Battling the demon of unrealized potential

I’ve had notes for this post for over two weeks now. I just haven’t made time for writing in here, other than that reactionary post the other day about feeling the need to place value on my education and experience. I only happen to be writing in here now because I have a little bit of time. I may actually get to sleep before 1AM tonight. It hasn’t been abnormal for me to be working on a homework project until 2 or 3 or 4AM…or all night, as I did the Sunday night before last. I am consumed by my Iron Yard work, and apart from the real need to look after my health, this is not a bad thing. But it has been stressful. I work this hard, not because The Iron Yard forces me to, but because my future is riding on this, on my ability to tap into and realize my potential as a creative and analytical thinker.

A couple of weeks ago, I began writing about how I had been feeling that I was learning well for the first time in a very long time. I had such positive feelings regarding what I was doing, this career overhaul, this pursuit of knowledge and growth in an area I have real passion for. But then the self-doubt began to dominate. I had listened to a speaker recollect how he had started programming in BASIC as a kid and just kept moving forward from there to conquering the world. I thought about how I had done that (Well, the first part of that.) I had programmed in BASIC as a kid. I kept going. I coded in college. I learned HTML 20 years ago in college. I built my own websites. I did a little here, a little there. But, essentially, I stopped. And thinking of this can bring me to the verge of crumblign. In a parallel universe, I could be the guy speaking to coding academy students about how far a passion for coding could take you. But I’m not. I’m 38 years old, and all I can do is move forward with whatever my brain can do now. I have no choice but to do this, but I don’t know how to avoid being overwhelmed by past failures and self-perceptions of inadequacies.

A week ago, I was hearing the phrase “only been doing this for four weeks” bandied about, with regard to the high caliber of work that my class is doing despite the very limited experience of many. But rather than soak up the praise, I was lost in my own personal equation “four weeks + twenty years”. Everyone comes from different backgrounds, but I’ve been trying to make a go of this for two decades. I didn’t just learn HTML four weeks ago. I learned in back in 1995. And kept up for a few years, and then fell very far behind. So when I start to feel lost, that perhaps I’m falling behind, and I’m spending hours troubleshooting unsuccessfully, and I’m jumping down rabbit holes in search of solutions, I get pretty demoralized. I often feel as if I have some nebulous block to realizing my potential. This block numbs me. It nauseates me. It consumes me.

I didn’t want to write about these feeling while I was too deeply entrenched in them. I’ve muddled through them and think I’m at a better place now. There’s some self-censoring at work here. I don’t want my own struggles to reflect badly on The Iron Yard. Also, for better or for worse, I now blog under my own name. Presumably, I’ll have a main website fairly soon that merely links to this blog, rather than being defined by this blog, so there will be a small buffer between the guy who is trying to impress others and the guy who admits to battling the demon of unrealized potential.

Anyway… I want to write about the game I made, but not right now, because I’m about to fall asleep. Before 1 AM. Go, me.

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