Another New Year

A new year and once again I am wondering about the usefulness of this website. I rarely write posts anymore. The reasons I had for writing back when it started have morphed from trying to live in sobriety to adapting to this new life. Years of psychotherapy have given me valuable insights into my own mind and the personality traits that helped fuel my decades of alcoholism. I still feel completely lost in this world.

I have finally figured out a reliable way to use this site to host files that can be accessed remotely through Jupyter notebooks. That becomes increasingly useful now that I can run notebooks from any of three computers I have, including the Chromebook. The newest laptop is an older Dell that I installed Linux on. I plan to use this one just fro programming and simulations. In physics, numerical computation and simulation form a major component of research, both theoretical and experimental.

All this time off between semesters is fertile ground for my negative thoughts and feelings of being an imposter. I keep myself busy mostly by watching movies and tv series and avoiding doing anything that exposes me as a second-rate physics student. I started an online quantum mechanics course and another about Python programming using classes. Those plans and others all go for naught because I can’t confront my feelings of failure and isolation and not belonging anywhere. It makes for a lonely existence.

Entertainment review

I was completely surprised by “Train to Busan”. I had heard of it before and think it was a popular or highly praised zombie movie. For whatever reason, I have seen nearly everything zombie related in the past two decades, I never saw the film until today. I was totally engaged from the beginning and cried at the end – for real, the scene when the father has to leave the daughter is heartbreaking. That sounds like a movie review but I get why people liked this movie.

Earlier this week, last weekend maybe, I watched the Netflix movie “Don’t Look Up”. I thought it was absolutely brilliant. It shows just how boring and stupid and cruel the establishment is. That’s what permits the real evil there is from doing what it wants. The folks on the right, those who continue to back the ex-president, are angered by the movie because it portrays them very badly. The problem for them is that it is a completely accurate picture – they are that bad. Meanwhile, the leftists look a bunch of weak, media-image obsessed, indecisive, clowns. The average person is no more than a statistic, the end user of the enforced technology that makes makes rich people richer and everyone else just slaves. People should be outraged because our society really is this cruel and stupid and pointless. That needs to change.

Finally, I gave in and checked my final semester grades. To my astonishment, I received an acceptable letter grade for the class where I thought I should get a C. The spring semester starts in just over a week and it’s not going to get any easier. I should start reading about semiconductors now! They allow me to take the course because I’m a graduate student, but I’m definitely not an electrical engineer, so there’s going to some steep learning at least early on. I know what to do. Go online ↦ get the textbook (done already) and current or former syllabus ↦ read as much as I can before the first class. I need to be more focused this semester spend extra time researching something. Anything.

I am enrolled in three challenging classes this semester – advanced quantum, semiconductors, and biophysics. It’s not right to just say that they’re hard. These classes require extensive background knowledge in all aspects of physics and math. It is not uncommon to need to learn new math for a new subject. For example, the study of quantum physics requires working with vectors, operators and eigen-functions, values and equations. Likewise, matrix operations, complex algebra, geometry and calculus can be called upon at any time. That’s just the math! Then there are the different physics specialties one must be familiar with – classical mechanics, electrodynamics, quantum mechanics, statistical mechanics and the ideas that connect them all together. It’s more than I’ll ever be able to master.

The future has been cancelled

All this stuff about movies and physics classes serve as distractions from my deep, long-term issues. Coming to terms with those issues has to be a primary concern for me. I need to accept that I’m 46 years old and have never had a meaningful relationship with anyone, let alone a romantic one. Given that I am unable to develop relationships or even friendships it seems certain that I will spend the rest of my life alone. I will die that way too. That (naturally) leads me to thoughts of how my life might end and how that can be on my own terms. I have seriously considered suicide. Not today or tomorrow, but at some future time, like when I turn 50. I had thought about offing myself at age 60, but that feels too distant.

These thoughts are exactly the sort of thing that I should be discussing with a licensed therapist. I don’t have a therapist anymore, but if I did, I would be hesitant to bring it up for fear of being noticed or triggering some kind of mandatory reporting issue. How would I do it? I tend to avoid pain, but there are painless ways like drugs. Other ways that I can envision inside my mind are driving my car off a cliff, jumping off a bridge, drowning in the ocean, … I don’t know if I have the guts to do it. Meanwhile, I plan for a new semester of classes, ponder research ideas and stress over a comprehensive MS exam, there is enough optimism (however minimal) to keep me alive. That can change suddenly though.

All I can really hope for is to find some quiet place far away where my being or not-being won’t be noticed. It’s easier to disappear if no one is looking for you so I’m thinking that if I can get my Master’s degree in the next year or so from UVM, I can go about moving to Canada and getting as far away from anyone who might miss me as possible.


Author: earthling75

I'm a student and teacher of physics. This site began in 2018 as part of my recovery, but I keep it around for some reason still.

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