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.
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.
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.
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.