For the past few months, I had been mulling over about my future and what I want to do in my life. Career goals, Life goals, Personal growth goals, Hobby goals…
My long time blog/weeb friend (no joke, we’ve known each other since we were in middle school) Vicky has recently started participating in #100DaysOfCode Challenge. She blogged about the challenge and learning to use GitHub a month ago, but while I found the concept interesting, I didn’t think I was “at that stage” of my coding education to take part in it.
Up until then, there was my few months’ stint at trying to learn Python, which kind of melted away after my health issues started up in earnest. And I was finding it difficult to “get in” to the programming languages that I was being introduced to.
However, the “contemplations” took a turn of urgency when I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis last month. I realized that I really need to buckle down and form an escape plan in case I lose my mobility and health to the point of being unable to function readily in the corporate world.
Back in my school days, I was able to “read” and “write” these languages like I was reading and writing English. Languages like these, I can comprehend much more readily than the programming languages like Io or Python. This realization, along with my 1-on-1 with my manager discussing my potential career paths (where he encouraged me to pursue web development) and my medical issues, I decided to seriously look into the field.
Somehow, I had always assumed websites had “moved on” to some other language or format that wasn’t accessible for me. But turns out a lot of it is still done with HTML/CSS… And that was exciting for me, because as rusty as I am with coding website layouts, that was one of my favorite things to do as a teenager. And obviously, I still create and maintain numerous websites; just completely reliant on templates on WordPress. This was my chance to break out of having to rely on other people’s work, and start actually making my own.
The Fateful Tweet
On Sunday afternoon, while rolling around in bed after a filling brunch (because what’s a weekend in NYC without boozy brunch?), I made a fateful Tweet.
ME TOO. LET'S GET ON THIS TOGETHER?!
— Pauline P. Narvas (@paulienuh) September 9, 2017
And of course, ya girl Pauline jumped on it.
And the rest, as we like to say, is
After flailing around with GitHub/GitHub Desktop, and figuring out how to use it, I hit the ground running. (I really tend to perform best when I have that initial jolt of energy and excitement, so I try to ride that high out as much as possible.)
— Hiro in LA ✈️ (@nishimurahiroko) September 9, 2017
So the basic premise of #100DaysOfCode Challenge is that you pledge to code for at least 1 hour for 100 days.
You first “fork” a repository from their Github, and start editing it to customize it. Then you use the log.md to keep a progress diary for the next 100 days.
The goal is to have your Github account be all green.
(Mine is not quite green yet…)
Every day, on top of updating the log file on Github, you also tweet an update. The community on Twitter of people participating and people supporting in the challenge is pretty great. There’s a lot of interaction and feedback from both beginners and seasoned pros. It’s kind of rare that people with such huge range of skill-levels interact on the “same plane,” so I think it’s great.
Getting Back in the Groove
On the one hand, I am enjoying getting “back in the groove,” slowly remembering how this whole coding thing worked, refreshing my memory on CSS and HTML tags and values. On the other hand, I’m also reminded of the daily frustrations of things not working even though it’s identical to a working copy, and the only thing that gets it working again is to do something that shouldn’t have done anything at all to change any of the settings.
One good thing about working in a tech company is that help is only a few feet away, if I need it. That’s comforting for me. It’s so strange, because I didn’t feel much desire to learn programming or build servers or any of these kinds of things when I was living with my ex-boyfriend, who wanted to teach me. However, now that he’s not sitting across from me, I’m energized and excited to learn.
I guess I should also mention that my roommate is a programmer, as is my sister, along with many of my other close friends. I’m just the black sheep of the clan, with my weird special education degree!
Overall, I’m enjoying the process. I’m glad I decided to start with the “path of least resistance” and start with creating WordPress Themes, because it’s something I’ve been interested in, and can utilize immediately.
I am going through a Udemy course that is teaching me how to create a WordPress Theme using Bootstrap (another concept I’m learning new), and I’m a little overwhelmed with the sheer amount of potential and freeware code that is being thrown around these days.
Times have really changed! It’s like, Lissa Explains it All except legitimized! (Dude, it still exists!)
Today, I had an echochardiogram (basically ultrasound of the heart) done to see if I have symptoms of heart conditions (comes with Rheumatoid Arthritis) or Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. The doctor said that it looked good, though she did notice some skipping in my heart beats.
She gave me a referral for a Neurologist (for follow up of AVM) and a Geneticist (for screening for EDS) in Columbia. After the appointment, I called in to both offices, and was told one has an opening in February, 2018, and the other, in April, 2018. Ah, America.
Honestly though, given how little impact a joint disorder would have on my life at this point, I might just cancel at some point early next year, depending on how I feel. It’s not vital to me to know if I have it or not, and by that point, my deductibles would have reset, and I’d have to pay for everything out of pocket.
It was very cool seeing my heart at work (it’s the hardest working muscle in your body!), and even hearing it. And now we have a medical trail to reference later down the line to have a baseline status of the condition of my heart as a 28 year old.
My pain’s coming back a bit, but I think it’s because I decreased the dosage of Aleve to 2 a day instead of 3 a day (a month ago, I was barely able to get out of bed on 4 a day). For this level of “acceptable” pain though, I think it’s worth it to be down to 2 pills instead of 3 or 4. I’m hoping that, as my Rheumatologist said last week, that the Methotrexate will do its job and keep working until I’m in complete remission.
And Just to Ruin Your Day…
“Don’t spend money; spend time. You think what you spend matters?
It doesn’t. What you do matters. Jump in puddles; go for walks.
Swim in the sea, build a camp, and have fun. That’s all they want.”
I Need Your Recommendations!
I really want to go on a vacation… A very very relaxing one…
But it has to be public transit or car-accessible from NYC, and relatively painless to get to (because, you know, pain)… Anyone have any ideas…?
I can take Metro North, Amtrak, maybe planes if the rides are short…
I have about 10 days of vacation days I need to use up before winter comes (because at that point, everyone already has their vacation planned, so it’s harder to take off in chunk).