Once, back when I was a propulsion engineer and still uncertain of what I should do with my life, I got the following message in a fortune cookie, in a tiny Vietnamese restaraunt in dusty Los Angeles about three years ago (i.e., 1998):
Depart not from the path which fate has you assigned.
Fortune cookie messages are usually too trite to be profound, but something about this struck my fancy and I put it in my wallet. I run across it every now and then when going through my wallet, and think on it. When I got it, I had no idea what it meant. How does one tell what one's fate *is*, anyway?
I considered my past... I had spent a considerable amount of my youth in Boy Scouts and had developed a bit of a talent for leadership, yet detested the idea of corporate management. I had played and created roleplaying games since age ten. I had been programming computers since age eleven. And I loved working with people through the Internet. Presently, I was attempting to make a career as a rocket scientist, but juding from the state of the industry, Fate was certainly not favoring it.
And I had just recently gotten involved with the WorldForge project, and somehow (fatefully?) been selected to be its coordinator.
I decided that maybe, just maybe, this was my fate. Not a bad fate, as fates go. Actually, a pretty cool one.
But _how_? While Game Programmer is a valid career path, Open Source Game Programmer most certainly ain't. If this were my fate, it was anything but obvious how to get there...
I like Chinese food, and so I guess it was inevitable that eventually I would run across another "profound" fortune. A year and a half later I did:
Your success in life must be earned with
Okay, wow. earnest. Hmm. "A serious and intent mental state." One must be serious and think very hard in order to achieve one's goals.
I decided to end my career as a spacecraft propulsion systems engineer, and to go into computer programming. I figure, in order to achieve my fate, I will need to gradually shift my career towards something more conducive to work on WorldForge. How I get there isn't totally clear to me, but at least I know roughly where I'm headed.
Today I'm working in San Francisco as a web programming contractor. It's just a temporary job, though; just a stepping stone on the way. It pays well but I couldn't call it a "career". It just pays the bills to support my work with WorldForge.
And the past few months have seen a great deal of progress with WorldForge. Today I built a page summarizing this progress, so shan't reiterate.
One of the people on the project proposed using Advogato to make diary notes about our status. And so I am following the path.