This last year of life has been one unlike any other, especially for my twenties. I remember being in college feeling like I was coasting after high school not really sure what I was supposed to do. I remember the day I decided to "fake it until I made it" or more accurately what I was thinking was "what's the worst that could happen?". I spent years of my life not really finding any real objective measure of my life moving forward, I kept going though, holding on to the hope of an opportunity to do something amazing. 2017 proved there are many I was not observing, and it proved there are opportunities all around us for so many things.
Finding My Calling
I tinkered with tech all my life. I still remember when I got my first technician job and how scared I was to even reboot a machine. I came into 2017 as a Site Reliability Engineer at the amazing company, Tenstreet. I was going through a rough patch in my romantic life, but I had some things to focus on, and tech was one of them. I presented often with the amazing organization Techlahoma. I found myself pushing the limits of what I believed I could do in ways I didn't even notice until I realized I was crossing the state of Oklahoma at least twice a month.
Not only that but up into Arkansas and online via amazing technical communities. I was working on open source projects and mentoring people across the world (technically from Tulsa to Nigeria, but if you go the long way that's the whole world right?) on getting their careers started in tech. I found something to belong to, something that never felt like work even on the worst days, more over I found myself comfortably inside the communities. I was sailing on the ocean of professional bliss.
When Target called and wanted to show me what Guest Reliability Engineering was, I flew up and knew by the time I hit the terminal flying back I was taking that job. It was the best decision for me, and that leap has paid off in so many ways. I feel like I am living in the dreams of my dreams every morning working on things I thought I wasn't even smart enough to say the words. Five years ago it was a privilege to cover lunch breaks on the cell phone/photo booth counter at work, now I govern an open source automation platform. Life has been a miraculous journey and I am so excited for whatever is next.
Finding Personal Peace
As I previously spoke about I was pretty abruptly dropped from a really wonderful relationship at the beginning of 2017. Like tech though, I had something to focus that energy on. I had found a church to call home again, and friends who became so much more like brothers and sisters to me. I invested in people more than ever before, working not only on myself (losing nearly 60 pounds this year & getting a max leg press of 1035lbs!), but also engaging others. I spent time and energy working with them to build true friendships and help develop each other. My church helped develop and strengthen my faith and I felt more whole than ever before.
I found that more than even the code in software I found a true passion in technical leadership. Not so much managing people but helping make cooperative teams and provide momentum to accomplish great feats of software but also develop each other into better developers, professionals and people. The time I spent with deacons over the summer taught me what a real friendship felt like again. Even if I am more than seven hundred miles away today, I still feel right at home talking to them. The real reason I love software is because it is the most powerful tool I have that can transform a person's life into something of higher quality. Finally understanding why I loved tech so much helped prove to me where I wanted to lead my life.
I look towards the sunrise tomorrow with such great excitement. I will never again work. I live the dreams of my dreams. That will never be work to me. I have found the path I am supposed to be on, and I am taking everyone with me I can who wants to go on the adventure that awaits. Turning 25 is a milestone for many reasons in my life and the one that sticks out the most is it will be the first year of my adult life not lived in Texas or Oklahoma. I have a brand new Galaxy of adventures to explore. I have the opportunity of a life time and this is the year to seize it.
This year of life needs some goals though, right? I mean excitement can only go so far. True innovation and progress needs road markers to ensure you're still on the right route. Here are mine:
- Reach my optimal BMI: Weight has been a battle for me my entire adult life. This year of victory will be the one I finish this fight and get all the way to a healthy BMI for me
- ABC: Always Be Committing. Whether at work or on GitHub I want every work day Monday->Friday excluding federal holidays to be a day of code. Even if its just some documentation I want to exercise that favorite muscle every day to continue sharpening my skills as a developer. Saving my weekends though. I need sometime to listen to podcasts and do other stuff.
- A least one technical blog post a month: One I have committed to before and failed. SquareSpace makes it so easy though! I really want to start leaving myself and others breadcrumbs on what the heck I was thinking sometimes.
Of course more goals will come throughout the year. Life is a river in the middle of a Texas rainy season. It'll grow, change direction, overflow and dry up; None of it is your control. Either you pack for the opportunity or you don't. For the first time in a long time, I packed in 2017 and I sailed that river into the ocean! The coming year will prove to be a unique experience in a new state. It's my responsibility to live every day to the fullest and most vivid. I owe it to those who trusted me, believed in me, pushed me, and supported me on this wild and amazing journey. So, farewell 2017.