This is a post I've been wanting to write since I started this blog, so buckle your seatbelts, it's a doozy.
I'm a Software Engineer by trade. I never completed college(or even got close). In fact, I've never had a computer class in my life. I learned at a young age that traditional schooling just wasn't for me. I'd spend all of my free time teaching myself things at home, or outright skipping school and hitting the library for the day where I'd read things from art theory all the way to classical mechanics. At the time I wanted to be an artist. I found myself doodling in class constantly, and the tests I turned in were covered with my artwork. Some of my teachers loved that, but most didn't. I was indifferent.
At the time I had an account on an online art community: sheezyart.com. SArt was an awesome place at the time, and had a great, thriving community of amateur animators. Everyone was very supportive of each other, and it was a great environment to improve yourself. Though, sometime in 2008 things started to noticeably go downhill. The moderatorship became corrupt, and because it wasn't a commercial venture, the owner had no real incintive to fix things. In fact, he'd all but left the community entirely, letting the leftover moderators battle amongst themselves. Bugs accumulated in the codebase, really good users were banned for ludicrous reasons, and the community started to fall apart.
When I was fourteen I was enamored with two things: animation and building an animation community. I browsed the Newgrounds programming board constantly, sapping up as much good information as I could. I wanted to make the next newgrounds.com. Little did I know, this teenage fascination would turn out to be the most important thing I could've done with my life at that time.
When I bought a house ten years ago, I also bought place settings for six and silverware for twelve. Then I developed a minor fascination with bone China and bought settings for eight. I probably had four dozen glasses. About once a month or so, all of these dishes would be piled up in and around my sink, begging to be cleaned. I didn't have a lot of dinner parties-- I just hated doing dishes so much that I'd procrastinate until washing became a full day event. Those days were some of my least favorite.
A few days ago, I was doing the dishes for the six of us that ate dinner. There were pots, pans, plates, serving utensils, and glasses. The works. For the first time ever, I found myself enjoying doing the dishes. I could appreciate the warm water on my hands and the shine in the pot when it was clean. When I washed everything that wasn't dishwasher safe, I started handwashing the things that could have just gone in the dishwasher. It wasn't fun exactly, but it was so enjoyable that I actually found myself looking forward to washing the dishes the next day.
Work has become the same way. I don't love all aspects of it equally, but when I wake up and know I have a tough day ahead of me, I feel great. Pant of it is that I know the day will end with a nice chunk of progress made, but most of it is the actual act of working. I love it. I can't wait to face off with a bug that's been bothering me for weeks, trace it through all of our code, and fix it. It's relaxing, like an internal Swedish massage.
My friend Constance wrote me an email today. She was talking about me with her sister and some friends, describing my hyperfocus on work, learning, and other productive things. An excerpt from her email: