I am mourning your passing, even as I celebrate the bounties you have delivered.
You will always be remembered as the year I took a giant leap of faith, hung suspended over an icy, shark-infested ocean for 4 months, and then landed smoothly with a fluttering of feathers on a soft, cushy mattress at the bottom of a mountain of ever-softer, ever-cushier mattresses, beaconing me to climb.
I started 2014 on a mid-level deck of a boat that was slowly taking on water: a career in retail banking management, where the lowest level employees were being shed in favor of the technology that would replace them.
All the other sailors on my deck kept their eyes fixed on the stairs, fully focused on climbing up. We could all see the levels flooding below us–the positions below us being cut. And yet, the waters were rising slowly…too slowly to be of concern.
They all recognized the truth of my words when I said, “Our jobs will not exist in 10 years,” but it seemed a far-off problem. We could not feel the icy water on our feet.
I started looking for a new boat, but I did not jump at the first I saw. I waited until I found not just any healthy boat, but one that was sailing in the direction I would like to take my life. That boat was software development.
I had found my boat, but we were separated by dark, murky oceans. To reach the new boat, I would have to abandon the old.
Jumping from a deck with icy water crawling across your toes is easy–there is no other choice. Jumping while your feet are still dry–that is much harder.
To reach my new boat, I had to pass on an imminent promotion, sacrifice 4 months income, and work every day to the point of exhaustion, with no guarantee of return on investment.
My brain screamed, “What if I fall? I’ll be immersed in icy water from my toes to my inner ears, and then there might be SHARKS. Can’t we just stay here? I know the water’s rising, but my feet are warm and dry.”
2014, we took a leap of faith together. We made it to the other boat, and it’s everything we hoped it would be.
Tomorrow I leave you for another year, but you will never leave me. You have forever shaped my destiny.