10,000 Days

Today I turned 10,000 days old. That's a lot of days.

Each of those days I woke up, did something, and went to sleep (more or less). Rinse, wash, repeat, 9,999 more times.

And yet, I don't actually remember the vast majority of them. I mean, I remember bits and pieces of everything—high school, college, work, vacations, summers, and so on—but the specifics of any given day? Kind of hit or miss.

That's how memory works, of course. If my life were a novel I'd be the least reliable narrator.

Today's 10,000 milestone feels particularly profound because of its timing. Last Friday, I left HireArt, the (then) five-person startup I moved across the country to join in 2013. It was an incredibly tough decision, and maybe in a future post I'll share more about what led to the change. But for now, I want to talk a bit about time, and how we spend it.

If I were to divide up my life into slices of 1,000 days, the entire last slice—just under three years—would belong to the job I just left. That's one tenth of my entire life thus far. Almost a third of my twenties, which are, I am realizing, a very limited resource.

That's not to say it wasn't time well spent. The last 1,000 days were, by far, my most prolific as a coder. I'm not sure how exactly I'd quantify my productivity, except that… I wrote a LOT of code. Actually, scratch that. On net I deleted more lines than I added, which is something I'm quite proud of. And, more than just producing it, I thought about code. A lot.

I hope to keep that up, but I also hope to make a few changes going forward. As productive as I was, the last three years were probably the least healthy for me. For one, I spent far too much on food deliveries. Not once did I go to the gym, or even go for a jog around the block. And, sadly, I didn't phone my parents nearly often enough.

That's the downside of being so mentally engaged in work. You lose track of what's really, truly important in life, and you make trade-offs that optimize for short-term goals. So for the next 1,000 days I'm aiming to be both productive and develop more healthy habits. We'll see how I do.

Here's the thing about those 1,000 day chunks. My entire adult life only began, at most, three chunks ago. And my professional career? Two-ish chunks. Out of ten. Crazy, right? Another chunk and I'll be 30. Ten more chunks brings me into my mid-fifties. I hope by then I'll still call myself a programmer, but honestly I have no idea.

Suffice it to say, I'm both terrified and eager to see what the next 1,000 (and 10,000) days have in store.