How'd we get here?

Published on: April 23, 2022 | Reading Time: 4 min | Last Modified: April 23, 2022

hello world

How’d we get here, what’s the plan, and where have I been?

today things feel different and I’m okay with that.

First, I’d like to welcome you and mention that I plan to use this space to provide life updates on occasion, discuss interesting engineering problems I am solving, and deep-dive into digital audio topics. Subscribe via email or RSS if you’d like to receive automatic updates when I create new posts on this blog. Second, I’d like to address that I spent the past few months radio-silent on social media after finding myself in deep need of a digital detox and a desire to find some balance in my life.

The past six months of my life has been interesting. For over a decade I spent so much of my time dedicated to my craft of playing music – primarily electronic music in the form of techno and psy-trance. While I’ll always have a natural affinity for this type of music, I haven’t found playing music to be the primary source of fulfillment that it once was. It’ll always remain a part of me, but somehow, today things feel different and I’m okay with that.

I had to make a decision.

For years, I had been striving toward an ideal fantasy of being a globetrotting DJ while having a family and thriving in my professional career as a software engineer. My music career would fluctuate over the years, as I’d play a number of events each festival season – mostly locally, but some bookings would occur in nearby states (including a few times playing in Mexico). It dawned on me one day that in order to thrive as a performing musician, one must give it a full-hearted effort (no shit, right?). Admittedly, I hadn’t been as invested in the craft as my peers and I knew it. Conversely, it had also dawned on me that I had a considerable amount of opportunity in front of me as a software engineer. This opportunity, also admittedly, had been taken for granted.

In retrospect, I had spent far too much time paralyzed at the notion of choosing a direction upon encountering this existential fork-in-the-road, letting both crafts suffer equally. Of course, there is time for both pursuits (with enough sacrifice), however, it seldom felt this way. Occasionally, I would manically attempt to jump-start my music career in moments of fleeting inspiration, struggling to launch from the ground level and evade the gatekeepers, all the while doing nothing to take true ownership over the professional opportunities directly in front of me within my engineering career. These opportunities beckoned for my attention. I had to make a decision.

While doing this soul-searching I had realized that both of these crafts that I am deeply passionate about required a thorough effort to thrive in their respective domains. I had seen that, while I continued to pursue my ambitions of being a musician, the sheer amount of work that goes into becoming a successful musician parallels (and in a lot of way, exceeds) the amount of effort it takes to be a successful software engineer and contributor to the tech community. One of these crafts involves late-night networking in smokey downtown warehouses, bars, and clubs, weekend-after-weekend while the other requires community involvement through open-source contributions, technical talks, mentorship, and so forth. Either choice is going to be difficult, but which choice brings the truest sense of fulfillment?

The only thing I’ve known and loved longer in my life than electronic music is programming.

I had also started therapy in these months of radio-silence, found some tools that work for me, and turned my attention inward. I’ve found it deeply impactful and has really helped me reframe the inner-dialog around what brings me true fulfillment. While I’ll always love music, and I’ll happily share it with others when the opportunity is right, I also know where my heart is invested, and I know what keeps the creative flame alive inside. The only thing I’ve known and loved longer in my life than electronic music is programming. Today, pursing this path of realizing my potential as a software engineer with a full-hearted effort is invigorating. Today, taking ownership over the opportunities staring me in the face is fulfilling. Doing what I can to lower the bar to entry for my peers brings me so much satisfaction.

It was a revealing, humbling, and impactful exploration..

Lastly, toward the end of last year I decided to dive head-first in relearning the fundamentals of computer science. Why would I do that? Well, I wanted to take ownership over the knowledge gaps in my understanding and do a thorough pass through all the information I should be expected to know Рfundamental data structures, algorithms, design patterns, asymptotic complexity, and so on. It was a revealing, humbling, and impactful exploration, one of which I will dive into further in-depth here in an upcoming post.

Until then friends, thanks for reading.