A contemplative time

Since announcing my departure from Ubisoft I’ve been going through an interesting shift in perspective. As I left the company, Ubisoft asked if I could help out with a title that could use some additional programming help. So I have been contracting with them these past five weeks.
It’s been a great experience for me, working with the team, spending some time working from home and some time working at their office. My coding skills have dulled a bit in recent years, so throwing myself into the deep end of the pool has been a great opportunity to sharpen them back up. Also, communicating with the people on the team and synchronizing with the source control database, etc; all the things that people working full-on on a development team expect, those were things I hadn’t done for quite a long time. So it’s been nice getting back into that.
My departure marked the beginning of a soul-searching shift for me. One of the major reasons I moved on was this feeling that I hadn’t been following my own creative path recently, but putting all of my effort into the visions of others. What I’ve been doing has been valuable for my growth, and I’m happy with how and what I have done, but it felt like time to use what I’d learned and pour that same effort into my own vision.
So as I’ve been tuning up some old skills the world has started occurring for me in a different way. All the ideas that I’ve usually stuffed into a back pocket and thought “wow that might be a good idea if I had some time”, now I think – well, what if I actually did that thing? Is it something I’m passionate about? …that I could have some success with? …that would provide something of value for people? Okay, now how would I go about creating it? And in many cases having a broad spectrum of skills, from being able to develop it on my own to being able to manage its creation by hiring others, is proving useful. But a broad skill set isn’t something that is typically valuable when working for a larger company; specialism is usually more valuable than generalism when there are a lot of people in an organization. So being independent, it feels like a nice luxury to be able to use my skills broadly again.
Reconsidering the way that I structure my life, tilting a bit more frugally, becoming more organized, doing contracts to support pushing my own vision forward, these are things which feel a bit like cleaning my windshield. I’m slowly seeing more clearly, finding my own path, exploring what is truly important to me and not exploring what is not. It’s a great process to be in but it feels… strange! New, and good.
It isn’t that I’ve been blindly following others, far from it. But the opportunity to consider what I want my mark on this planet to look like, and then to create something starting from those thoughts, is an adventure I haven’t been on for some time. It’s exciting sometimes, scary sometimes… and I’m enjoying the adventure. 🙂
That seems like a funny thing to express, frankly. Aren’t we all always creating our own future? Well, I can only speak for myself, but it feels very different to be taking a paycheck versus brainstorming what I want to create and whether it will be valuable for people. It’s a very different place to stand when contemplating what to do next. A good place, for me.