The first 30 days: adventures in coding

As the blog continues to flourish, I’ve begun to find my niche. Writing has kept me sane during the pandemic and for good reason. It’s given me time to reassess my values and refocus my efforts. Part of that effort has been learning how to code, a task I never thought I could do. It’s been the better part of a decade since I’ve tackled the coding challenge, being a high school computer science II dropout.

It takes confidence

Part of my issue was I lacked the confidence to move forward with my coding. I was unwilling to commit because I was worried I would fail. I talked about coding for months before I made the full-fledged commitment. Time to learn was a factor but not the only one.

The first days are always the hardest

I’m a flip-flopper. With every choice made, there is a choice unmade, a road not taken. Nothing clicks until one day everything does. The first week of coding I quite enjoyed. I told myself a lesson a day and told myself 30 days with a plan to do the 100 days of coding challenge afterwards. I had a basic idea where I wanted to head and used the career paths on Codecademy to pursue what path I wanted to take. First was the fundamentals of coding, now it’s computer science and then web development, finishing up with data science. All said and done, we’re looking at a couple years of work. That is a commitment and as such, it can be easy to get demoralized. I only have so many hours in the day, so I must value coding if I want to move forward. You cannot do anything without a why.

Closing in on day 50

Hitting the 30 day mark was the hardest, if you can do that, then typically you can keep going. Thus far, it has held true. I wake up, I code, and then I stare at a wall for the rest of the day (kidding!). At this point, it’s routine. And while coding can make me feel stupid at times, I’ve begun seeing huge applications that make me excited to finish my coursework. I haven’t had this type of clarity with any other subject. It is my belief that one day coding will be an essential skill to have in the modern job market and as such, I’m getting a start now so I’m not behind later. When I hit 100 days of continuous coding, my hope is to have something tangible to show on the blog. For now, you get articles!

And that’s it! Eventually, I’ll write a program that tells you to like, share, and follow (half-kidding!), for now I’ll be writing each individually with love and care. So remember, if you like my content, share it and leave a like! If your new, consider following! The blog has been doing extremely well this year thanks to everyone’s support. We have already surpassed last year and are looking to overtake 2018 soon. The end goal is eventually to have the blog pay for itself and eventually, a transition to writing full-time. If you can, donations help quite a bit. To make it easy, I have a link to my Patreon and Ko-Fi below:

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As always, feel free to leave a comment; I love responding! Also, if you have any questions about coding, feel free to reach out!

30 days to rule them all

So we’re stuck inside and even the strongest among us can’t self isolate forever. I’ve been in my house for almost 60 days. I went from going out every weekend to building a Utopian society in Animal Crossing. First 30 days were fine and were treated as a much needed vacation. The last 30 days? Not terrible. 90 days? God help us (But we’re not there, yet…). I have a stockpile of books and games, so it’ll take a long while to get through those. But those are only to keep me busy should I get bored.

So thus, begins my habit forming challenges. The other day I hit my 15th day streak on Playne, a meditation video game. I have an in-game fire that will go out if I miss a day. It is now my sole mission to keep that fire alive. The game itself is fun, I’ve learned a couple different techniques outside of what I learned when I did 9 months of “freestyle” meditation. I also now meditate within a range to help with motivation. If I’m feeling like I don’t have the time (during the middle of a Pandemic) I can do 5 minutes of quick breathing exercises. If I’m extremely stressed, I can do 30 minutes of writing words on paper (or in this case, actually typing in game!). All in all, I’m excited to hit day 30 and then beyond. I’m going to hold myself to at least a year of continuous meditation. Duolingo I’ll hit a two week streak as of today (which is now yesterday, because writing can take a while); I also just started coding through Codecademy. I’ve been coding off and on throughout my life, and I’ve always regretted not hunkering down to learn and fully understand it. I loved lego robotics when I was younger but my life since then has taken a very different path. As I gear up for a Masters in Analytics, I want that to change. I’ll need to know Python and SQL, so I figured now would be the perfect time to learn. 30 days to form the habit, then I’m curious to try the 100 days of code challenge going around. It took a while to find a site that worked for me, but I really enjoy the format of Codecademy from the couple days I’ve done of the free trial.

Full disclaimer, I rounded up; “21 days to rule them all” just doesn’t have as nice a ring to it and honestly, I like giving myself a buffer since I’ve been such a failure at forming habits in the past. So really, it’s just 21 days with 9 bonus days. Now that I’m close to the 21 day mark, I can speak a little more to observations I made at the beginning of the challenge. First couple days were tough. What I decided to do was phased habit iteration. I started with meditation as a base habit I wanted to form and then after a couple days I introduced Language learning, and now coding. In addition, I have tried to make a consistent habit of working out. In fact, let’s transition over to talking about my workout routine during the Pandemic.

There are typically two approaches to working out; structured or integrated. Structured workouts are typically a routine that involve high amounts of discipline and might involve running the same route every day and going to the gym to work out. This works great if you have extraordinary willpower. For everyone else, it is the reason you stop and start working out over and over again. Over the last couple years, I have gone with an integrated approach to working out. What this means is, exercise is integrated as part of your lifestyle and is not a separate activity. My first task was to make exercise fun. This is where most people stop. What I decided to do was to start bouldering; I got a discount through work and started making an effort to go every weekend. The second aspect was making it a goal to go outside once a week, once I started taking public transit, this became much easier (also shout out to Pokemon Go). And the third was to make sure I could work out at home but in a way that didn’t feel forced. So, I bought Ring Fit Adventure. Video Games have never disappointed and ring fit has been no different; it solved the motivation aspect of working out at home. Enough of a workout to break a sweat each time, after 15 days I can say I am more motivated to workout. It also has a resistance building mode I can do while watching TV, which is helping me find new ways to exercise casually. Eventually I can add on more to my workout routine but as long as I have a foundation to come back to, I should be good to go.

And that’s it! This Mental Health Awareness month I wanted to try a slightly different approach As I’ve already gone with the dark and gritty (but beautifully vulnerable). I have a couple more articles planned for the month but those need to go through the editing process (which goes a lot faster when I’m not trying to readjust my sleep schedule). So far the blog has been doing extremely well this year and I’m looking to make this the best year yet! Last year was slow but my goal for this year will be a post every two weeks. It’s what I’ve found to be manageable and I don’t want to get burnt out doing too much at once. As a reminder, if you like my content, please consider leaving a like, follow, and sharing the article among your friends! I also love responding to comments! So far, the response this year has been stellar and the blog is growing, which makes me very excited. If you want to support me as a creator, feel free to donate via Ko-fi or my Patreon. Every dollar helps, especially since I currently don’t have a 9 to 5 job right now!

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Also, feel free to reach out if you’re interested in doing a collaboration! Thanks again for reading and feel free to comment!

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