find what you love and let it kill you. - Charles Bukowski
Well killing me is a little extreme. I often wonder how these good addictions come to me. Did I seek them out or have I just been lucky?