When I was in my twenties, the future was pretty bright. The whole world was ahead of me and I lived a very free lifestyle. It has its advantages and disadvantages. I didn’t do well in college, despite my success in high school. I was a little discouraged, but I knew I had years to figure things out. My life was about enjoying the moment and living without consequences. My whole life was ahead of me.

My lifestyle led me to a career in the culinary arts. My Bachelor of the Arts degree in Anthropology was not helping me get any jobs. I ended up working in restaurants for 17 years. Life began to feel less free and I couldn’t shake the feeling that I could be doing more with my life.

It wasn’t too long after my graduation in 1998 that I decided to go back to school. In 2003, I began taking technology classes to get an Associate of the Arts degree in Information Technology. This helped me to stay sane even though I worked full time at the restaurant. If I’m not learning and growing, I stagnate and start to feel restless. In 2006, I got my degree in I.T. but then the ambition fizzled out for a few years.

In 2010, I began taking programming classes. I hadn’t had any luck getting a job in Information Technology. In 2012, I took a beginner’s class in HTML and CSS. I ended up getting an internship opportunity at the ripe old age of 39, and finally became fully employed as a web developer in 2013. The future seemed wide open again to me, despite my age.

My first day of work was on my 40th birthday. My Dad told me that ‘life begins at 40’. This rings true for me in many ways. In the past 5 years, I have grown professionally, socially and emotionally. It has been a wonderful experience and I’m truly grateful for the opportunity that was given to me.

Due to funding issues, my current position has been terminated. It has led to a range of emotions, but I see this is an opportunity. I hope that it lights a fire under me to really grow as a developer. This year is going to be a Renaissance year for me. My goal is to work with a team of developers, to contribute and learn, and hopefully continue to be able to make a living in this way.

The future is wide open again. It might be a scary thing, but I choose to see it as an exciting challenge. Of course, I’d love to have the securities of a paycheck and health insurance. These are my foremost goals, but I really see this as a chance for me to seize the day.

R.I.P. Tom Petty.

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