Destroying what you love to do…

April 14, 2015 by Michael

This is probably gonna be an exceptional personal post.

I love coding. I live and breath this. My mind is a bastard, it seldom sits down and does nothing. There are endless possibilities out there, coming to it through my wonderful timeline, blogs, reddit and more. New technologies i want to learn, new things i want to try out. I often have this feeling that Fabian pointed out:

Also, isn’t it cool, getting up as early as possible with lots of ☕️☕️☕️ and pulling all-nighters, either private or at work? I mean, all the rock stars are doing it.

Lately i’ve found myself in the weird position of being Prokurist in a small company doing many other things than coding and at the same time drowning in stuff that just “needs to be done” because no one else cares or is able to do, or tasks which are merely a draft on a whiteboard (if any).

Then there’s is this thing: I’m turning 36 this year and more and more, I’m feeling like having a bad midlife crisis since about last year which i don’t want to smother by buying stuff or pouring alcohol down my throat. I’m struggling to put myself in a position where i have the feeling to stay relevant in geezer town.

And first and foremost, I am a father of two great kids. I don’t want to be one of those parents who barely sees their kids. I’m so happy and proud that we have a great relationship and i want it to stay that way.

I got this email recently from a person i only met years ago on the internet, telling me how impressed he is with the stuff i’ve achieved and how he is wondering from where “persons like me” (whatever that is) take the strength to manage all this.

Honestly, i don’t know. When i’m with my family or creating stuff for dailyfratze.de or the various parts of my biking project i feel great. I also feel great doing housekeeping with my wife or dull work at work, but more often than not, at the times where there isn’t stuff to do, there’s no rest for me. Feeling physically and psychically exhausted, my brain keeps wandering.

Often those professional achievements are not a result of too much strength but from an imposter syndrome. The mere facts should and do tell me that i am good at what i’m doing, but even at the age of nearly 40 i have a hard time believing it and one of the ways i’ve “learned” to prove this to myself is just being better, learn more, do more.

So, why this posts title? I need to reduce the amount of coding that leaks into my life. Dramatically. I want the weekends to feel like weekends again, not just like any other week day. The most effective (and probably also the most efficient) way for me to stay relevant is doing less, not more. Do i want to define myself as an overworked coder, pouring coffee (or what ever else legal drug is available) or do i want to be a father of a family and software craftsman doing the right stuff?

My twitter bio says “Father of two, Husband, Geek, Programmer, Biker.” for about 2 years now. It’s about time to order those priorities in real life that way again.

How do you set your priorities? Which persona do you want to be? Is your online persona much different than your real life self? Really, i’d love to hear from any of you.

4 comments

  1. Thank you for linking to my blog post.

    If I would write that blog post right now, I would probably rearrange those things. It seems that people think that I have ordered them from the most important to the least important.

    Also, I would probably emphasize that the most important thing is to spend a lot of time with your family and friends, and take care of yourself. This helps you to stay relevant because you are always refreshed and can do your best at work.

    Now, I guess it is time to answer to your questions. I have two rules:

    First, If I don’t want to do something, I won’t do it. This includes all those things I mentioned in my blog post. For example, if I “should” write a blog post, but I want to watch a movie, I will always watch a movie. Life is short and that is why it makes no sense to do something I don’t want to do.

    Second, be genuine. My online persona is very close to my real persona (or at least I think this way). I don’t want to create an online persona because I think that having a fake persona takes a lot of energy, and I want to spend my energy on other things (that often are more useful to me).

    Posted on April 14, 2015 at 9:59 PM | Permalink
  2. Michael wrote:

    Thanks Petri, for heading over here and leaving such a kind comment.

    I read your post several times, i agree all of your points, though maybe not on the order, thats correct. The first thing you write here: Spend time with important people to one and take care of yourself: This is where the “work out” part belongs, too…

    Anyway, I’ve linked it for its general content, that we strive for relevance in some way or the other.

    The first thing is actually one of those things that i still don’t manage often. Especially, when i already started doing something, i often cannot quit, even if i realize it isn’t good for me.

    And regarding be a real person online, i’m totally with you.

    Again, thanks for you feedback. Much appreciated.

    Posted on April 14, 2015 at 10:48 PM | Permalink
  3. Tom wrote:

    Interesting post, mainly because it makes different approaches to the same phase in life obvious. I’m 10 years ahead of you, approaching 45, and I’ve just rekindled my IT activities. Oh yes, I’ve always been doing open source (JFXtras the last years), but for the rest my life was aimed on my two kids. I stopped some of my hobbies, changed my job, so I can be there for them. And for 12+ years this was good. My children (hopefully) will remember me as the father that was at home during breakfast and dinner, that coached them in their sports, went to school with them to see what they are up to.

    But lately I felt uninspired so I decided to prepare a talk on conferences, will be doing a certification, and spent more time on open source. The habit of walking up in the middle of the night and needing a piece of paper to note down an idea is back (after 10 years). And I love it!

    Posted on April 15, 2015 at 8:34 AM | Permalink
  4. Michael wrote:

    Hi Tom,

    wow, great feedback, love to hear your view from 10 years later. That’s a good perspective! Hearing from other parents or especially other fathers who went through this is great.

    My wife and i don’t give up our own lives and hobbies neither have the intention to, but our kids and family is indeed a main goal. It’s me looking for more balance right now.

    Have a great day and thanks for stopping by.

    Posted on April 15, 2015 at 10:42 AM | Permalink
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