I recently returned from a two-week long trip to Europe. I spoke at three conferences and a meetup, and I gave a six-hour lab on reactive programming. I was also maintaining regular contact with work to address some critical issues related to an upcoming deadline, even though I promised them (and myself) that I would be focusing on the trip.
Three countries, three talks, one workshop, seven take-offs and landings – these all add up to one unavoidable outcome:
I am exhausted.
This is actually quite a revelation to me; let me explain. For months – over a year, actually – I have felt exhausted. But I knew that it was the depression. Therapy and adjustments to my medication have helped alleviate the dampening and other symptoms of depression. During most of my trip, I felt normal. No foreboding dread, no sense of impending doom, no anhedonia.
I had ups and downs, sure, but they were all related to things that were going on at the time. I felt stressed when I was under pressure, not all the time. Most of the time, I felt great.
But I still felt exhausted, and I am now forced to come to the obvious conclusion that I work too much.
This isn’t out of character for me – I’ve worked too hard most of my life – but I see the toll that it’s taken on my friendships, on my marriage, and on my health. And I need to do something about it.
It’s time for me to shift away from external obligations, at least for a time. For the next six months, I’ll be declining new obligations (conference talks and stuff). My time will be spent focusing on my work at Artsy and the Peer Lab I run on Saturdays. I’ll be spending my free time with my wife and friends. When I feel like it, I’ll do some writing and open source contributions, but for now I need to focus on rebalancing my life.
This means my upcoming book will be delayed, and that sucks. But I’m trying to not feel guilty about it, because there are more important things than writing software.
The rest can wait, I need some time for me.