Healthy Habits: on coding, music, self

On my path to data science:

I’m not really sure why this feeling came over me and helped me decide my commitment to learning data science non-stop for the next two months.

Back when I was in college and started venturing out of all that I knew in piano and music, all I kept hearing was how powerful coding could be and how it could change the world.  The first time I took a website development course, I was completely baffled, stopped dead in my tracks… all these weird symbols and jumble of words, and all of them were supposed to mean something?!  It didn’t look like alien language because it was still in english, and everything was created right there from the keyboards at the tip of my fingertips.  Yet it certainly felt like alien language, and I had never felt stupider.  I struggled to decipher what anything meant, and even when something finally worked, it was with such heavy assistance from my professor that I was left with this feeling that I didn’t understand anything, and dreaded needing to reproduce any part of the work process.

During my gaming class where we had to create games, I was going through a really rough time outside of the classroom and all my creative juices were drained.  It was all I could do just to show up at class and stare at my screen like a vegetable for three hours.  I remember pulling an all-nighter to desperately write code for a simple maze, yet none of the code worked.  Running out of time, to show for the entire night’s worth, I basically copped out by embedding an image of a maze for my character to walk through:  an image. Not an actual maze with walls and boundaries.  The demo for my class the following day was embarrassing, and I felt pretty useless and talentless.

I am an easily stressed individual.  Even though I would sweat bullets and lock myself in the practice room before each performance, at least it was familiar to me.  The nerve-wracking feelings and symptoms were familiar, and all I cared about in the earlier years was to not mess up, forget my piece or stumble on the notes.  Through college, the standard was raised a lot to not just surviving through the piece onstage, but actually learning to enjoy the music then and now with the audience.

Anyway, what I wanted to say is that I learned how to connect deeply and emotionally with listening to the keys and what the music was trying to convey.  In comparison to what I’m trying to accomplish these days, this necessary empathy has always come much more naturally to me.

Now I’m trying to brush up on my life more technically-  practically, what is useful?  Data science.  I feel that I can bring the passionate, committed side of me to pursuing coding, even though the science itself is rather logical, and seems to draw from statistics and other aspects that I always found quite boring.

On the contrary, I am finding this stuff really interesting.  I don’t know if it was because I made the decision to devote myself to learning it bit by bit with a really reliant guide, or that the graphic visualization aspect appeals to my more artsy side.  It also doesn’t hurt that data scientist positions pay pretty well!  I can see a future in this for me, and that feels pretty calming.  I hope this is my calling.  Of course, I will still always have those qualities that piano has taught me:  passion, heart, and definitely discipline.  Habits where you don’t think of it as a choice to stick to it day by day.  You make the choice at the beginning of pursuing this goal, and then day by day it is a necessity.  You breathe it, live it, and only stop to eat, poop, and take short breaks to loosen the mind a bit.

I did feel this sense of accomplishment after a piano performance, especially at a larger, reputable hall like Lincoln Center, yet it still felt like it was so engrained into me to win and do well that I wondered if that took away from some of the satisfaction.  A fraction of it was for my parents, another fraction for the teacher.

But data science is entirely mine.  I made this choice on my own to develop myself further, and it feels oh so good to affirm that I can do (almost) anything if I put my all into it.  One of the to-do lists on my list before I die is to experience that utmost feeling of accomplishment when I get a well-paying job that I know I can grow into.


Speaking of other healthy habits on self-development, I have also made the commitment to building my body and pushing it at the gym as often as I can.  I felt this way around fall, but as it got colder and more factors made it difficult, my clarity in pursuing the goal began to fade and I got discouraged.  I have to decide to pick myself back up and keep trying to train and reach for the best version of myself as I can, mentally and physically, according to my own terms.

Gotta hit my target weight of 105 lbs, and eat healthier, stay away from processed foods, and CONSISTENCY IS KEY.  DEDICATION.  DRIVE.

Gym every other day.  If I don’t wake up feeling dead or something serious and there’s no real reason, I have to go to the gym by default.

Gotta get those ABS OF STEEL.  Slow and steady, like the turtle.

Hungry??  Don’t grab the chicken nuggets.  Grab the bell pepper and hummus.  At the grocery store and staring at yummy processed fat?  NO.  Do not even purchase it.

Also talked a bit with vegetarian / semi- vegetarian friends… I feel like lately I’ve had conflicting feelings when I think about or see meat.  I kind of crave it…but also feel a bit repulsed?

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