Author: krystallin

Chapter 31: The Road To Code

Chapter 31: The Road To Code

The past year has been a year of momentum for me. October of 2017, I hit a major life milestone. The big three-oh. Turning 30 honestly shook me harder than I anticipated. I have always been a dance-around-the-kitchen-celebrating-my-new-gray-hair type. Age has always seemed like such an arbitrary thing and life too magical to worry about the passage of another year. But when 30 years old struck, all that media-infused fear slammed smack into my unprepared mind.

No longer in my 20s, fall back plans of marrying a rich old man disappeared and, suddenly, my worth seemed lesser overnight. Now if you knew me, you’d laugh in disbelief. I’m accused weekly of being a raging feminist, and yet, all that noise about wrinkles and sags and a woman’s value being defined by her youth and beauty hit me like a fucking ton of bricks.

A personal crossroads

So here I stood. At a crossroads. To succumb to despair and spend my days trudging through the next year or to create a challenge that would remind myself that females are meant to be strong and whatever the hell else they feel like being, rather than wrinkle-free, youthful blooms. (I shudder even as I write blooms, the comparison of being a blossoming flower has haunted me since the days of puberty spent in white clapboard churches).

I chose to sign up for a half-marathon. Ambitious, since I had recently put on a few extra pounds and lost my motivation for working out somewhere between Odell Brewing and Zwei. But, if I know one thing about myself, it is that once I decide I am going to do something, I have to do it. This is particularly true if I tell more than a few people about my ambitious goal. So I quickly sent texts, posted to social media, and made sure that if I were to back out of this goal, I’d have to let myself down in front of a whole crowd of people.

And you know what? It worked. It was grueling. There were days I literally wanted to kick myself (if my weak legs had had the strength to do so). But I crossed that finish line before my 31st birthday and learned something invaluable: I always had it within me.

Ask any long distance runner and they will repeat the same thing to you “anyone can run, you just have to do it.” This is a particularly annoying sentiment when you are first starting out and one mile feels like you are crossing an ocean with weights on your legs.

In fact, it is downright insulting when you are out of shape to be told you are the only thing holding you back.

But even though it stings.

It is true.

The only thing that stands between you and a half marathon is yourself. There was a time in my life when running one single mile was an impossibility. The thing is, you don’t go from running one mile to 13.1 overnight. You slowly and painfully build the miles on with each passing week. But you can only do so if you stick with it and commit to a rigorous training plan and a change in lifestyle. You don’t get there by hitting snooze, skipping workouts, or eating piles of junk food. You get there one painstaking run at a time and, many days, those runs won’t feel any easier than the day you started.

While the journey to reaching my half-marathon could be a novel in and of itself, the bottom line is that crossing that finish line changed something in my mind.

What running and coding have in common

Which leads me to my next chapter. Before I turn 32, I want to learn how to code. Now, this is a massive undertaking and “learning to code” is a fairly ambiguous goal as there are countless languages to code in and a wide variance in skill levels. So to be specific, I’d like to get as far as humanly possible, while still being gainfully employed through The Odin Project. My goal is to finish this project and determine if coding is my future.

One of the first exercises The Odin Project (TOP) asks you to do (right after they warn you that this is about to be the hardest and worst journey of your life) is to think about the why behind what you are about to do.

I recently read a book called “Unfu*k Yourself: Get Out of Your Head and into Your Life” by Gary John Bishop (which I highly recommend) and this “why” question is a vital exercise in determining what goals are actually worth keeping on our radar and which ones are completely bogus. For me, this has been a revolutionary activity, leading me to throw away many arbitrary goals and to strengthen my resolve for achieving those of value.

So without further ado…

I want to learn to code for the following reasons:

  1. I loved it as a kid and wanted to learn more but I let my dream die for two reasons. One, I didn’t think I was smart enough and, two, I didn’t think that it was a path girls followed.
  2. I already love the work I do in the world wide web, but I’d like to hone a deeper skill set than my current vocation in SEO.
  3. I love learning languages and want to grow my mental capacity for reasoning.
  4. I think it’s cool. 😉

My end goal:
To develop a set of skills that allows me to be a web developer. (TBD if that is front end, back end, or full-stack)

This blog entry serves as the beginning of something new. The beginning of exploring something that I once told myself I couldn’t for reasons that were simply untrue. It will be hard. It will probably make me want to destroy all computers for eternity. But I can do it.

One line of code at a time.

After all, the coding was always within me.


P.s. Don’t judge this website yet. It is going to be a portion of my project. What better way to learn than to customize my own website? 🙂 Stay Tuned.