The Doldrums

Posted by Tyler Maxwell on March 17, 2018

Every day when I sign in, I scroll down to the bottom of my page and check my “gauges.”

This is my panel today. This is a visual representation of my mood. I have been doing this full-time and I am half-way through. My velocity is at a crawl and to be completely candid I am not “officially” in Rails yet. I am stuck at the end of Sinatra. I haven’t started my project and I am stuck on the last two labs of ActiveRecord, Playlister and NYC. Fwitter looks like a mountain to an exhausted mountaineer.

“Plateau” is a popular term for what I am describing, but I like the term “doldrums.” This is where I am as I navigate this Flatiron sea. Here is a definition of my maritime label courtesy of Wikipedia:

The Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), known by sailors as the doldrums, is the area encircling Earth near the Equator, where the northeast and southeast trade winds converge. … . In the seamen’s speech, the zone is referred to as the doldrums because of its erratic (monotonous) weather patterns with stagnant calms and violent thunderstorms.


“Stagnant calms and violent thunderstorms!” I couldn’t have said it better (Really. I couldn’t. So I quoted Wikipedia!). The picture below is of a 4,000 to 5,000 mile long thunderstorm in the doldrums. Sailors could be caught for days or weeks in the doldrums as they made their voyages.

The stagnant calm is the slow progress. The now missing needle on my velocity gague pointing 45 degrees in the wrong direction. The violent thunderstorms are my typing “rspec” for the hundredth time trying to get the last three errors to turn green.

A good sailor knows that being caught in the doldrums is part of the voyage; it’s part of being a sailor. Exercise regimes, overcoming addiction, overcoming loss, or learning to code are endeavors that are subject to this circumstance.

“Our actions may be impeded, but there can be no impeding our intentions or dispositions. Because we can accommodate and adapt. The mind adapts and converts to its own purposes the obstacle to our acting. The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.”

-Marcus Aurelius

This is a quote from Aurelius’ book Meditations. It was written in the second century of the common era. Timeless wisdom to say the least. “The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.” I’m going to post this quote above my monitor. I’ll see you on the other side of the doldrums!