The Infinite Loop

As a software engineer, I have always related my state of mind in technical terms. This might seem odd to some, but it helps me fundamentally understand myself, the world around me, and other people in it.

In the software engineering world, we have a term for a process that runs consistently, and with no exit condition — the infinite loop. Most of us are in a regular loop as we go about our day. Our regular loop, when represented in code, looks something like this:

while($life=="Normal")
{
    Wake();
    Wash();
    Work();
    Family();
    Fun();
    Health();
    Sleep();   
}   

This will only run while $life == “Normal”. An outside function or procedure can change the value of that variable. An infinite loop is quite different.

for(;;) 
{
    Family();
    Work();
    Health();  
}

There is no variable that you can change or condition you can set to help you out of it, and those are the only processes running on repeat in your brain code. The Infinite Loop is often caused by events you can’t control. And falling into one can be dangerous.

Many things can trigger ‘The Infinite Loop’ – work events, life events, health issues, family events. But when there is a combination of events feeding into that Infinite Loop, an Exception on too many processes is thrown anyway, despite no exit clause in your brain code.

Translating nerd speak, this means that if you’ve worked yourself up to the ridiculous over situations that are entirely out of your control, you are going to crash hard unless you re-center, re-focus and don’t let your head get away from you.

Life is hard, confusing, and an unstoppable force. People you love can disappoint you. Work is hard or it wouldn’t be called work. Family is hard. Children grow up and go to college, parents grow older and more frail, and your siblings become more distant as their own life processes become more complex.

Your life can go through many changes, all at once.

I was in an infinite loop this week. I barely avoided a hard system crash. A series of alarming events in every facet of my life threw me completely off center. I have been heading into that loop all week.

I hit a Critical Stop.

The thing about the Critical Stop is once you recognize that you are at that point, you can *think*again. You can stop letting everything get to you. You can take all those insecurities and conjectures and concerns and compartmentalize them. Don’t forget about them; there are reasons you fell into the Infinite Loop after all — but only open one compartment at a time, and on that part you brainstorm.

Stop second guessing your life code and brain processes; pick at the bugs one at a time until they are fixed, and eventually you will have a functional, dependable system.

–hyperjoule // juliann@womenwhocode.com

http://www.womenwhocode.com/cleveland

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