life philosophy rant

Lately I’ve come to terms with the fact I need to try something new in my life - a true change in direction. I anticipate that this blog will take the same direction, so there will likely be less and less “developer” posts and more and more posts of me living this new path. (TLDR: unsubscribe now, probably!)

Why the change in direction? I’ve had my fun, I’ve lived a comfortable life where I really haven’t had to worry about money (yet), but I’ve learned the hard way that buying “stuff” doesn’t buy happiness. It’s trite and it’s something you always hear, but I guess it’s something you have to figure out for yourself, the hard way. I read Walden in high school and thought I’d learned from its lessons. But I re-read it recently and came away completely changed. I can get by with a lot less, and most importantly - with a more meaningful job that pays much less.

I’ve worked at a few big companies and become a somewhat competent (and surely incompetent in some ways) frontend web developer. It’s a great way to grow right out of college and a really comfortable way to live out on your own for a little while. It’s probably a way to continue making a living while supporting a family, but that hasn’t happened to me yet.

And in any case, it’s not for me.

At the end of the day I can’t really say I’ve made a real difference in the world. I can work as hard as I can, but at the end of the day I’m just making websites for entertainment. Which is not to say there aren’t good causes out there, I suppose. And it’s not to say I can’t funnel some of this money into good causes, which I’m been forcing myself to do more and more in very small ways (I seem to be a naturally selfish person, but I’m trying to get better in that respect). But I can’t get past the feeling that my time can be better spent.

Now’s a fantastic time for web development, with so many opportunities to learn and grow as a developer, and so many opportunities to publish new findings and pioneer new methods. There will be trailblazers and figureheads, and people making an awesome use of technology. But it won’t be me. I’m taking steps to make sure of that.

At one time I viewed my web development skill as simply a means to an end - and only within the past few years has it been considered what philosophers would call “an end in itself”. I picked up this hammer to learn how to build. For a few years I joined the company of some of the best hammersmiths in the world. I even attended hammersmith conferences. But now I’m resting this hammer down for a little bit of a rest.

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