I find myself longing to make an apple pie from scratch more frequently than I'd like. However, unlike the one Sagan's talking about, my attempts are merely vehicles for me to escape the rut I'm stuck in. I've yearned for a 'fresh start' after going neck deep in certain projects that to begin with didn't interest me at all. My character flaw is that I cannot say no; which means that I take up things whether or not they interest me, and end up with a 20-40 percent failure/suboptimal result rate in things I end up doing. This spills outside of work into things I do for leisure as well. Like picking up a book to read, or piling up bookmarks. In conclusion, I have enough evidence that I'm bad at it.
In a spur of a moment—actually, after spending a few frustrated hours thinking about which facet of my life I can exercise control over—I decided I will clear up my reading queue on Pocket and start from scratch.
The number of articles in the queue was weighing me down and every time I'd open the Pocket app it would stand there as a testament to my failure to catch up in life. I know I'm assigning a lot of weight to this, but trust me, it really gave me a float-like-a-feather feeling when I sent nearly 2000 unread articles to the purge-atory.
Six months into my dev job I had a conversation with my manager about the need for a fresh start. What I discovered at the end of that conversation and over time is that there really is nothing called a fresh start unless you're switching companies or careers completely—even then, I'd argue those do not come with fresh starts. With a green-grass project or hobby, you're only changing the problem statement while the skills you possess to solve the problem remain the same. Does this mean your assessment of yourself after a project A is going to be the same as it would have been if you took up project B? Perhaps. But with every task, you come out of it with a widened skill set and learnings. What picking project B over A would help with—if project B were the more interesting one—is that how much sharper you're going to be at the end of it. With a more interesting or more involved project, you're going to be really invested in doing it right, with which comes a broader/deeper knowledge of things and the lessons learned are that much more valuable. While with a less interesting project, you're not going to be that invested in diving deep. You're not going to look further if bare minimum could achieve the end goal and make all that involved satisfied.
This is evidenced by my Pocket queue which is already filling up.