2 years ago for day 79, 2019 with 484 words.

Ambition, being content, and other thoughts

I'm stuck in a loop at the moment about never being happy with the things I'm working on, have done, and so on. I've been thinking a bunch about ambition–or maybe a ridiculous idea of how you want something to be better–and how much of a burden it can be.

Shipping something is really satisfying. The moment of euphoria that comes after is great, but short-lived. I live for it, and the moment I'm there, it's gone, replaced by the dread it won't be adequate–it isn't adequate–to my own standards. I always wish I could just be happy with where it is, and stop comparing it to what other people are doing; from the outside it's always slaying it but what you don't see is the other side of that: frustration, long nights, and so on.

Some days, like the last few, I wish I could be content not caring about making things, experimenting, or whatever. I know this is a weird thing to remark, but many folks are perfectly happy blobbing out and turning off after work. Instead, I'm scheming the next idea, experimenting, or worrying about what's next. The curse of ambition is it's never enough, and enough never arrives. I love tinkering and figuring things out, and am not really saying I wish it would go away so much as I wish there was an off switch for that nagging in the back of a millennial mind: hustle or you'll miss out.

It's interesting, particularly because I wasn't always this way. I don't know exactly what changed, but I recall it coinciding with leaving the religion I'd followed since being a child. Suddenly time felt finite, limited, and gushing away—so if I was to make something of myself, it would be on my own accord rather than summoned by a deity. But, I also just think you're either the kind of person who realizes they can't sit still without something to be dreaming about next, and turning off simply isn't an option.

The outdoors is my escape from all of that, but unfortunately where I live right now, it's not that accessible. I rabbithole, tinkering, tweaking, and trying to decide what's good enough to just release. One of my ideas, a little newsletter and community monetization tool I've been noodling on for a year, is one of those projects. Perpetually inadequate, and stuck in a cycle of 'maybe when I just...'

I think, having written all of this down, I just want to resolve to ship more 'shit' regardless of the state. Bad or good, shipped is better than non-existent. And if we don't ship shit, how will others understand that everything doesn't need to be pixel perfect on day one? The bar seems so high, until you realize where everyone else came from, which, almost always, was pretty shitty.

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By Owen

I made this! I'm a cloud-scale infrastructure engineer 🚀 turned writer. I like to make products that help humans!

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