I honestly keep having to triple-check what year it is, because I'd swear I'm only late-twenty-something, but..... nope, the big three-oh. Three decades safely out of the way.
For the most part, I don't think I'm as upset as most people stereotypically are about this milestone -- for most of my life, I've only wanted to be older, and it's still largely true...! Every year of my life I've come more and more into my own, and while I'm starting to be happy with where I am, there's definitely still a ways to go.... My body is starting to not be as resilient as it once was (I never would have described it as such in the past, but it's even less so now!), but it's still at the point where I can feel good if I take care of it (be conscientious with food, eating, stress...) I definitely need to find time to do more exercising, but, well, that ties into my next point.
The only part of this milestone that I'm not happy about is where I stand on a sense of accomplishment! I thought I would be further on the road to proving myself and having some kind of freedom to pursue interesting projects by now.... but work has sucked up more and more of my time, and more importantly, energy. My projects are actually better than ever -- as I get better at managing my anxiety, I'm actually becoming a better and better programmer and problem solver, I can feel myself comfortably grasping problems that used to panic me... and I'm actually better than ever at plugging away at things without panicking and jumping ship for something impossibly ambitious, as I used to do... :P But regardless, even simple projects just take such an absurd amount of time, when I'm squeezing them into weekends, while also trying to relax from the week, and catch up on chores, and (at least intending to) do something outside the home now and then... And the job that I'm giving up this time for is becoming consistently less and less satisfying -- I've gone to a position of being made to constantly play catch-up on fixing a half-dozen outsourced projects, and even when I DO occasionally have a project I directly control, I have so little time left for it that I'm made to rush it out half-finished just to be able to get home not too late...
Honestly, I can't complain too much -- the pay is pretty good, it's still a reasonably good opportunity to learn skills on the job (though less and less with every passing month)... the overtime isn't as bad as it used to be, and they're pretty accommodating of my quirks. In today's economy, it's a hard deal to say no to.
But honestly, I'm a good programmer -- a creative programmer -- I know I could be making money other ways..... I'm still young, single, I've got like no expenses, and a year's salary sitting in my bank account (ON TOP of what I've paid into my retirement, and paid off on my home). Other than potentially getting my home completely paid off in a few more years, I'm never going to be in a better position to take chances business-wise.... I've got a reasonably-solid bread-and-butter plan (sell games to advertisers, which there's always a market for), and a huge glut of secondary plans that I'm dying to discover the feasibility of (or at least say that I've done, even if there's no money in it)....
Gah, I'm sorry, this turned into a big rant about my job :) But, it's kind of the lynchpin of everything, from what I can see! All of the ways that I want to improve my life (more exercise, more time with friends, more creative expression) require more free time -- or at least more-FLEXIBLE free time! Part of me is worried that I'm just looking for excuses not to improve my life until some future goal is taken care of -- something I know I've been guilty of in the past -- but the only reliable free time I have lately is on weekends, and there's just too much to squeeze it all in... If I had a work-from-home schedule that I could determine myself, I could get up, do some work, go out for a walk/jog, do some work, get some chores done, and relax in the evenings... (This all comes down to how many hours of work a week it would take to make a living, of course...)
Anyway! The more I read from people on twitter and tumblr, the more I realise that life is too short and too valuable to settle without even taking a stab at making a name for yourself.... I don't want to be famous, just to have the freedom to be creative, get some ideas out.... and this job is getting less and less worth holding onto. (Besides the fact that it's my FIRST JOB -- even if I were to come back to office work, I don't even know what the rest of the market would be like...! I mean, I've heard horror stories about programming jobs, but... this is a reasonably good city for this kind of work, there must be other places that wouldn't torment their workers...)
Anyway, yeah! I guess this really is mostly about work :) My body's got some wear and tear but it's manageable.... my anxiety still causes me stress, but it's leagues better than it's ever been.... my identity is starting to take shape, though I'm still shy about showing it.... with a streak of gray in my hair and some fashionable glasses, I'm prettier than I've ever been.<3 The only thing bothering me is, I've probably got all kinds of opportunities to make my life more my own (instead of it having to mostly be my employers'), and I just need the time, and the nerve, to go through with it! I've only got a limited number of decades to turn these spinny thoughts into something concrete that people can play with, and anything left at the end just vanishes, never being seen... so there's no good reason that should keep me from spending my time doing that!
I'm sorry, I'm repeating myself. :) It's just been... so frustrating, and so scary. I want to move forward with this, but am paralysed by time, and the fear of telling my boss that I want to leave..... the sane money is on testing the water BEFORE quitting... so I'm holding my tongue, even though I would SO like to just get away from that chaotic mess of bureaucratic shortsightedness. So the whole thing has me a little pent-up.... I have so many daydreams that end in telling them I'm leaving. Ah well. Maybe if I were working on a game instead of writing this post... ;)
Anyway! I'm a thirty-something! Whoa. :) I've got more possibilities in front of me now than I ever thought I'd have -- but yet less to my name than I expected.... hopefully this will be the decade where that changes? ;)
Thank you everyone for putting up with me all these years -- hopefully there will be some return on your investment soon. ;)