I did some thinking earlier, based on this post. Here is that thinking, nearly unedited.
When I look at my future, what do I see? Or rather, what do I want to see? Let's say 20 years from now, when I'm 50. Ideally, I want to spend my time expanding my artificial intelligence program through both code updates and teaching. I would have my own lab with various computers, soldering stations, and whiteboards. I would have 3-4 minions. I would have the freedom to work on the AI any way I wanted, having already proved myself. In my off time, I would tend my backyard garden, travel, draw, read, and play piano. I would live, married or unmarried, with an amazing woman who complimented me in many ways. She would be my partner. We would be part of a strong community that supported each other in good times and bad.
10 years from now I want to be working toward my AI, having taken a sabbatical from work. At this time, I'm at the point where I have the skills I need. I also have the motivation. I just need the time to work on it. My personal lab is covered in diagrams, flowcharts, and technical printouts. I spend a lot of my time - ok, most of my time - working on the problem of AI. Thankfully, I have a VERY understanding partner, a wonderful woman who supports me and brings me back to reality for a break off and on. To the neighbors, I'm just the crazy guy who is cackling like a mad scientist in his basement. When I get stressed out with the AI, I go for a walk, enjoy my garden, or philosophize with my partner.
5 years from now, I want to be in the middle of learning the skills I'll need to build my AI as well as be in the middle of designing it. I want to be a new homeowner, changing the place to suit my self. I'll be in the process of getting to know my future partner, a wonderful woman to explore the future with. I will be known within the local community, if not yet well known.
2 years from now, I'll be in a new community, starting to explore it and getting to know people. I'll also be on the lookout for a house to make my home. My job will help me build up the skills I feel I need for my AI. I'll also be on the second skillset for my AI during my off hours.
1 year from now, I'll be in my apartment, learning the skills I'll need for my next job. I'll be searching for my ideal community in which to make a home that suits me.
The biggest thing to work on, then, are my AI skills. I'm starting with computer graphics right now. I need to push this forward as quickly as possible. I need to work on my 3D math skills; I am working through Khan Academy videos and ordered a recommended book on the subject. This will make computer graphics a bit easier, but most of it will come from actual programming. I need to have obvious skills in that area before moving onto something else, likely computer vision.
How much do I want this? Am I willing to sacrifice other things for this? Would it even be much of a sacrifice? What would I sacrifice? I would still need some down time to keep my sanity mostly intact. I
would still try to exercise to keep in shape and live long enough to see this through. I would basically sacrifice my less desirable qualities. My laziness, baseless fear, and mediocrity. It's not really a loss, except then I won't have any excuse except for my own ineptness if I fail. I will all fall on me. That's what scares me. But at least I'll have minions.