Stumbling Forward

Posted on November 14, 2016 in personal

It's been a little over two months since I left my day job to persue my dreams of working for myself.

When I originally left, I didn't have a clue of what I wanted to do. I knew I had passion for developing and building products people love, so I started a company that builds products in hopes of helping others realize the full potential of their ideas.

Since then, I've been doing a lot of different projects that have expanded my experience to much more than just programming. In the last two months I've:

  • Started three different video game prototypes, two using Phaser and one using Unity.
  • Composed two songs on the piano (originally created as music for the video games.)
  • Started writing a web series on algorithms.
  • Built an automated application deployment pipeline for GitLab using Ansible (currently in use for all my sites.)
  • Built a social-network/dating application from scratch using Node.js, Neo4j, and React Native.

Despite progress, these two months have been really, really hard for me emotionally.

It's been hard because I'm impatient. It's been hard because despite having a financial plan for the worst-case scenario, I never thought I'd be still be stumbling around trying to make a small income. It's been hard because I'm no longer exposed to the everyday conversations I used to have in the office. It's been hard because now more than ever, imposter syndrome has crept it's way into my thoughts, leaving me discouraged that I'm any good at all. It's been hard because there's a very real fear that failure is possible and I might not land on my feet. It's been hard to wake up some days. It's been hard to finish ideas other days. Overall, progress has been good but there's little to show and that's been hard to explain to no one other than myself.

I've been told countless times, "please take time for yourself." I've since then given myself a day each week to unplug, but it feels incredibly counter-productive. It's not like me to stop working. I enjoy working but maybe my friends and family are right and I've burnt myself out too quickly.

Essentially, I've been stumbling; but I've been stumbling forward and that gives me hope.

There's no advice to be found here, just a self-reflection of these incredibly uncertain two months. I've learned a lot and I'll always push myself to learn more. So long as I'm moving forward, I should be happy. Whether I'm crawling, sprinting, or stumbling, as long as I'm moving forward I know this journey is far from over.

Thomas Lackemann :)


Tom is the founder of Astral TableTop. He's a homebrewer, hiker, and has an about page. Follow @tlackemann on Twitter for more discussions like this.