I wasn't going to write this post, but I feel like I need to. I originally didn't know how I could do it without a classic "flame out", but I think enough time has passed that at least I can write it from a fairly removed perspective.
As friends and regular readers will know, I'm taking a break from most everything to rest and try and get my health into a better place. I stepped down as co-lead of Drupal's documentation team over a year ago, and left my previous job as a project manager at a web development company last April. Since then, I've been on what I'm calling a "health sabbatical". I haven't been attending any tech conferences, networking events, or much of anything else since then either (aside from occasionally tagging along on trips as the partner of a Drupaller, aka. a "Drupalganger", but not attending the event itself), and I don't plan to anytime soon.
You may know that I've been dabbling in creative pursuits, off and on as my energy has allowed. This has been really wonderful, and I hope that I can do more of it if/when I start feeling better.
Thing is, this time off has given me the distance to really admit to myself that I'd strayed very far from what my heart desires career-wise. From a young age, I wanted to do creative work for a living, ie. be a working artist. I was dissuaded from pursuing it, and bounced around from one field to another through university, and afterwards, trying to do everything but pursue my dream. I did this to try and please an unpleasable person, and late bloomer that I am, it took me a really long time to realize that I can choose to change, even now.
This is all a roundabout way of saying I don't plan to return to Drupal work.
I know a few of my close friends know this, and others may have suspected, but hoped differently or not wanted to ask... so I feel the need to just come out and say it. Sure it's possible that things won't pan out in the creative world, and that I will end up falling back on the career that I invested so much time and energy in building. (I won't get into the details on why I stopped doing Drupal contribution work, that's a whole other story, and would be a whole other decision to make - that's where the flameout post would come to life, and I think it's better left unsaid at this point.) But for now, once I'm feeling well enough, I intend to pursue my dream at least for a while, because I need to give myself a proper chance to fulfill this longtime unrequited desire.
Why am I bothering to "announce" this so late in the game? Because making it official has some repercussions, good and bad. Friends of convenience have already been lost, even some that I didn't expect. I've had job offers that I've had to turn down. Occasionally I get requests to volunteer for things and have to say no. I'd rather not have to say no - as flattering as it is, I just want to move on. I miss a lot of what came with Drupal work - especially a lot of the wonderful people I got to know, but also the feeling of community, contributing to something important... But there are definitely a lot of things I don't miss too.
I'm focusing on my health right now, and then I'm going to focus on getting back on track with the life I was pulled away from before I could really make my own decisions. I really hope you can all respect and support that. It's a decision that deep down I know I need to make. For my health, and for my happiness.
Who knows what the future holds - if I ever change my mind, I'll be sure to let you all know, but until then and for the foreseeable future, I have no plans to return to doing any official or full time form of Drupal work.
I now pronounce myself: end user!