As I sat down at my computer this evening I knew that even though I should I was not going to do any work for my job. That's not as rare as it should be, but it's still nice when it happens. But then I started to debate with myself what to do. I could continue working on my C++ programming book, I could branch out on my own and start writing a very basic combat simulator to get more familiar with the language on my own (sadly, when I learn a computer language, it works best if I've got a computer game in mind), I could try out any of the half dozen games I've bought in the last six months I haven't played yet, I could write on this blog, I could look up some fixes for my friend's pc and try them out, I could continue to tinker with linux and the ipod, and on and on and on. And all of this had the effect of convincing me that I wanted to do almost nothing. Too many damn options! Those are just the things off the top of my head, they don't even count anything ambitious like trying to find a new language to learn and really pushing it, or getting back into R and taking that to the next level, or etc. and etc. The point is that there are now so many things to do, so many things I want to do, that it is almost paralyzing. Too many options!
And really, cliche though it is, I have to blame the internet. When I was a teenager I had a pc, and I had BASIC, and eventually I even had QBASIC, and anything else was unthinkably far out of my reach. And I took BASIC and QBASIC and did every damn thing I could with them. Because, well, there were no other options. If I wanted to program, I had those two available, and that was it. And if I wanted to branch out more I'd have to spend buku bucks (which I NEVER had) to do it. And I had one game at a time to play because, well, that's all I could afford to buy or rent (yup, I rented games back then). And when I finally got into statistics in grad school, you guessed it, one damn program because who could afford two?? But now, it's all so damn available! I can play any of 20 different games, no, a hundred different games, that I haven't yet tried and they're all free and they're all from the web. I can work on C++, or PERL, or C#, or Visual BASIC, or any of a half dozen other languages, all for free, and all with handy tutorials and, guess what, all from the web. I can write blog entries to people I've never met (who I imagine) and people in other states (those are real) and they're instantly accessible - on the web. I can download an of 10 different antivirus or antimalware programs for my friends pc, again for free, and again from the web.
It's common for most of us, including me, to marvel at what we can do with this chaotic mass of information, and I've done so in this blog before. But tonight it just hit me how deadening all these choices can be. Not that I'm complaining, because it's positively amazing and brilliant, but it is still overwhelming. It seems the more options we have, the more self control and focus we will need. I, for example, will have to try to stick on a single project for more than a week at a time. Yeah, I'll start there. As soon as I'm done checking out all these other options.