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No Such Thing as a Perfect Time (or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Just Started Coding Already)

A family friend used to have a bad habit of cornering me at parties and asking when I was planning to have kids. This friend – let’s call her Ms. Meddler – would wait until my significant other was out of earshot before whispering conspiratorially, “You want a baby? Just do enough planning to make it happen and figure the rest out later. There’s no such thing as a perfect time! You could always have saved more, traveled more, lived more...

Yikes. Ms. M’s well-intentioned (but ultimately misguided) chatter didn’t make me decide to procreate, but it definitely made for some very awkward dinner parties. In hindsight, there was actually a kernel of truth in her advice. Humans are quite good at coming up with very logical excuses not to do difficult things, even if – or perhaps especially if – they really want to do them. For some people, that big, scary goal is having a baby. Other folks might want to sail across the Pacific on a little balsa wood raft, Kon-Tiki style. Me, I just want to learn how to code already.

I was initially reluctant to give myself permission to take the plunge and spend two precious weekday evenings learning how to build web apps every week. When I learned about Tech Talent South’s part-time program in March, I immediately came up with a long list of excuses as to why the Spring Session was starting too soon for me to enroll. Even though I really wanted to learn how to code, waiting until summer seemed smarter, safer somehow. After all, my decision was perfectly logical. I was just so busy at work training a new employee and meeting deadlines for a big client project! Besides – New Orleans is always so dead in July and August, right?

Four weeks into the TTS Summer Session, I think I can safely say that waiting a few extra months for my life to magically become less hectic and crazy was a silly idea. I am not exaggerating when I say that I’m three times busier at work than I was in April – I’m now training three new employees and delivering on three client projects simultaneously. Plus, I’ve had a baffling number of out-of-town friends decide that the best time to visit New Orleans is during our two hottest, most humid months of the year. I can’t remember another time in my life that I have had so many big commitments and so little free time.

You know what, though? I also can’t remember a time when I felt like I was accomplishing and learning this much in such a short period. Two days per week I head straight to class after an exhausting workday, falafel sandwich in hand, and spend the next three hours of my life building stuff that actually works and makes sense. As soon as we get started in on the lesson, I get my second wind. It’s that energizing!

Could I have done this five months ago? Absolutely – I wish I had been more confident and jumped in earlier. Do I regret waiting? Not at all. I’ve met some seriously smart and ambitious people in my class this summer, all of whom are balancing work, family, and social responsibilities with finesse. This may not be the “perfect” time for any of us, but we’re progressing and getting incrementally better every week.

 

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