The last two years have been very tough on me. Work has been a succession of pleasurable experiences and massive conflicts. My OSS projects have been getting competition, some friendly and some down-right uncalled for. I’ve fought a couple of sour battle with Microsoft and received many hits below the belt, while others have welcome my contribution openly. I’ve separated from a 3 years relationship. I’ve had issues with my business. I’ve recreated a group of friends, lost some, recovered some.
I’ve also turned 30. Most people at my age seem to be getting married (and a lot of my geek friends have done just that), some even going as far as getting children or cats. And I still seem to live day after day without much evolution, spending most of my time fulfilling an unreasonable amount of commitments, and with what is left of my time trying to not think about those I have failed or going out with friends to try and do something else.
Over time, my relationship with people has also been strained by what some refer to as OCPD, but I won’t talk about this here too much. Let’s just say that it’s difficult to build self-worth when you continuously have to question yourself for not being the perfect business suit one would want you to be.
So it’s time for a change. This year, I’m simplifying. I’m posting this here in the hope that at the end of the year I’ll have achieved some of those goals. But really, it’s a catharsis, a way to get out what I keep in at all times. I wish I could talk about everything on here, and I can’t (as this will be indexed by google forever and follow me like the plague for the rest of my life), but it’s as good a start as any. And I’m pretty sure no one subscribes to this blog anymore, so it won’t be too much of an annoyance to people.
So here we go.
I’ve always struggled with friendship, I have been very demanding and have expected far more from people than what they were probably willing or able to give. This has lead many times to outbursts and strained relationships as I have tended to express my frustration and feeling of being unloved by rejecting people. This stops now. Those that are here are, those that are not I will let go without resentment. This is going to mean something with my use of facebook, but I’ve not decided what it’s going to be yet.
Work-wise, I have too much on my plate. My OSS activities started from a desire to build cool software, and turned years ago in constant marketing and competition rather than enjoying writing new code. The amount of projects is also straining my capacity to create new stuff I’m interested in. I’m letting go of this too. I’ll focus on the two things I want to build (mainly OpenRasta 3 and OpenWrap), and everything else I’m putting the community in charge, although it’s not excluded that the community may be called-in on OpenWrap soon too. This should relieve a lot of pressure I’ve had. Talks are also going to be reduced, less quantity and more quality.
It’s also time to reconsider my relationship to partying. I’ve done way too many parties, nights out and others that I didn’t really want to attend or wasn’t really going to enjoy. This year it will be quality over quantity. It’s a hard balance to strike however, as when you don’t see friends they tend to stop calling you, a vicious circle that can leave you very isolated. On the other hand of the spectrum, the social pressure to “just go to the pub” or “come for one” or “one more” is a very difficult one to counteract. Only way to be happy not going out is if you’re happy staying home, so I’ll be spending more time making my home a happier place to stay on my own.
Information overload is problematic when you react emotionally and radically to things. A lot of my energy has been spent defending viewpoints or debating online, mostly through twitter. So I’m reducing that too and I’ve now removed the “All friends” column from my client. I won’t read what anyone writes unless they ask me about it or mention me. I’m pulling the plug like I did with blog readers years ago.
Personality is a strange thing. Each person has their own view of what their personality is and ought to be, and for some people it doesn’t match friends and strangers’ perception. I have spent many years trying to appear softer, more proper, more socially acceptable, as I have been made to understand those were desirable features for success. It’s taken a lot of energy and made me fight and hate myself a lot, and it hasn’t even worked that well. Reading Steve Jobs’ biography has made me think a lot about interpersonal relationships at work.
I say what I think and I like things done right, and I’m not going to be apologetic about it anymore, it’s straining me. Those that work with me learn how I work and react and have always worked with / around it just fine. I’ve never gotten anyone to cry (I think). It only affects projects I work on for the better, that’s why people give me work. So this year I’ve decided to let go of the self-censorship and self-loathing. It’s who I am, and whatever the cause, fighting it will only lead me to a path full of moments I don’t want to have to live through again for no actual benefits.
Simpler, more fulfilling and focused on being happier. That’s what 2012 ought to be. What’s your new year’s resolutions?