It's that time again when people take a moment to look back at their achievements in their past year. With this post I'm going to try and do the same. As 2018 runs its course, I stand to reflect on its passing by; learning from it and adjusting my professional and personal course.
2018 was a tough year
No point beating around the bush. 2018 was a pretty tough year for me. In my early childhood I have been diagnosed with a severe form of insomnia. At the beginning of 2017 I decided to take a sabbatical from my programming life. Allowing me to focus on getting mentally better. If you're interested, you can read more about it in a blog post I wrote here.
In many ways, 2018 meant a fresh start. It was an opportunity to leave the hardness of 2017 behind me.
Getting back to work after a year of absence was challenging to say the least. I've tried to redefine myself as a man, as a friend, as a brother and as a companion. Which.. Took a lot.
I set out to resolve my Insomnia in 2017 and placed everything I had up for gamble. I was neither victorious nor defeated. I'm still in this battle, working hard, having faith, hoping that it is bound to end one day.
But, for better or for worse, I have been working full-time for about half a year now. I'm really glad I was able to make a full (professional) recovery. But it was not easy. The taboo that still holds mental health issues is far but gone. That's why we say there is no taboo anymore ;).
The hardest part, for me, was to re-enter the society with this extra "baggage". You spent a year in a place where you experienced things that you simply cannot explain to anyone. You can't explain what you've seen, what you felt and what you've been through. Not really. So inevitably, you feel kind of lonely.
I imagine it is much like trying to explain what war is like, or going to prison, or something like that. People can grasp the idea, what they believe it must have been like. But they can never fully understand what you mean and what you've been through. Unless they witness or experience it themselves. So that's pretty tough to deal with.
I must admit that I find the topic of mental health issues pretty hard to write about. It is hard to share feelings and thoughts with the world and risk getting labeled insane, mad or "troubled". I can assure you, I am none of those. I'm just a guy who had a difficult childhood and is trying to find ways to deal with that as he gets older. Mental health issues are not a character flaw or a moral failing. It's an illness. It can be treated.
I must say that the community feedback I got on "In praise of idleness" helped and inspired me. They were honest, hearth warming and encouraging. They helped me write this post and others to come. I want to thank everyone who offered support.
In future posts I'd like to share how concepts of DDD and TDD helped me in my therapeutic process. I hope this will help lift the existing taboo and share some (funny) insights in how those concepts helped me find my way. It turns out that I am a programmer first, no matter where I go or what I do :).
A year of writing
2018 has been a lot of things. But, most of all, it was a year filled with writing!
I wrote two articles for DotNetCurry. Which was an awesome experience! It took some time adjusting to the deadlines and their way of doing things. But I learned and got a lot out of the experience. It is an honor writing and publishing articles for their magazine.
You can read my published articles on The DotNetCurry site:
- Command Query Separation (CQS) - A simple but powerful pattern
- Integration Testing made Simple for CRUD applications with SqlLocalDB
Because those articles took up a lot of time, my own blog got less attention. Dividing that attention will be priority for 2019!
A year of getting back to work!
Once you begin a long treatment for any kind of illness, the most important question will always be: "when are you ready to start again?". Start too soon, and relapse might be hanging over your head. Start too late, and you'll get "too accustomed" to the life away from your normal habitat. So at a certain point, you have to take your leap of faith. Even though you feel you are in a situation of "Zugzwang", like all the time. But at a certain point, you have to trust in yourself and in your treatment, and start over. Or, in my case, pick up where you left off.
I'm the Competence Manager at my company, Team4Talent. I'm currently also filling the role of Project Division Manager. Which is a challenge on its own.
I am currently a hybrid of an Architect, Project Manager, Team Lead, Technical Lead, Coach and Competence Manager. I'm still searching for ways to incorporate so many roles into a 40h workweek. Which has proven difficult :).
It is not always easy working in a high pressure (and high reward) environment. Both taking on deadlines and trying to coach people into reaching theirs at the same time. But I love what I do. I love the company I work for and the people I work with.
A year of diving into technologies
If you've been gone from the technological landscape as long as I have, you have to make an effort to get back on top of everything. It's like trying to follow the news after a period of long black-out. If everything was to stop for one day (or maybe one week), you might be able to catch up. But it doesn't, and you can't.
Nowadays we seem to choose the most complex solutions to solve our problems.
Front-end applications get so complex that it takes you hours to change the state of a simple form-control. Functional Programming paradigms are more and more incorporated into the front-end world. I can't help feeling a little lost when I hear about Reducers, Mutations, Immutable stores, etc.
On the back-end it seems everything evolved in a similar way. All greenfield applications nowadays seem to have to include state of the art CQRS with event sourcing architectures, split up into micro services; all running in Docker containers. The fact that you use such complex software designs for simple CRUD applications seem to make no difference at all anymore..
It would seem the development world has gone a bit mad in the past few years. But it's possible I've been out of it for too long..
But, I love learning new things. As a senior developer terms as "too complex" or "too big" don't really scare me anymore. So I'm not that worried :).
2018 has been tough. Maybe one of the toughest years in my life, it's hard to do that kind of comparison. 2019 will not be a walk in the park either, I know that much. But as long as I'm still standing, doing the things I love, working towards and achieving my goals; I'll be fine.
There will be lots of challenges along the way. It will be cold and it will be lonely at times; and there will be a fierce wind blowing. But I'll just have to turn my collar up and keep walking. Knowing I'll arrive someday.
You can't cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water.
So once again, big things, a new start, new goals. I wish you all the best of luck with your own ventures, dreams and goals.
May you all have a successful and amazing 2019!