It's been a long fourth quarter
I had not been writing for quite some time. Time was at a premium. Between working, then changing jobs from Knowbility to the great team over at WebstaurantStore, to W3C participation, to writing articles and speaking at virtual conferences, it was all a lot over the past two months.
Perhaps a bit too much. Or, let's face it, it was far too much.
Over that span of the last month and a half, the virtual conferences took its toll. While I had a terrific time and learned so much over the four conferences in October that I was attending (which were Clarity Conference and TPAC) and the two that I pre-recorded talks for (#A11yTOConf and Web Directions AAA), it was a lot. A lot that was too much in a short time.
Then came the burnout. that same familiar feeling I have felt over a career that has spanned over twenty years and probably a dozen times that I have burnt myself out due to an incredibly large workload.
Now usually when I can feel the burnout coming on, I take a break. Whether it is a weekend, which will cure the burnout sometimes, to a week off, I do it and it is done. Then I can come back and feel rested and ready to work again. But that was not the case this time.
I didn't take any time off in the transition of jobs from Knowbility to WebstaurantStore, and that may have, well okay, it was a mistake. A week off would have been great. The complacency though is something I can't sit with.
The start of the pandemic
I started the pandemic, having spent the majority of my time getting immersed in the W3C, side projects, and trying to find a job in the accessibility space. It was a difficult time persoanlly with things going on behind the scenes, but needless to say, I was not in a good place when the pandemic started.
To stay out of my own head and out of my own way, I decided to take on a lot more than I usually would have. I literally kicked off a new brand with the whole lobster thing, I started doing anything anyoen had suggested.
A podcast, a zine, all sorts of things to fill the time in and keep myself from sitting in my own head where that is a dangerous place for a guy like me.
Lots of things
As I mentioned before, I had a lot of things that were revolving around in my head that I was putting to task. Putting myself to work an immersing myself into community, writing, speaking, and anything I could do to pass the time away I thought would be good for me. Little did I know.
So as the days have gone on, I have managed to very slowly get things done and finalized. I've begin the process of cutting down on the groups and subgroups I belong to in the W3C, I haven't streamed in well over a year and maty or may not get back into that.
I have cut the little side projects until I can get free enough to maybe do one every now and again such as the zines.
Taking too much on is something I do constantly and I think developers and tech folks have done a lot as well. I see a growing wave of people that can keep their revolving projects under wraps and constrained to a few.
I download all these apps to list project ideas and remiind me of them and I siimply am just horrible at using those apps, nevermind start them up to even use them.
Lots of things can keep me out of my head, which is a good thing. Lots of things can be a bad thing, it tires a person out real quick. I havn't yet concluded the moral of this story, but I sure am tired.
Changes have been a lot over the past two years. I was looking for work for most of the year even though I had been employed up until May at a job I had held for five years, I got a new job in April that I left in October and transferred over to another position that month (October), I had two surgeries in August, I moved from Maine to Arizona, and in this timeframe, I kept attending and speaking at conferences, and learning.
It has taken its toll though. Towards the end, after the surgeries and the time taken to recover from them, I have agained all the weight back I had lost and more. I have been working non-stop without a break. Working constantly whether it was for a company I work(ed) for, W3C work, learning, reading, writing, prepping for a conference talk.
I threw all of myself into 2021 because I wanted to get myself out there and do conference talks, write articles, and I have done those things. If I could change one thing, I would take more time to do these things and I would have taken a little bit of time off here and there in between so as to not burn out.
Things have died down a lot, thankfully. I feel like I have time to breathe. Work, W#C meetings, and some writing take up my time but other than that I am taking time for myself to rest, relax, re-energize, and get back into shape. Self-care is super important and paramount to me making it through to the final years that I have left in the web/tech industry.
Looking down the road, I don't regreat the path I took, but I don't recommend it either. Take time for yourself so that you can be there for your family, your friends, and for others.