Was I ever that young and enthuastic?

Last night I watched the movie “the social network” about Mark Zuckerman who created Facebook.  Interesting combination of technical genius, conceptual genius, a young man who didn’t make friends easily but understood social interactions, and what youngsters need in their social interactions.

From his easy throwaway answer to an exercise  in class only a very few on the planet would understand and a very tiny number could answer, to his interview method of a technical task to trap and analyse network traffic while playing a drinking game his approach was somehow right.

 Then I watched those same kids, sitting for hours shut off by their earphones, and coding, testing and debugging. That level of concentration. Did I ever have it? I don’t think I ever had it to that degree, but then we didn’t have the same means to keep out the world’s sounds. We hadn’t trained our brains to ‘tune out’.

The sheer levels of concentration. The 36 hour working space they talked about scared me silly. I have occasionally worked for more than a straight 24 hours, but not for many years now. And I know I was a lot less effective after many hours in a row.  I once at 7am on my way home from work drove through a red robot, to the annoyance of oncoming traffic. I had been working since 8am the previous day.

Now after 8 hours of concentrated output, my concentration flags, my brain demands rest, preferably doing nothing active. Watch a movie, read a book, play scrabble online, blog. All such different uses from my work that they count as relaxation.

Getting older isn’t for sissies. I do feel sorry that I can no longer do what I used to be able to do. Are there compensations? I don’t really think so.



13 thoughts on “Was I ever that young and enthuastic?

  1. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, and the look into the IT geek world.
    I still pull 24 hours and sometimes longer. Slap a pair of headphones over my ears and I can immerse myself in whatever I’m busy with.

  2. Well, that”s odd. Maddie has just come home saying the boys in her class have been importuned not to play computer games because it affects their learning: a new piece of secondary school research, apparently.
    My gut instinct is that this level of concentration for this long is not a great thing for our minds. There’s a great book called Hare Brain, Tortoise Mind, by Guy Claxton. He talks about how the brain may hare ahead but the subconscious mind, or tortoise, is incredibly important: it takes the lion’s share of the burden of running our lives, even though it is slow. It works by bumbling along in the background of our lives, and thrives on our relaxation and down-time. That is, for example, how ‘eureka moments’ happen.
    I like to do a task, walk away, let it cook awhile, and come back: often the answer is there when I return because the tortoise has done his ponderous job.

    Sorry, Sidey…..rambling on….

  3. With or without “compensations” of age . . . there is NO WAY I would go back to any point in my past.

    Right here, right now, is where I want to be. 🙂

  4. Thanks for mentioning the movie. I’m really keen to see it!

    As for ageing, my diminishing co-ordination is my least favorite thing – especially on my mountain bike 😀 I can’t count the number of tumbles, and can’t remember even one as a kid!

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