Drupal: The post I was trying to avoid writing

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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!

Comments

It's been great to have the chance to get to know you from the local Drupal community - sucks to loose you! I wish you the best of luck and joy with your new endeavours. I'm sure our paths will cross every so often :)

This is, no doubt, the right decision for your heart and soul. While I'll miss seeing you at the occasional event, I'm sure we'll stay in touch - perhaps on Facebook. I occasionally make it to Vancouver, next time I'm there I'll try and look you up.

Lots of hugs,
Matthew.

Please do! It'd be great to hang out (outside of FB) again sometime. :) I will miss nerding out on PM methodology with you. ;)

Seriously. You are also super young and it's truly never too late. Plus you have a rad skill (Drupal) in case you ever need a part-time job or day job. I have a friend who decided to go to Emily Carr when she was 37 (she was a clerk at a library, no post-secondary education). So many people are scared to do these things...it's brave, but so worth it.

Thanks Julia. :) When it comes down to it, I don't want to wait until I'm retired to do what I really want!! I don't think I would have even realized this if I hadn't stopped working for a bit for my health stuff, so I'm actually thankful for it in a weird way...

You know how I feel about radical life changes, so...all I'm going to say is good for you. We've got ONE life. Who else should you be living it for anyway?

I hope your new career will be nice and beneficial for you in all possible ways! And do you have any particular ideas about field of action you're going to choose? I mean there are so plenty of artistic activities, and many of them are so different from each other... Or maybe is it secret for now?

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