I say this is an awakening

Some would say this is a mid-life crisis. I say this is an awakening.

I say this is an awakening
Photo by Lucian Alexe / Unsplash

Definitely not aiming to turn this into some sort of old man's blog, but as you get more comfortable in your skin in your forties, some things and aspects of life suddenly start looking different, even make sense, dare I say.

In my case, it started by recognizing my own patterns. Let's talk about it.

From the moment I embarked on my career, I was always driven by curiosity and exploration. Yeah, I realize now I wasn't doing any ground-breaking discoveries or pushing the boundaries but I was eager to always push the envelope in the context of what others around me were doing. It was fun and was taking away some of the boredom at my first jobs but in retrospective I can definitely see how that caused some of the frictions I faced early on when I tried to break away from the mold. My reasoning at the time was also very immature and short sighted, I couldn't believe how anyone was not willing to embark on wild rewrite efforts just for the sake of using the shiniest tools and frameworks available. Yeah, I was that kind of immature developer back then.

When I couldn't get my way I would unconsciously start looking for an exit – sometimes that would take years, sometimes months; but in the end the inevitable would happen and I would choose to go check greener pastures.

I repeated this pattern several times over the years. I jumped jobs several times because I wasn't happy with the particular tech stack the company I was working for at any given time was using and I can see how short sighted that was. This is not a regret post though, it has its advantages as well, mainly being exposed to several tech stacks and also getting a bigger compensation each time I did jump ship. This would however break any resemblance of long-term planning and I would get used to this.

Then life happens. You have responsibilities and your perspective is not clouded by shallow struggles and aspirations anymore. It is amazing how time becomes your biggest teacher – once you are faced with a challenge bigger than yourself you suddenly have the ability to look back on your decisions (both conscious and unconscious) and realize all the wasted time and opportunities and some regrets start to surface. This is good though, this is the kind of shift perspective that you didn't know you needed and is a catalyst for deep introspection that will get you laser focused and aiming for big changes in your life and surroundings.

Some would say this is a mid-life crisis. I say this is an awakening.

Suddenly, the clock is ticking and you understand that life is finite. I remember being fixated on Pink Floyd's Time many years ago, and I would say I always knew the song was spot on when it says:

And then one day you find
Ten years have got behind you
No one told you when to run
You missed the starting gun

This is true even if you didn't slack and actually spent the time building stuff and caring about your future. Even if you think you were diligent, you will find yourself questioning if you actually did enough. Realizing half of your life is already gone, and you are not getting any younger is a really scary thought but one that needs to be faced and accepted. Things don't look too promising? Good news, there's still time but it's limited and you need to be ultra focused on making the most out of it. Time is your most valuable resource and it gets scarce by the minute.

And this brings me back to my original thought. I no longer think of jumping jobs whenever things don't go my way. Stability and long-term goals never looked so appealing to me. There's still a hunger for constant learning and improving myself, but the driving force behind it is not the somewhat distracted wandering of 20 years ago. The purpose becomes clear and it makes for an even stronger will to push further than ever before.