Ah yes. The 44th birthday. This is my new year, the anniversary of my birth, the marker of time when I am forced to recognize the passage of time in relation to how I have lived. For me it is a time of reflection and motivation. Certainly I am not where I expected to be, not living the life I dreamed of many birthdays ago, but I am here. Ready to take the reins and steer this trundling wagon toward a new horizon.
I am celebrating as I have for the past half-decade by assessing my life, looking at what I have accomplished, what tactics worked for me, where I failed and why. It is within this self-reflection where I distill what is truly important, not what I tell myself is important along the way. The sum of my behaviors tells a story, and at times this story conflicts with my internal narrative. It is on the anniversary of my birth where I force myself to look at the cold hard truth and ask myself to change.
The big scary.
Luckily, over the years I have been able to develop and refine a method to manage my life. I needed one. As a youth there wasn't a whole lot going on. It was easy to manage a career I didn't care about, friends that provided no pressure, and the consumption of substances both legal and illicit. I just flew by the seat of my pants and didn't care if those same pants were shredded in the process.
Now, I have a career where I am having success. I have children. I have the wounds of hard living and a body not getting better with age. I have a financial reputation. I have complex scenarios requiring a deep level of thought to manage. I have life coming at me at exponential speed and if I don't manage it well it can devolve, once again, into chaos and pain.
I don't like pain.
It's painful.
It was through this process of assessment that I started to look at life differently. I had read over 100 self-help books. I had watched 1000 videos with a motivational pitch. I had listened to life coaches, philosophers, read the works of great thinkers, and in the end felt more lost than when I didn't have a clue what to do. All the information was there, and there were hints on how to apply it, but nothing in the examples spoke to me or my life.
As a long-standing computer nerd deep in the inner workings of software development I found my muse. I was good with computers. I could fix things others had given up on. I had an intuition on what the root of a problem was, and I could get to that root faster than most. Then, as I began to learn the philosophies of the development cycle I understood that I think and react similarly.
I am a computer.
I can apply development strategies to my own life.
So that's what I did, and life began to look a bit different to me. When I was faced with a problem, I created a project around it. I tried to fix the bug. When I wanted something better from myself or from my experience, I created a project around that. I tested my theories, recorded the feedback, and adjusted my development until I found something that worked and wasn't too buggy. All the while it freed my mind of the anxiety and worry because I had faith in the process.
It wasn't perfect. In the early stages I was overwhelmed, planning too much, expecting too much, needing this "miraculous" strategy to be something more than it was. It would have been easy to let it go and sink back into the seat of the pants flight plan of old. Instead, I dug my claws into it and kept trying and eventually it became streamlined and the results were measurable and lasting. I found my rhythm, and I was able to accomplish more than I thought possible.
And so here we are. I am once again at the onset of a new development cycle. This time I feel confident enough to publicize my process and will be doing so weekly over the course of my 44th year. Along the way I will be offering the details of my strategy for anyone who thinks it might work for them. I have a talent for fixing computers, and maybe I can fix yours.
Stranger things have happened.

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