Looking back at looking forward
Do you remember being a kid and having the future all mapped out? Dang it was simple back then. Stupid life.
When I was a kid I lacked an imagination. I saw the world very matter-of-factly and didn't enjoy playing doctor or house or cops and robbers because it wasn't real. Thank goodness for video games. They managed to bridge the gap between reality and my buried imagination. Otherwise Encoded would've never happened. Gasp!
But that doesn't mean I never had dreams or aspirations. I remember thinking the one and only career for me was programming video games. I took a class through the local community college and toured Digipen and everything. But wouldn't you know? Freaking money. What a pain.
Then there was graphic arts in high school. Loved that class. My teacher made industrial design sound so glamorous and epic. Unfortunately I had a strong fascination with psychology at the time. When I moved north to attend Western Washington University, I was so set on being a psych major. Guess what! That didn't happen either.
After several quarters and more money than I care to admit I still owe, turns out I'm really bad at psychology. Barely scraping by with passing grades is not the guy you want psychoanalyzing your family to help them tackle their own minds. So a big nope on that. So it was time to fall back to industrial design. That was the biggest nope of them all. Definitely not for me.
And the floundering began. From unwavering certainty to belligerent indifference. I'm going to say those words go together.
Ultimately it's been a long road of uncertainty from there. I just started doing whatever worked in the moment. I don't suggest it. When you just "get by" it's awful. You can basically feel your dreams dying while you work yourself into insanity.
And it was that insanity that challenged me to do better. I was travelling for my current job. I thought promoting to management was the path for me. It's the path everyone tells you to take so you can make all the money and buy all the things and have all the stuff so you can look down at everyone who didn't make all the money and pretend like you've won a make believe contest that ultimately was far more awful than the reward.
When you're that miserable you get to make a choice. You get to make it any time you want, any day you want as many times as you want. I kept choosing to go along with it for a long time. Choosing to drudge through my frustrated misery and pretend I was making it. I was being awesome at life. And it sucked soooooooo much. Like maximum suckage.
Finally I made the other choice. To be crazy. To pursue nonsense and chase dreams. I bought a 2 liter of coke zero and a carton of whoppers, headed back to my hotel room turned home, logged into my laptop and sat down indefinitely. And then I wrote. I wrote and wrote and wrote some more. My ideas had been bubbling up in my head for years and I had continued to deny them with everyting I had in the pursuit of the "sure thing". But finally they were free and they screamed their way through my fingertips into the keys, joining together to say all the things I had been too lazy and too tired to say.
And it was amazing.