Tuesday, April 5, 2016

In which I complain about being a mid-30s professional transplant

I've got a pretty damn awesome life. If I had been born in the paleolithic era, on average, I'd be dead by now. (Average life expectancy: 33 years. Also, 100% of people from the paleolithic are now dead.) Or in recent time, only 150 years ago, if I were British, I'd probably be a lovable chimney sweep. Or if I was born in, say, the DRC, I might have ended up a child soldier. Who knows?

Instead, I grew up in rural America, have a life expectancy of ~73 years (if I don't screw it up), took a bunch of math and science classes, and got myself a shiny bachelor's degree in computer science, which must put me right up there with four of the top ten wealthiest people in the world, right?

Actually, despite the grief my housemates in college gave me when I switched from Computer Engineering to Computer Science (personal hygiene and social ineptitude jokes abound), that was an awesome choice. Not only do I think I'm much happier swimming in code than I would have been in Fourier transforms (I still don't know what the hell they are), it turns out software engineering is a pretty damn lucrative industry.

This is how computer science and biology majors roll

The US Census Bureau's stats bode very well for me. And for that, I'm very thankful. Andrea and I are incredibly, ridiculously fortunate to have the financial security we do. (Despite taking a huge loss on the sale of our 2004-purchased home, we're very comfortable.)

On top of that, the Pacific Northwest is killer. We've had a hell of a ride in the last almost four years that we've lived here. As terrifying as it was to make the move here, it was one of the best decisions I think we've ever made. Who knew you and your dog could hike up a mountain post-Thanksgiving and have such a gorgeous view? (Also, we have an awesome dog.)

And I get to do all sorts of cool stuff like summit Mount Rainier.

And then a year later, Mount Shuksan.

Not as high as Rainier, but still pretty awesome.
But there's also a downside to all of it - and here's where I start bitching: it sucks trying to make friends again when you're older.

I'm inclined to think Malcolm Gladwell's infamous 10 000 hour rule applies to friendships, and all those people I used to be so close to are (or were) my friends due in no small part to how much time we spent together in elementary and high school, college classes, and in the dorms.

As it happens, when you're spending 9-10 hours every day at work (plus commute time), you don't have much time to hang out with people for fun. And those folks you used to hang out with all the time are now spread around the country, making it hard to keep up the inertia of existing relationships. The extremely unsatisfying and unsettling heat death of friendships fucking sucks. Pardon mon fran├žais tout le monde.

This is the point at which, as a stereotypical male engineer, I want to dissect the problem and control for various factors, but this post isn't problem-solving but rather complain-into-the-ether -- a problem I, admittedly, am very privileged to have.