This is gonna be kinda of a personal mess.
My background is in film. In Bahia, Brazil.
I understand this is a very personal question with numerous factors to take in, some on which I'll absolutely not be able to convey.
I'm not looking for any definitive life advice because I know that's impossible. I just wanna hear perspectives from some smart people that might help me understand my situation. I've recently been through a (kind of a) life and death situation. I'd be dead or with severe neurological trauma without a helmet.
This made me rethink a lot of stuff about my goals and my life in general. I feel I can confide on Tildes, you people are usually caring and smart and awesome. I'm also a bit emotional, so please be gentle. Spending 24 hours on a hospital bed contemplating death and incapacitation kind does that too with you.
I won't change many details because fuck it, I don't thank there are a lot of people in the world wanting to dox me. And Google already knows everything about me anyway.
I have two very serious psychiatric diagnostics that impart my life in serious ways: bipolar disorder (type II, thankfully) and ADHD. I'm also suspected to be on the autism spectrum but I don't have the means to achieve this diagnostic. It would be useful anyway. These conditions seriously impact my ability to sustain a job for long periods and I have a hard time working with teams bigger than three (sometimes not even than).
I live for free in my mother's conformable apartment, while I she actually spends most of the time on another continent. It's a pretty good deal. But I wanted to be independent.
About two years ago I decided that work in film (my original major) would never provide me the financial independence I needed. Working in film means traveling a lot, infrequent hours, absurd exploration (its common to sleep 4 hours a day), and rampant drug use. I love film and do have a talent for it, but the environment is simply not conducive to my mental health.
Of course, now I realize that computer science may also not be conducive to mental health issues at all. The thing is, really like. When I'm lisping, the real illogical world becames more bearable, and I feel in a wonderland of logic, reason, and calming predictabilidade. This doesn't happen as much with other languages such as Python. I also suck at it. So much that's not even funny. I'm addicted to Linux, Emacs, and the command line, but that's kinda it. I became a Vim/Emacs semi specialist. I don't see myself ever doing anything complex. It this my mind, really!
I've been trying to program for almost 3 years and, beside my super awesome machine, I have nothing to show for myself. I try focusing on using things like Java or Python but I always get sidetracked trying to do some cool shit on Emacs.
Sometimes I wonder if I should just assume that I won't be able to concentrate on anything else and just learn Emacs Lisp for real. It's frowned upon by a lot of people, but Emacs is a wonderful learning environment and at least I would be doing something. Maybe an interesting package that some people would like to use.
Right now my choice seems to be between failing to study things that make me miserable (like OOP), but have clear professional possibilities, or focusing on something I actually like that might make a better programmer in the future.
An important detail: I'm 38 years old and unemployed. My region is not very economically active in that area but I'm afraid to leave it because then I would lose my support network. And the mere notion of being with other people on a daily bases causes me panic attacks.
And, as a reminder, studying programming with bipolar disorder ADHD is hard as fuck. My ADHD is so severe that I constantly forget what I'm doing withing seconds. That's probably why I like Lisp, which is more regular than other languages and I can get things more easily from context.
On the other hand, I'm super charming (and not at all modest hahaha) and interesting at parties because my scattered interests make it possible to contribute meaningfully (and sometimes witty) to pretty much any conversation. My success with women is indirectly proportional to may financial troubles.
Anyway, I know I said this was not about advice, but I kinda lied: what's your advice? Should I keep trying on something I'm not really talented at just because I like it (and it may bring financial rewards in the future).
Or should I just give up and, try my hand at some shorts and even a novel? (I'm currently on a severe writer's block though, but I do have some talent for it).
Maybe I could work from home, be some kind of sysadmin (in which case, what would be the quickest and cheapest way to do so?). I absolutely don't wanna create huge complex products, but managing thinks remotely would be awesome.
I also love philosophy and logic, and, if became suddenly rich, that's what I'd do for the rest of my life. Oh, well.