Once upon a time I was a clever bastard. I used to devour computer languages, I used to write 6502 machine code, in Hex for burning straight onto EPROMs. I used to learn things every day, I devoured books. I used to build computers and fix them. I used to solder little electronic gizmos together – 555 chips and LEDs, all in bare feet so I could hold the board still with my toes.
But last night I was trying to understand ‘regular expressions‘, something that I should have found really easy. But I sat there and scrolled backwards and forwards and it just didn’t sink into my brain.
It’s not the first time I’ve noticed this, I sit and read and reread a bit of text a couple of times before it sinks in. I try to remember something and it just doesn’t work. I try and write a blogpost and the words stop flowing.
I’ve a sneaking feeling it’s to do with my lifestyle at the moment. I’ve heard it said that learning computer programming will alter the way that you think but I think that my earlier life has slipped away from me.
It might be a result of rotating shiftwork slowly eating away at my brain, it might just be my age – but I’m hating it.
The other thing that it might be is that in my day to day work I don’t need to use my brain anymore. I turn up to a patient and can tell what is wrong with them within a minute, the lack of any ‘serious’ cases has meant that I go from job to job picking up people with very little wrong with them (or the usual suspect illnesses like angina, or COPD), doing some vital signs and then writing the same paperwork. I drop them off at the hospital and repeat it all over again – the only thinking that I have to do is in trying to work out how to get some food inside me.
When I started the job every call was a problem to be solved, but now I think I’ve reached the stage where I don’t need to think about how to get the trapped woman with a broken leg out from under her bed, I don’t need to consider how I break bad news to someone, it all just comes subconsciously to me.
I guess I’m just not stretched by my work anymore, even though I don’t know what patient I’m going to go to next it’s all just become a bit ‘samey’.
Because I’m not thinking in work, my brain isn’t getting any exercise. Because I work rotating shifts I can’t go to night school to start learning again, because I work twelve hour shifts it is incredibly hard to motivate myself to learn on my own.
I need a kick up the arse. I need something that will stretch me, motivate me and force me to do some learning.
I need to get out of shiftwork – but I can’t do a fixed rota in the ambulance service because I just couldn’t live on the cut in wages that I’d have to take.
I’m not sure what else to do, and this is part of the reason for this post – I love to hear what other people think. This is a request for advice, a request for things that I can do to get my brain working again because I hate this slow slide from how my brain used to work into a dullness.
I need to get motivated again.
I have some books on programming in modern languages – maybe I should hit the Python one, try and force myself into thinking again.