Late December is always a serious time of reflection and introspection for me – when I review the year that is ending and take stock of where I am in life. It seems to occur at this time of year for a lot of reasons – one, coming off of the holidays, usually exhausted and almost burnt out with the office and trying to get through all of the necessary holiday preparations, and having spent time with family and friends that I don’t see near often enough. Two – the coming end of the calendar year seems to inspire reflection. And three – throw in to the mix that my birthday is New Year’s Eve just seems to amplify the inherent need to take stock. To be brutally honest, it is usually a rough, sobering and somewhat depressing experience each year – admittedly in no small part to the fact that I am consistently overly self-critical (or so I’ve been told).
This year is different from the rest – because it is probably the most difficult, most sobering, most confusing year-end experience I’ve encountered to date. On top of everything else, this year is different because I am hitting a milestone – I’m turning 30 – and I am looking at what I’ve accomplished over the past decade. Secondly, tragedy struck a few days ago when one of our clients – and someone whom I’ve known for about 15 years – died completely unexpectedly of a massive coronary at the prime age of 52.
So on one hand, I find myself reviewing not only the last year, but the last decade of my life – taking stock, trying to determine if I made a difference. On the other hand, I’m looking at a life cut short and facing my own mortality, and wondering how my life would be summed up if it were to end tomorrow. And to be brutally honest, I don’t know how to answer that . . .
I love what I do. It is safe to say that technology is my life’s passion – often times I surprise myself when I can get so immersed in a project that I literally lose hours of time – being completely unaware that I’ve been working on the project for that long. I always want to know more, understand new products and technologies while keeping on top of the products and technologies I’m already familiar with. The bright side is that our customers reap the benefits, and I derive great joy from that. As the saying goes, if you love what you do, then you’ll never work a day in your life – and I consider myself extremely lucky to not have to work, but to be able to do what I do day in and day out.
The not-so-bright side is that I don’t balance well . . . Even when dealing with technology, I’m much better diving deep into one project and staying there until it is done, than trying to juggle multiple things at once. When dealing with life, I have a very bad tendency to get lost in my work – and have absolutely no life as a result.
So, the challenge at hand is to try to bring my big picture into focus – to determine if I’m on the right path, or if I need to make drastic changes. While I’ll admit that I’m a bit confused and disoriented in this task at the moment, there are a few things that I’m completely sure of: I have a great, close-knit family, I’ve been blessed with the opportunity call some amazing people friends, and most importantly – no matter what tomorrow brings – it is a gift and a blessing . . .