Reading is the ultimate addiction as far as I'm concerned - it is not only restful and entertaining but also extremely useful at getting my mind off things, which is why I just read Frederik Pohl's The Boy Who Would Live Forever cover-to-cover rather than dwell on my career situation, how it is (all things considered) going rather favorably, and how, despite my success at self-analyzing and self-motivating myself, the fact that those mental bootstrapping sessions are becoming a recurring event does not bode well.
Taking the usual cold, hard look at things, I've been doing the stuff I'm doing (in both form and substance) for almost three years (out of seven in mostly the same company), with mostly the same people, at mostly the same stress level, and I would be kidding myself if I believed, even for a second, that any of those factors doesn't take its toll.
Having "new technologies" as part of your job description (however implicit) is not, as some people would believe, a license to have new toys on your desk - it can be far more grueling and baroquely convoluted an activity than some of my previous parodies make it seem, and although I am not the usual kind of telco drone, this is one of those times when I am starting to feel somewhat grayish, saturated, and... buzzing with leftover stress.
So I am, in fact, needing some form of change - not as much work-related (since there is fortunately plenty of variety and challenge in what I do, although I find myself wishing those weren't the only satisfactory rewards) as off-work.
And I think I know where this is heading, since there has been a steady decline in the amount of free time I devote to coding, dissecting forlorn reaches of contemporary technology and generally tinker about with computers.
As much as I like technology, I am somewhat fed up with the way we design it, integrate it, use it (or rather, tolerate its inadequacies) and sell it to the unwashed masses, and it's starting to show - I have little patience for gadgetry that has little to no (or negative) innovation since last years', or for incomprehensibly cluttered mobile phones, and especially not for the rat race that mobile computing is starting to become, after failing to understand (and starting to repeat) every single mistake made in traditional desktop computing.
The Mac has been instrumental in allowing me to understand this, because it is one of the few pieces of technology I own that does not get in the way of letting me achieve what I want to do, even when what I want to do (increasingly) has nothing to do with computers - the point being that having Macs at home to remind me that technology can not only be fun, but simple and easy to use has probably prevented me from burning out several times over.
Call it Hope, if you will, but I still think there has to be a chance (however slim) of me having a part in creating some gadgetry that is at least as good as the most insignificant Apple product - not because they are perfect or beyond reproach, but because it would at least be something I could actually show somebody.
Telco skunkworks and paperwork, however daring technology-wise, can get on your nerves after a while. Although I do love writing, in a more free-form way.