Finishing

by Michael Ruggiero

Finishing projects is hard. When are you finished? When there’s nothing left to say? When you stop caring?

It takes time to finish something. You have to let some things go that you once thought were really important, just so the really important things get done. It means you stop futzing with something that could be perfected. It ultimately means you’ve accepted that you’ve run out of things to contribute. At that point, your diamond may be flawed; your song may not sound as good as you imagined it would.

Sometimes it feels like a struggle to not become Lord Acton. Recall that Lord Acton, who coined the phrase “power tends to corrupt,” knew a ton but was unable to complete any history that was worth reading. His only notable publications were a handful of essays and lectures, and today no one reads him.

Being a Lord Acton means that you read a lot, you have a lot of opinions, you talk loudly in restaurants, but you don’t really leave a lot behind. I’m not sure that I can control that, I can only work on what I work on, and history will have to decide from there.

Not finishing is less painful than accepting that I cannot learn anymore, that learning is not allowed. There is still so much to do, so much I don’t understand. And as long as I fail to finish things, I’ll learn from that failure. (Or I’ll fail again in exactly the same way.)

Today I worked with Amazon EC2 Container Service, which may allow me to manage Docker containers on a cluster of Amazon EC2 instances. I have about 100 ideas about it. It’ll let me orchestrate any kind of infrastructure I imagine, using only ssh (and a credit card).

But to do so means I have to finish this project. Which is painful.