These end of year posts are weird to write. I’m trying to reflect on the past year, but then I look back on the past decade and think about all the pivotal moments. Sure—this year was special, but I don’t think it compares to the risks I took in the past 10 years. If I were to show my 10-years-ago-self what current-self is up to these days, I think she would be proud and even relieved that things turned out okay.
The thing about reflecting on decisions and behavior over the course of a decade is that patterns emerge. You remember how you acted or reacted, but also how you felt. I don’t know why it’s taken me 10 years to figure this out, but the single common thread that has dragged me down again and again is my self doubt. The most rewarding moments have been those that I ignored my perception of myself, followed my instincts, and blindly jumped into something new.
I don’t talk or think about this much anymore, but I decided to move to New York City from Miami and attend a coding bootcamp in 2013. I already knew how to code, but not enough to get myself a job that wasn’t formatting emails or editing layouts for WordPress. It was 6 years ago today (or yesterday?) that I made the decision to apply. Strangely, at the time I thought it was too late to go down another career path, but I went for it anyways. I can still remember my application and interview. To quit my job and move to New York was a huge risk for a “coding school” (I use quotes because there was no market for these yet). I finished up in July of 2014 and had a job by August — this is still the best decision I have ever made. Even though it was a stressful time, I would do it again (maybe with a class package for a yoga or meditation studio). It was a huge risk, but it paid off.
I’ve since “just gone for it” with other things too: jobs I want, promotions, public speaking opportunities, enrolling in grad school, etc. These wins roll up into my long-term goals, but they are time and energy investments too. Tech talks don’t write themselves, lead engineers don’t just walk in the door, and graduate school is a long, time-consuming form of torture (not really, but really) that happens to open your mind up. The same way an Instagram post shows the glamorous parts of a vacation but ironically excludes the cab rides to the airport and terrible weather, people only…