The Happy Path

The happy path is a term that I was introduced to through software testing. Basically it is the ideal way to use a software feature and it works as intended.

I feel like I have lived most of my life on the happy path – choosing the easy, less resistant path to pursue or the path that someone else believed that I could do. Now I’m beginning to realize that this arrangement just doesn’t work for me anymore but finding my own path is hard and means I have to face my ‘why’ even if it isn’t pretty.

But it’s something that I know I want to do. I love blogging. I love typing and putting my words into a format that I know others can see. But the happy path holds me back from doing it more. I get caught up in this vicious cycle of ‘what does it all mean’ and ‘what do you really get from this?’ plus countless other questions that my mind ponders instead of just blogging.

There’s nothing more than I want than to make it own my own. Be independent and earn my own money not depending on employment. Blogging is one of those paths that I would love to follow but I’m scared. I’m scared of not making it. It isn’t the happy path. It’s work. It’s frustration. It’s being at the mercy of search engines and many other factors.

I have to stop letting fear win the day. It might be a tougher path but it’s the journey that really matters. I will probably fail a lot but because of failure can come growth.

Soul searching is draining but I believe it will be worth. I will be better for my family and also myself.

Happy Birthday to ME!

On this my 40th(ish) birthday, I find myself pondering the questions I seem to ask myself a lot – just what do I want to do with my life?

I thought being an adult would mean that I would have this all figured out – but alas – no, I do not. I’m getting to the age that I want to contribute something ‘meaningful’, just not sure what that is.

Right now I am at weird place in my life in that I’m happy with my career but long for something else. I just can’t decide what that is. Or do I really want something else and just not allowing myself to be completely satisfied with how things are going? These are the thoughts that occupy my brain way too often.

But birthdays are good time to reflect on your life. I do feel overall good about where we are at. So I just need to resolve to be happy with where I’m at until I figure out what is my next adventure.

One contender for that is game development. I really like games but I have so much to learn. I love learning but it’s hard. I mean I do tutorials but then I do something wrong and then it takes me 1 hour to do a 15 minute tutorial. It’s disheartening. So I try to remind myself that it is all part of the process and to stick with those tutorials because you will get better and faster. It’s just always hard at the beginning stages of learning something new.

I’m also doing more with my webcomic! So that is nice and pretty rewarding. I am not sure how long I will do it but for right now it’s enjoyable and gives me a reason to practice art.

And I hope to post more updates here as I really enjoy getting these thoughts out.

Happiness

Today I resolve to do what makes me happy. I’ve been struggling to do anything lately. It’s such a horrible feeling wanting to do things but at the same time having no interest to do any of it.

So I resolve to start doing something every day that I enjoy. I do enjoy blogging. What I don’t enjoy about blogging is when I put pressure on it like thinking about building an audience or even making money with it. Then it becomes stressful and not enjoyable.

Today I just want to write. Maybe tomorrow I will write more. I hope so.

What am I doing with my life?

My big goal for 2018 is to decide what I want to be when I grow up..if I ever grow up because I’ve been adult for many, many years. Even decades. But I still feel like I’m not doing what I should be doing.

I have a lot of interest so I make goals for each one only to lose interest or decide somewhere along the way that this isn’t what I really want. This year I’m spending really taking a look at those interest and making some long-term goals. Which interests align best with those goals are the ones I plan to really pursue. I may still dabble in all of them but there has to be something that has more weight than something else. Also once this order is decided, I need to write up why so I can remind myself if I start to lose focus.

Right now (mid-May) I know writing makes me the happiest. Blogging makes me happy. The rest of my interest can support this as it offers a lot of topics to write about.

Putting blogging first is almost like coming home. It does feel right.

February almost gone?

February is a short month – the shortest month in fact. And next week it will be over. 2 months of 2018 will be in the books. What have I done with the new year?

Well slowly I am figuring out what I want to do with my life. It’s been a journey of finding what I don’t want to do with my life for sure. I’m getting closer to accepting what I really want to do. That may sound strange to say I have to accept what it is I know I want to do, but let me explain.

Let me take you on a journey..

My first career was in television, and I loved it. It was a definitely a career I had a lot of passion for. I was a news producer, and it felt good to know each day that I helped to inform the public on news and events. The trade-off to having a career that I loved was that it was financially challenging. Also growth in the field meant moving to larger markets (i.e larger cities) which was something that as I got older just didn’t appeal to me. I didn’t want to have to uproot my whole family for a job opportunity every 2-3 years.

So I went back to school and got another degree. This one in computer networking. My classes were diverse, so I learned a little about a lot of different areas.

After graduating, I got a tech support job. After that I got another computer support and so forth and so forth. I’ve been in the tech field now for 18 years. This is more than double the number of years I was in broadcasting.

A Turning Point

Now I find myself wanting to art more. I have always wanted to do a web comic. I would think of the words and then my husband could draw it. After waiting for years for him to come around to this idea, I decided I would just learn to draw. This has been my journey for the past couple of years. When I am drawing, there is no other feeling like it. I love creating. So I have some web comics out there and hope to do a lot more.

Drawing has opened up more creative paths in me. I’d love to get into graphic design. Graphic design is visual communication and seems to be the other side of the coin to my written communication skills.

So why is it so hard just to drop the tech stuff and go for it? I’m reading the War of Art by Steven Pressfield. In the book he talks about this resistance when it comes to creating art for a living. This totally resonates with me. There’s a part of me that just wants to create and put it out there. When it becomes something that I make my living at, the art is not as fun or has a larger purpose. Maybe I’m just not ready to give my art that much importance. If art and I were dating, then we would still be pre-first date and just flirting.

So what was I talking about anyway?

So back on topic, right now I want to stay connected with the tech field. Plus I want to blog more. How do these two items come together? Where I am writing this post? That’s right. WordPress! I am learning everything I can about WordPress. Template creation, plugin creation and maybe even contribute to the actual WordPress software are my goals.

I have used WordPress for ten years, and usually what I do is just write my blog posts, maybe add a page here and there, and change my theme once in a blue moon. This past week I have been watching a class on SkillShare about WordPress and have I learned a lot. WordPress is really something with so much capability. I’m in awe and I’ve used it forever. This really has me excited to further dive into my websites.

The Immediate Future

There are four areas I want to focus on for March: drawing, writing, blogging, and security. Security is mostly related to my current job. Blogging encompasses learning more WordPress and updating my websites. Writing is prep work for Camp Nano in April. Drawing is my daily art practice. I should break down each goal into a separate post for better accountability come April.

February goals

For February, I have completed some goals but others I will not make. The ones that I don’t make I plan to evaluate to see if it is a goal I want to move to March or to let it completely fall off the radar. I will talk more about the details at the end of the month. I still have three days! It might be possible to complete another goal or two. As it stands now I am happy with my goal progress and am pretty proud of what I’ve done this month.

Birthday Resolutions

Yesterday was my birthday, and today I was thinking back to the year that was. How did I grow as a human? What goals have I accomplished this past year? I realize that New Year’s Day isn’t the only time of the year that we reflect and make habitual changes.

Having a birthday in February, I already know which resolutions I have abandoned. Since it is so fresh on my mind, I also have a pretty good idea as to what happened. My birthday offers a great occasion to course correct and try to do better.

One of my goals for 2018 is to lose weight and be healthier. I am getting to an age where I just can’t ignore a small pain or another annoyance that if I was in my twenties wouldn’t have even thought about. I have done nothing to push this goal forward. My biggest obstacle – other than not wanting to do it – is exercise. It is really cold outside. I’m trying to push through more of it. I mean as I move I get warmer. Eating is just a matter of counting calories. Even though I hate that, too. But at least it leads to results.

There’s also those pesky blogging goals. I really do enjoy blogging and want to do more. Why is it so hard to do things we love? I think my biggest problem is that I want to do everything at once. I just need to remember to give myself time to do it all. Have small goals and do what I can. Then readjust my goals. There is no need to get frustrated when I can’t reach a goal if it is unrealistic.

So that is my plan for the rest of February. Evaluate where I’m at and move forward to a better me.

The end of my software development career

I’m not sure the title is totally accurate since my career never took off so to speak. But what it did was take up a lot of my time.

While I do know some programming and have been on a couple of projects as a developer, I am still just a hack when it comes to it. That is not the reason I am calling it quits though on this journey that started 18 years ago.

It started when I was in college. I had taken a visual basic programming class and was in love with programming. I wanted to change my major but opted not to since most of the development model at this school was geared to business reporting languages – something that didn’t interest me.

So I spent the next few years learning a little bit about coding but it just never clicked for me. Through my current job I was able to attend a Java boot camp and finally learned a lot of programming. Then I was on a couple of short term projects. When the last project ended there wasn’t a development role for me, so I had to choose another type of work.

Since then I have tried to learn more about coding. I have several ideas but just cannot seem to make anything happen. If I am honest with myself, I just don’t enjoy it but feel that I must continue because..well I’m not sure why but it just seems like the thing to do.

I am realizing that this holding onto this dream that is not my dream anymore is getting in the way of my current dreams. I have to let it go. It’s time.

Live Your Dream Now

Ever heard of morning pages? The idea is to write three pages in the morning of your thoughts, etc so that you get that out of your head and make room for other things the day may bring.

This have been very helpful because I wake up with so many awesome ideas that by 10am I have convinced myself I will actually do them. I never do. It’s only in the morning window where I am full of ideas that I care about doing it. So not all ideas are meant to be carried out. That is hard for me as I am a hoarder of ideas. But sometimes you have to let go and make room for an idea that is a better fit for you.

My big goal for 2018 is to work from home. While I enjoy my office job, it drains my soul. I just need more from everyday life. Working in an office is not meeting my needs. So I have to decide what makes sense for me to do from home. This is really hard because so many options seem pleasing. I know I want something I have some control over. This is why I’m leaning toward online sales like ebay, maybe Etsy, and possibly some other ventures. There are a few t-shirt ideas we have so maybe pursuing that some way.

Circling back to the morning pages, I wrote something today that I’m going to make my mantra, “Live your dream now.” So many times I think my dream will happen in the future but I can make it happen today. I just need to do those things that bring me joy like blogging and stop planning so much. More action for sure. It’s time to get out of my own head and stop worrying so much. Take action and live my dream. Everything else will fall into place.

How often can you blog and still be called a blogger?

Asking for a friend. Wow. It’s been a while since I blogged. I miss it though. It seems the harder I try to blog the harder it is. Why is that? I mean it should be easy. I have something to say and I have a blog. So just sit down and write. It’s the little things that can be the most difficult.

Another January and another round of resolutions. Although I have to admit that this year I am doing what I did last year. I don’t have a resolution as much as a mantra. Last year it was “no excuses” and I challenged myself to not put off tomorrow what I can do today. This year the mantra is “no fear.” Take those risks. Do that web comic. Make that video game. Why are you waiting? Fear of failure? Well I fail for not even trying. The challenge for me is to concentrate on one thing at a time. I want to do it all at the same time which is impossible.

One thing I do want to do is blog more. I want to regularly blog but part of me revolts against schedules. She can be really hard to live with sometimes. I’ll have to start out small and go from there. It is nice just to hear the keys clicking again. It’s like music to my ears.

So for 2018 look for more updates on this blog. I promise the next one will be sooner than six months.

Writing Burnout

I used to blog a lot. My motivation was simple: make money blogging. I did so many paid posts it isn’t funny. But that money was just what we needed as I was staying at home with my daughter. Losing that second income hurt..a lot.

Thanks to better job opportunities and returning to work after my daughter started school, we are financially sound for the first time in our lives. It’s kind of a weird feeling but one I could get used to. Since I have stopped paid blogging, I find I have trouble blogging or writing in general. I suffered burnout at the end of my paid blogging career. I thought once I took a break from writing that the burnout would fade. Now I’m wondering if it ever will.

It doesn’t just affect blog posts either. Anything that has to do with the written word gives me fits. I took up Java coding and find it very had to stay focused as it is basically writing and thinking about what to write. I miss writing. I want to write but cannot keep myself focused.

One thing that used to help when I had writer’s block was to change up where I was writing. That little trick now is not as effective. Part of me just says buck up and write. It will get easier. There is a part of me that doesn’t believe that. I will forever struggle with writing.

One thing I plan on trying is writing down what I love about writing when I’m in the head space to think about that sort of thing. Then post it where I see it every day. It’s time I remind myself just what I really love doing and why. Then just do it.