Monday, October 06, 2003

A Wake Up Call?

Last night I had a pretty bizarre dream. Like most dreams, it was hazy and irrational. The dream took place in a huge building that resembled an old, abandoned warehouse. I was wandering around with nothing but my boxers on and was not keenly aware of my surroundings until a voice started echoing from the walls. Then I realized that it was projecting the names of my cousins and their academic accomplishments and awards while my other relatives, whose presence I had failed to register up to this point, nodded with approval. At this point, I became really confused and felt somewhat embarrassed by my lack of proper attire. Then I woke up.

I spent most of today pondering the meaning of my dream. Was it just another weird dream that sprang from that whirlpool of randomness that is my brain? After all, while I was taking Social Dance in college I did once dream about ballroom dancing with a dog. But I find it extremely difficult to dismiss this dream as some silly, insignificant mental blip. It felt much more like a Freudian slip of the mind that has struck a raw nerve.

I had gone on my China trip hoping to take a respite from the daily drudgery at work and had expected to return energized, refreshed, and content with what I am doing here and who I am. While I did have many wonderful experiences in the 3 weeks that I was there, I felt less comfortable dealing with questions like "when are you going to grad school?" and "how do your like your job?"

Since coming back from my long trip, I have felt even less motivated. The stuff that I have been working on seems even more pointless and insignificant, despite the fact that I feel pretty damn special as I strut into my nice office building in my nice suit every day. If I were in a slump before I left, I have sunk in deeper now. What is the point of what I'm doing? If what I have done for the past 9 months were to be destroyed accidentally, would it make an iota of difference to anyone? Would it make any difference to me? How am I making anyone else's life better by sitting in front of this gigantic monitor day after day at work? There have been times when I just wanted to stand up and leave work. Forever. I don't know if my discontent stems from the lack of challenging projects at my current job, or from my final resignation to my long-held suspicion that I don't like programming after all, despite spending the last 4 years coding, debugging, debugging, and debugging some more.

If not programming what else? Lately, I have noticed that quite a few people of my age (or my "contemporaries," if I really want to be stuffy) taking the LSAT and applying to law schools. Should I give law school a try? Grad school? B-School? I'm not even sure what interests me anymore (other than photography I guess) and I sure as hell don't want to waste time studying something that I may not be thrilled with a few years down the road just because everyone else is doing it. While my parents have been very supportive of the choices that I have made through college, they have been gentlely nudging me, wondering what my next steps will be. The eternal question is of course what is REALLY important to me? Doing what I really love without any monetary consideration? I don't know how I will survive in this city making $30K a year working for some non-profit, and I do need a tech toy once in a while. On the other hand, I am comforted somewhat by the fact that it IS possible to do something one enjoys while making oodles of money, as Yang Yang is doing now. I just need to find that elusive lucrative passion. Easier said than done.

What is next for the G-Man? Will I have another oracle of a dream tonight that will hint at some unexplored talent or interest? Or will it be doggy waltzing again?