I have a problem. It’s a small problem. It’s definitely a first world problem.
I am what I wanted to be when I grew up. I’ve done it! Honestly, it’s very fulfilling. I love what I do and I love who I work with. I have for several years now and I’m able to sharpen my swords and feel good about it.
The million dollar question is what comes next? Early in my life I found my passion for problem solving to be insatiable. When I discovered that writing software is problem solving I knew that was what I wanted.
Prior to this discovery, frequently I wrote down things I learned on 3x5 notecards. I wrote a lot. I’m not sure where we had 3x5 notecards but I always seemed to have them. I loved them and used them prolifically. I wrote a lot about professions. Not really in the form of what I wanted to be, but simply what they were.
I wrote about astronomers, pharmacists and many countless others. Then I wrote about programming and I never wrote about a profession again. I was in 5th grade.
This year marks the twentieth year since I compiled my first C program. Twenty Years. Most of that wasn’t professional but I’ve been writing software for a long time.
I think I’m pretty good at it.
Now my focus has changed and my expertise has certainly gotten more specific. Most notably now I feel completely adrift in life. I feel very happy but adrift. I feel as if I’m coasting. More specifically, I feel that no matter how hard I work now, as a creator of software, I will not progress.
Progress is just activity unless you can measure it. Without knowing exactly what I’m after, I can’t measure it.
Growing up I knew that I wanted to love my job. That was really the most important thing for me. I still want that. I have a fear that I cannot truly love my job unless I’m responsible for it.
This drives an entrepreneurial side to me. However I don’t have the bold desire to change the world. I just want to create something useful.
When I sit and think, completely honestly, I don’t need a huge paycheck but what I need is my own ownership. As long as someone else is signing my paychecks, I’m at their mercy. That’s a big responsibility on them; if I’m unhappy, I look elsewhere.
So now I’m wondering if I’ve reached the limit of what I love doing, how can I still be responsible?
One of my beliefs is quite simple:
Never act until you have a victory condition.
This goes back to measuring progress, but slightly different. I want to know when I’m done. I can’t evaluate how much work or even what acceptable failure is without knowing what victory means to me.
Because of this, I haven’t acted on anything, really. I don’t know what victory is. Life is funny. If my life continued as it is right now, I would be extremely happy. I have a very blessed life. That doesn’t stop me from eagerly waiting for more, I just don’t know what more is yet.