January 04, 2019
I have 52 weeks until I’m 30 years old.
By the time my own father and grandfather were 30, they were married, had kids, and created promising businesses in Vienna, MO. They had something to live for. Something to work hard for. A beacon to paddle towards and a will to stay afloat.
By the time I got to this age, 29, I thought my beacon, wherever it be, would be obvious to me, but it’s not. Maybe I missed the boat. Or maybe I got lost in the waves of existential drift. Whatever the reason, it simply isn’t there.
And it’s exhausting to still be asking myself at 29 — Who do I want to be? Where do I want to live? Or wondering — will I ever be able to make anything significant? Will I ever write a song that I like to play more than a Dave Matthews tune? Or compose a piece of music that moves me more than a piece off the Gladiator soundtrack? Or write an app that changes how people interact with music or each other?
I don’t have those answers to these questions. In 10, 20, or 52 years I don’t even know if I’ll have those answers, and frankly that terrifies me.
I’ve always kept about 80% of my head space on the future and 20% in the past, leaving no time for the present. If I go to see an orchestra play Brahms, my mind races with energy thinking about how a Neural Network might produce Vaporwave. If I’m fixing a bug on a website at work, I’m distracted by how a new technology is going to solve a related architectural problem 2 years from now. If I’m on a first date, I’m already imagining what it would be like to grow old with that person.
While I usually treasure this tendency, it can have harmful effects. For example, when certain physical pains don’t immediately go away, I’m already wondering if I have to deal with it the rest of my life or if it is even worth living at all. Eventually it’s always resolved more or less and I find that the amount of emotional energy invested in the worry was not worth it at all.
I’m always going to be focused on the future; I don’t want to change that. But I’d like to minimize my focus on things like those nebulous questions and concerns that either terrify or worry me to no productive end.
And I think I can manage that by focusing on a more immediate future (i.e. the next 52 weeks) instead of habitually elevating my ideas and emotions to the scope of my entire human life.
For 52 weeks, I’m going to focus on not only what I can do now but on who I am now.
I’m a 29 year old software developer at Carfax and musician/composer who lives in Columbia, MO and is driven to make silly small projects related to software and music. And for once in my life I want to feel completely okay with that.
Here’s all the things I want to do in these next 52 weeks.
If I add these things to my existing duties at Carfax, driving from place to place, eating, sleeping, spending a little time with family and friends here and there, it comes out to 168 hours a week. Packed. Compared to my usual routine this past year, I want to spend more time coding, but also spend a lot time on the other two major things I’m drawn towards -> music and interviewing people.
The biggest priority I have in my life currently is to take the ideas and dreams that I have and make them happen in this reality. So far the products of my imagination haven’t been inherently good enough or executed well enough as to inform my future.
And it’s unclear if I’m even on a path to one day making myself completely fulfilled with the things I create.
Luckily, I’m still stubborn and hopeful that I’ll be able find that path… that beacon. And I believe it will surface from the work that I do.
So the next 52 weeks for me will be about doing the work that I love but at an unprecedented scale. While I’m still young-ish and have the energy to go all out with these work goals, I want to. In other words, a cliché with a twist: while I still have the will, I’m going to go all out to find the way.
Written by Joseph Weidinger.