I thought that I could do anything and be really good at it. I felt that I had a fine brain that could understand and solve any problem, learn anything that needed to be learned, and accomplish great things. For many years, experience proved me right. Self-taught, I rose to the top positions in my career and became a very good musician in my spare time. I invented things and made good money doing it. This gave me an abundance of confidence – too much, as it turns out.
But now… My fine brain can no longer hold the complex patterns that software engineering requires. My musical skills are still good, but I am slower. Listening to old recordings, I question if I was ever was good as I thought I was. Also, it seems that other musicians from that era were much better than I gave them credit for. In the final analysis, I’m an average local player, frankly undeserving of a larger audience.
I’m retired from the software business, but I’ve continued to dabble with music algorithms. The last batch weren’t very good. Much effort for music that nobody likes anyway. It may be time to quit doing that.
I’ve been doing a software project for a friend, but it’s hard. I used to be able to pull together code and variables quickly and easily. That doesn’t happen anymore. I’m not even sure that what I’ve written on this project is any good. The technology has changed so much in the past decade. I don’t have the drive to keep up.
And then there’s performing. I love playing music with my friends, but the actual work of doing gigs is tiring. I don’t need the money, so why haul my equipment all over the county, set up, and perform what other people want to hear? I don’t need the applause, the validation. Why do I do this – just because I always have?
I still like my little business, my part time “day job”. I like running a store on the internet and sending out packages every day. I can manage small web sites like this one and share my thoughts on social media. These things are easy and relaxing. They don’t require greatness.
Basically, I think it’s time to downsize my ego, and my life. Time to reflect more. I don’t like to say “no” when people ask me to do the things I’ve always done, but I’m not as good at those things as I used to be. The fine brain is less fine and the ego has diminished. I’m not the best, and now I realize that I never was.