What Matters


This week of thanksgiving has been for me a much needed break and a chance to spend long overdue time with family. It has also given me the chance to think. The past few years have been like a whirlwind for me, and in many ways I am still trying to catch up.

Taking time to access yourself, for yourself, is important and should be done from time to time.

As a person who often feels alone in my path, a periodic reflection is my only touchstone. This reflection usually revolves around life and career and this week was no different. What kind of life do I want? and what kind of career do I want? I am much more aligned with my ultimate goal now than any other time I can think of. But, I keep asking myself these questions in order to give myself a guiding post to watch in the distance.

Being a junior dev, in many ways, opens up more questions than I had a year ago. Last year I wanted to be a software engineer. This year…..I have more questions about what I mean by that. Do I want to be an application developer, or a systems developer? Do I want to be an anthropologist who codes or a software developer that understand culture? What is the difference between the two anyway? The questions go on and on.

In addition, the work that I have put in this year dwarfs last year. Not to say that I was slouching on the job, but preparing to get in the door and staying in the door are two different things. To help myself. I have decided to concentrate on a few areas that are more broad and will (hopefully) lead me to the right path. Hopefully, they will resonate with others who are in a similar place right now.

1. Fear
I know that fear drives a lot of action, and in my case, inaction. I realize that understanding what I am afraid of helps me more than trying to develop a plan to get past it. I think Americans are hard wired to get rid of pain as soon as possible. Maybe this isn’t always a good coping mechanism. I have found that it just comes back again in a slightly different format. Understanding my fears helps me to start facing them. For me this means, being ok with being more successful than I expected and living way outside my comfort zone.

2. Time
I seem to always be worried about time. I often feel that I don’t get enough of it. I feel like I am always chasing it. After all, it is the one thing that we can’t make. My obsession with time is part of the reason why learning about astrophysics is my hobby. I realize that my time, and what I do with it might be one of the most important decisions that I make everyday. As a result, I have vowed to become much more conscious of how I spend my time. Even if I am zoning out on the couch, I need to make the choice to do that instead of finding myself wasting time.

3. Want
This last concentration is very closely tied to the previous two. Knowing what it is that I truly want, not what I think that I should want, but what I really want, is really important. This can be a challenge because parts of this is always in flux. I have found that what I want now, is different than it was 6 months before. I have to put in work to find the answer because it doesn’t always sit on the surface. Asking myself this question has helped to guide me in the past when I am the only one walking the path. I work on this all the time.

So what is it that really matters? I would say that what matters is being aware of who you are. I think that we spend so much time looking outside ourselves for answers to what it is that we want, or for where we should go next. I believe that knowing oneself is our biggest job, and one that many of us ignore. If we know ourselves, then we will be able to create paths for others.


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