Dear self,

Here’s to another great year.

This past year has been pretty great. I graduated from college, got a job, and I am well underway in my career. I kicked ass and took names. If you saw all of the awesome stuff I have accomplished this year, you’d think that I couldn’t ask for a better life.

Yet, I still find fault in lots of things around me. I long for something more. I cannot tell you what, but I had bigger plans in mind. I’m sure I’m not alone in this. Surely the man upstairs had something bigger planned for me than slinging Javascript code for the rest of my life. But here I am.

As imperfect and insecure as I feel today, I continue to go about my life always seeking to become a better person. What’s crazy is that one of the most applicable pieces of life advice I have ever received comes from high school baseball. On the back of our shirts was the phrase “Be Better”. Two words that I never thought much of at the time because well, I never thought much of anything during high school.

In my quest to become the best I can be, I have spent a lot of time finding ways to better organize my life. I have also devoted countless hours to becoming great at what I do. Over time, I have learned one thing and one thing only. Nothing is free. Learning any skill takes time. As a programmer, I always hoped that there was some awesome hack that I could do for life to just suddenly become great. If you find it, send me an email.

After reading countless self improvement books, the only one piece of advice has really mattered came from a post on the CS Career Questions subreddit. In typical millenial fashion, OP (original poster, for you non redditors) was complaining about his struggle to find a job. He tried so hard to find that job! He had worked so hard and had gone though so many interviews. But the audience wasn’t having it. One of the elders chimes in with what I still consider to be one of the best responses to a sob story like OP’s: “You gotta hustle, son.”

Immediately, I closed my laptop and thought about that profound statement for a while. So much time wasted learning how to be great only to find that there is no trick.

Moving forward, I know that there’s a lot of stuff that I can do to improve my career and myself. This coming year, what I want to focus on is pretty simple: putting myself out there. I know that in the past I’ve been shy and just haven’t been taking as many shots in life as I should.

How will I start taking more shots? Well, I can certainly start by publishing the other blog posts that I have written and never got around to publishing because I was kinda scared about what other people would think. I have about a dozen or so blog posts that I have written over the year that have yet to see the light of day. Another thing that I can do is actually finish a damn side project for once. I am great at starting things, but I need to finish them. By the end of the year, I would really love to get an Android app on the market. If I don’t have one there by then, please write to me and tell me that I need to ship an app.

Again, besides programming, I want to focus on not holding anything back because I feel worried about it. Lots of great opportunities were missed this year that I will never get back. Oh well, you live and you learn.

Today I am proud to celebrate my 23rd birthday. Happy birthday self. Stop worrying. Things will be okay. I love you.

Here’s to another great year,


P.S. Let’s keep OP’s sexuality out of this conversation. It’s 2015!