I took some time off. The final closure of my previous professional adventure took less time than expected, so I could afford taking a short break to RESET myself before starting a completely new stage in my career. And damn, it's only then when I've realised how much I needed it.
Physical activity (running), reading (even more than usual), everyday coding (Advent of Code, 17 days beaten so far - using Rust, to make it more challenging). A lot of meditation-aided quieting down & introspection. Spending more time with family (nothing beats guitar playing with my daughter), cinema, attending favourite meet-ups (I had no time for since 2018 ...), drafting some texts for future, even playing long-ago shelved games (God of War - premiered in April 2018 ...) and much more.
The goal was to:
- do stuff I never had time to do during the last 20 months
- distract me from topics & concerns that were my everyday bread'n'butter recently
- re-gain focus on what still drives me (& what doesn't - maybe some things have changed here ...)
- especially: refresh the "spheres" (/areas) of my life that felts somehow neglected or put aside
- but most of all: enjoy the life (again!)
Oh boy, I haven't felt so good for AGES.
And don't get me wrong - it has nothing in common with hedonism or any kind of temporary pleasure. It was more about re-learning myself, refreshing my priorities, re-assessing the boundaries of what I'm willing to sacrifice & for (the sake of) what.
What did I find out (from that introspection) then? Just a few things, but of a significant importance (for me).
- Once an engineer, always an engineer. Crafting (useful) things is still what really drives me. And no, I'm not going back to doing the individual contributor's work on the daily basis. I'll always be looking for having more & more leverage on the other engineers' work - but it feels so great to keep myself up-to-date, learn new things & solve real-life problems (with smarts & engineering).
- In my chase for doing more & more, I've sacrificed things that mid- & long-term were bringing incredible value (& kept me sane ...). Such things like having a daily, 20 min-long walk (as a break during work) were switching me into neutral gear, hence allowing me to get a new (more pro-active) perspective & unleashing (seriously) creativity.
- Your life balance is very fragile & what's worse - you don't necessarily notice when it's disturbed; This is very dangerous for gritty people (as the undersigned ...) who are highly competitive, treat goals very ambitiously and rarely look back.
- The number of battles you fight in parallel in a given time matters a lot - especially if some of those battles: do not contribute to the final goal OR simply can't be won OR are deeply against what you believe (/build your value system upon). TL;DR - some compromises are not worth making.
- The closer you are to the perceived effects of your efforts, the bigger the incentive to go on - there aren't many things comparable to seeing the value you've added "in the wild", making a difference right in front of your eyes. Nothing beats staying hands-on & getting down "to the trenches" (at least once in a while).
Not everything went according to the plan (e.g. wrecking the car in an accident wasn't exactly my concept for resetting ...), but screw that, I won't let anything ruin this "reset experiment" for me. I've learned that hard way that there's a limited number of f*cks to be given and everyone has to honestly answer him/herself individually (regularly - once in a while, not just once!) where to allocate yours (so you have no regrets in future).
I did my homework here, make sure you do yours as well.