One of my favorite songs by Pearl Jam has got to be "In Hiding." It’s a song inspired by a poet/writer who was known for disappearing into his room for days on end, with no contact with the outer world. It's not my favorite because of the lyrics or meaning of the song. The melodics just rock. But the meaning of the song is pretty cool too. Sometimes you just need to check out. And when you are ready to check back in things really haven’t changed, but on the other hand it really has changed a lot because your perspective has changed.
For me, 2010 was a year of checking out of contributing to open source software and participating in 'the scene' so to say. It wasn’t so much that I intended to check out, it just kind of slowly happened and when I realized where I was I just went with the flow for a while. And again, it wasn’t that I conciously checked out, it’s that other things filled the space and time I used to set aside for OSS hacking.
Family was the first to intrude on the space. The beginning of the decline started around November, when the major family focused holidays occur here in the USA. If I was Canadian, the decline may have started in October. And if I was in Europe... I don’t even know what the Christmas season would be like without a precursor holiday like American Thanksgiving. But I had more things I needed to do. More places to be on weekends. There were more weekday evenings that I had tasks to accomplish. And since Groovy and Griffon wasn’t my paying day job I couldn’t exactly work on those on the clock.
And then there was work. Work actually stopped sucking. When I started devoting time on the weekends and evenings to Groovy and Griffon it was mostly as a release for daytime assignments that were absolute crap. I knew it and the powers that be knew it as well, but we both realized that someone had to do it and the most appropriate (available?) person wound up being me. Writing beautiful code and being able to reach into the compiler and make it behave in ways I saw fit was a wonderful salve to the psychic pain that was endured by domesticating the beast I had been bequeathed. It kept my hand to the plow long enough so that someone else could take control. And if I still had that task today, I’m sure I would have tried to quit sometime in the past year.
So in the world of good-fast-cheap (pick two), I chose family and work. You needn’t presume any medical, family, or emotional crisis. There weren’t any dramatic work meetings involving lawyers and contracts. And I sure didn’t win the lottery and buy myself an island off of the Florida Keys. I just needed to go dark because my light only goes so far.