The Pursuit of Happiness at 37,000 Ft.
What I learned from 2013.
For as long as I can remember, I've dealt with imposter syndrome. The feeling that no matter how much Ive accomplished, Im still just a fraud trying to fool everyone. Just waiting to be found out. Even in high school, no matter the amount of A’s or accommodations I received, I never felt like I earned any of them. As if they should have gone to someone else who actually earned or deserve them, because my work was never good enough.
On the other hand, as stressful as it’s always been, it’s kept me driven to constantly be better. So much so, that that determination can often spill over into other aspects of my life, like causing me to neglect friends and family.
That said, I’ve been lucky this last year. Like, really lucky. I’ve somehow convinced a bunch of people that I seemingly have enough talent and insight that they want me to work for them, and even help me facilitate all the time zone switching I’ve been doing. I get to participate in Hackathons in Boston. Work in San Francisco. Photo shoots in Seattle. Doing PAX, E3, GDC all in one year. A Renaissance Faire in Wisconsin. Beers in a Denver airport bar with some awesome people. Never in my life had I imagined I’d have these experiences.
At the same time, it gets really lonely in an alienating way. It’s to the point where I'm hanging out with random friends in Albuquerque or a coffee shop in Seattle more than I do with the people I grew up and went to school with. And now when I do see them, I feel like a stranger. I’ll sit there on the couch as the rest of them talk about their wedding, and kids and…thats about it. We talk about games and nerd stuff too, but it’s different now. Their passions have taken a backseat to family life, and it makes me realize how much of their lives I've missed out on, and how distant we’ve become.
But, I'm not really trying to complain. This really is the kind of life I wanted, and 2013 will go down as one of the best (albeit, strangest) years of my life. I understand it’s natural to just outgrow some people as we grow. While I'm no longer close to some people as I used to be, I've developed stronger bonds with others I never would have expected. Even though I may not see them often, I’ve managed to cultivate an incredibly caring and supportive group of people across the world. People that continue to push and encourage me, rather than tear me down or criticize. They give me a purpose to keep going forward.
This also doesn’t mean 2014 can't be just as good, if not better. There’s still so many areas of improvement, so many places I haven't been and things I have not yet experienced. Until then, I'll just continue to bang my drum.
Originally written December 2013