Flow. The state of mind in which the challenge of the task exactly matches your capacity to meet it. When only a single train of thought rushes through your mind, 5 senses fading to nothing. The world falls away. There is only this puzzle, task, idea.

I am addicted to flow, to that transcendence of all neurons firing full-stop. As a child, I got this full immersion by reading fantasy and science fiction. I would only be transported from these other worlds by teachers and parents calling my name for a tenth or more time. Even my friends were more interested in books than in people. We would read together at lunch and each other’s houses, sharing goldfish and book recommendations.

In high school, I discovered something even better. Chemistry. A dialogue between the rulebook of the very stuff the world is made of and me. Instead of passive listening, I was rewarded with the occasional euphoric lightbulb moment, or the belly-deep satisfaction of successfully completing a problem, of understanding the universe just a touch better. To be honest, I think we are not so different from the molecules we are made of.

I learned that objects displace an amount of water equal to their weight. Of course, if it is not big enough for its weight, it is not able to displace that much water and it sinks. It is too dense for that liquid. Perhaps that is life – not sink or swim, but working to change either yourself – your density – or finding a liquid that supports effortless floatation.

I learned that systems always trend towards entropy. If you have 1,000 molecules, there is only 1 way for them to all be packed in a corner, but billions upon billions of ways for them to be dispersed throughout the room. This is why all the air in this room doesn’t rush to the ceiling, leaving us to suffocate. One can force this air to gather in a small, organized space. It just takes energy. Perhaps it is the same with people. They remain randomly scattered without association unless you pour in the energy to maintain organized ties – a community.

I think that, like a molecule, I will constantly bounce, collide, fly, and fidget my way to the most favorable energy state. I will flow from fluid to fluid until I find the perfect density, so that I can be buoyed along effortlessly, just flowing. Like the objects and molecules I study, success – bonds, flotation – is not about the object or the environment. It is about the dynamic interactions between them.