My friend Rusty Zarse recently posted an entry about how he’s changing his life focus to better suit his passion for music. I met Rusty at a C# user group meeting in Atlanta and we immediately discovered that we had a lot in common. Like Rusty, I have a love for music, programming, and the arts. Rusty’s post has inspired me to write this post.
I have refocused how I live my life, as well. I used to be 95% computers, 4% music, and 1% everything else (including my wife). Now, I’m 80% Family, 15% computers, and 5% everything else (including music).
I have learned over the past six years that life is too short to waste away doing something you’re not passionate about. But, I was passionate about computers and programming, so that worked for me in the past. When I reworked my priorities, I discovered that I really do enjoy being around my wife and I like following my daughter’s adventures in life from afar (she lives with her mother in the Atlanta area while I live in Savannah, GA). I started finding that my spare time was better spent hanging out with Laurie rather than studying the bleeding edge of computer technologies.
At first, this had the unfortunate side effect of making me a poor candidate for a position as a developer, but as time went on and I learned to focus my efforts, I found that being a developer is much easier now that my life is in order. I have a wonderful job as a consultant working for a small company in Savannah (Advanced Business Software Corporation). I spend my work days implementing code in varying degrees of “newness”. Sometimes I’ll be maintaining old Visual Basic 6 code, and sometimes I’ll be writing more up-to-date MVC 4 code. I’ve even been working on a side project using a Single-page application (SPA) with MVC4, WebAPI, and Knockout js. The point is, I’m getting my fill of technology from my day job, so I very rarely have to take it home with me.
When I get home in the evenings, the first thing I do is feed the cat (he’s always at the door waiting for me to get home to feed him his “squishy food” and give him his insulin shot). Then, I kiss my wife and we exchange the following words; Me: “It’s good to see you”. Laurie: “It’s good to be seen”. Then we watch an Inspector Lewis on Masterpiece Mystery or an episode of America’s Funniest Videos on the DVR. Or, I’ll simply put a record on the record player and sit and listen.
Life is better now than it has ever been and I’m just now starting to see it. Sure, we don’t live in the city we would have picked if given the choice, but there weren’t any jobs in Waycross and this is the closest big city to Laurie’s mother’s house.
I regret some things I’ve done, but I’ve learned from my mistakes and I’m moving on. I don’t think I damaged anything beyond repair, but I did just disappear from the Atlanta .NET developer scene. It was too intense. I worked hard to make a name for myself and when I had accomplished what I had set out to do in 1996, I simply couldn’t hold it together. I am glad I do not work for Microsoft any more and I’m glad I work where I am today. I get praise for my good work and correction for my mistakes. It’s an honest living and I enjoy helping others.
I get a satisfaction helping my clients here that I could never achieve when working for the bigger companies.
I have to admit, though, that I miss the friendships and professional interactions I had as a community participant in Atlanta. I don’t think there are enough .NET developers in Savannah to warrant starting up a user group. Charleston, SC is only a few hours away, so it would be cool if they revived that UG.
I’m looking forward to Rusty’s future posts as it’s nice to read about something other than technology all the time.