February 2009
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For some reason, quite unknown to me, I’ve been rather depressed lately. Normally, I coast through with a general state of melancholy, with entertaining, but superficial, jokes, comments, arguments, etc. This general state of contentment though has been displaced with a feeling of dissatisfaction.

The other day I went out to Laguna Beach, at a joint called the Crab Cooker, where my roomate’s band had a gig. I was generally miserable, but didn’t complain, because everyone else was having fun (or at least appearing to).

  1. I didn’t know any of the songs (they played mostly covers of popular songs, I’ve just been living under a rock my whole life and to a large extent have avoided popular culture entirely. I’ve also carried no musical interest.)
  2. The music was too loud. (It actually caused pain, this was true of all the places we visited after the gig was over. I should have brought earplug. I now know why so many have hearing problems when they get older.)
  3. I couldn’t talk to anyone. (This, to me is the only reason to go out with friends. To have a discussion. Loud anything get’s in the way of that.)
  4. I felt like a third wheel. (I felt largely out of place. Even if I could have talked, I didn’t have much to talk about. With the one exception being that I almost had a good conversation with my previous roomate, Colby, about culture and nationality/nationalism.)

So, those are the reasons why I mostly just bum around the house all day. But, I knew most of the above when I agreed to attend. So why did I attend? I thought it would be a nice gesture towards my roomate. I also considered that if I stayed home I’d be just as miserable (thought it might help with the depression).

But why would I be miserable if I stayed home? Because I’m almost always miserable when others that I live with are out having fun. This feeling becomes especially poignant when they are out late at night. I can’t sleep simply because I know they are out having fun, and I’m not. This is a personal psychosis, but knowing that it’s illogical hasn’t given me any clues to cure it.

I’ve been investigating lately, why It seems that I can’t be happy. I’m miserable if I stay, miserable if I go. It appears that I am actively making choices that cause me to be miserable. That I’m choosing not to be happy. Of course, I’m not alone in being unable to choose happiness; Apparently, everyone has a hard time making choices that result in their happiness. But, again, knowing this is true about human psychology, doesn’t give me any particular clues about how to choose better.

In the end, I remember being just exactly this miserable when I was doing my undergrad. I think the good things in my life are making me miserable.

  1. I’m back in an educational environment.
  2. I received a very nice complement from one of my professors. (We have to submit proposals for a class project, and after reading mine, he asked: “Do you have an advisor?”)
  3. Our last-minute poster submission to ASPLOS was accepted.
  4. I’ve got a presentation next week, that I’d like to do a good job at.
  5. It looks likely (if I put in the work) that the research I’ve been assigned can carry the funding of the Lab for awhile.
  6. It also looks like I can do some of the research with Brendan Eich (Inventor of JavaScript)
  7. I purchased for myself The Codex Seraphinianus

By all objective measurements I should be quite happy, if only a little stressed. But instead I feel miserable. I don’t reallyl understand it, even though I’ve been thinking about it all week, but I know it shall pass.

1 comment to Unhappiness

  • Just in case anyone cares. I’ve recovered. I still don’t understand why I was depressed, or what brought me out of it. But, throughout the episode, I was secure in the knowledge that it was only temporary.

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