Failure to Launch

Failure to Launch


3 min read

A few warnings. First, this entry will be touching on depression adjacent things. Second, this isn't advice, merely my reflection on my journey.

I really didn't think this would be my first blog on my coding journey. I was quite inspired by a talk I listened to by the amazing Ali Spittel about the value of blogging not just for others, but for the writer. Alas, here we are, as I stare once again at my calendar and realize that it has been over a week since I worked on my Codecademy course.

I am sure others are familiar with the feeling. The dread that slowly grows, and becomes a mental mountain of failure, staring you down with each passing day as you ask yourself why you keep putting it off. Feeling the fingers of depression trying to reach out and take hold. So how did I get here?

Burnout folks, it was burnout. Life was building up, and I needed some days off. Being well, not a wise man, but not dumb, I finally listened to my body and took a few days off work. I also made the conscious choice to not work on programming, or even really check social media for those 4 days. It was amazing, and I felt fantastic on Wednesday going back to work recharged. Then the workday ended, and the excuses started "The first day back is always rough, I'll code tomorrow." By Friday I am looking at my browser with dread, feeling behind "Oh, I should wait for the weekend, so I can really put in some hours and catch back up."

Suddenly it is Sunday afternoon and the gamification of streaks that Codecademy uses is facing me down. I can let a full week go by with no stars, or I can cheese it, as any real gamer would. You see, on Codecademy, you don't need to finish a chapter or even a lesson. No, you only need to hit run. So like a good gamer, I log in, open to my current lesson and relevant reference sheets, and do the first step so I can hit run. Ding, gold star, the week is saved. But wait, that felt pretty good and was pretty fun.

Two hours later and I have completed the lesson on objects, and worked through about half of the advanced objects lesson. That, good reader, is the lesson and takeaway, my personal hack as it were. It is the gentle reminder that coding is not the cliff of a towering mountain the height of Everest. It's a perfectly reasonable slope that I enjoy climbing, if only I would give myself five minutes to try.

Failure to launch is going to happen, but as long as the attempts outnumber them by at least one, we got this.