Life happens

I have not blogged in a long time. Mostly this is due to a combination of procrastination and a sense that anything I did wish to say about the industry – HTML5, CSS3, vendor prefixes, progressive enhancement, responsive design, etc – was being said better by someone with far more reason to listen to then myself.

I’ve come to two realizations. One is that even if I reiterate some points that others make – specifically by attributing them – that it’s beneficial as it shows and builds my understanding of the issue as well as – by attribution and, therefore, SEO – strengthens the views expressed by the “giants” of my industry. Second is that sometimes it’s ok to “remove the mask” and show the human side. Reading the blogs of my peers and mentors has shown that they have a willingness to showcase not just industry knowledge. Through this I’ve gained an appreciation for both the person and their skill as well as a better understanding of them as a whole.

This second realization is what I wish to touch on today as the last year saw two life defining moments for me.

The first was one many here in the US felt. For almost 5 years I was the sole and principal UI developer for Helium. My code still exists everywhere on their site. Last July I lost my position with Helium.

For many, especially myself, we are defined by our jobs. First because in having a career it validates us to have a job. It shows that a company trusts our skill enough to validate us by paying us to do something we love. Something we do on our own – often without compensation. Second because it gives us purpose. Having a job is a responsibility – a reason to get up every morning, get in our car, and drive to an office. We have responsibilities to our fellow developers and to our users – something that all (good) developers feel and are motivated by.

Fortunately, in my case, this was actually a good thing. At the end of my time with Helium I was spending a good portion of my week working from home and sleeping very little. This was because I was spending most of my hours as the primary caretaker for my dad who was under hospice care. On August 3, 2012 we lost Dad.

Dad had suffered a stroke and heart attack back in 2004 and almost died then. He was never the same after the stroke but he was living and happy – and that was good enough. For the year or so before he passed Dad had been acting erratically. We didn’t realize how serious it was until he ended up going into the hospital in May and they told us. We had a scare in June and then in the beginning of July, after much cajoling – as Dad was always stubborn – we convinced him to move in with me so I could take care of him.

Losing Dad was difficult. However, in the eulogy I talked about something my Faith has taught me – seeing the blessing even in the bad. Losing someone I was close to changed my perspective on life. Different things are important to me now. I don’t worry so much about things that aren’t worth worrying about. While I falter sometimes – as we all do – for the most part I know to focus on what is really important and not to let the small things in life get me down. I’ve learned to count my blessings. For that part of it, I’m thankful.