Hi all. I’m sure this sounds familiar to quite a few of you: I had a huge, long interest in high school but didn’t have much language to articulate it, other life factors limited the blossoming of ability. Then usually something happens to people, e.g. they start drinking a lot, they get depressed, they find other passions, etc, and eventually they find themselves without maths and worse off in some way, whether they are obviously miserable, or that they lack the fire in the eyes they once had.
What measures can one take to sustain fierce interest when faced with difficult work to progress? I’ve experienced passion wane over time before, and maybe it’s unrealistic to think mathematicians in industry and academia are in constant bliss, but every day recently, just like years earlier, I’ve been waking up excited to learn.
My passion has only just been reinvigorated and i’ve been picking up the material i’d neglected in undergrad so far, and this “emptiness” feels largely conquered. The analysis course i’m vastly unprepared for feels like it has awakened an inner drive, which has infected all parts of life but especially maths, including fields other than analysis.
However I can see that it will take a lot of work to reach interesting stuff, to be able to engage with the content, etc, and while it’s easy to read to about different fields/subjects in a single afternoon, the reality is that I’ve got 12 more weeks in this semester and it’ll be years before I’ll have tasted those spicy topics, e.g. functional analysis, godel’s theorems, random graph theory, etc.
I’m wondering if there’s any (good) advice which is more sophisticated than “be realistic and avoid depression”. e.g. “take a little while every day to remind yourself why you’re studying this, by recreational reading of motivating topics”.