Turning 40: a review of the last decade

| life, review

10 years ago, I wrote that I was on the threshold of even more changes and two wildly different paths, and that I was looking forward to learning, sharing, and scaling. Here's how that worked out:

  • Learning: I've been learning a ton about myself, life, and the people and resources around us, and skills that make our lives better. Drawing my thoughts out has been really helpful for untangling them. I haven't focused on tech as much, but sometimes I make little improvements here and there so that I can make the most of my limited screentime.
  • Sharing: Parenting's been keeping me too busy to create lots of focused resources. I'm not too worried about this, though, since lots of other people are making cool stuff for Emacs.
  • Scaling: Emacs News has been a really time-efficient way for me to help out with the Emacs community, and all the automation I've built around EmacsConf lets me squeeze it into the time I have. For consulting, I've been able to help other people learn by answering quick questions, and I continue to have fun making the client's crazy ideas happen.

Wow, 2013 to 2023 brought a lot of big changes to my life.

Text from sketch

Life in my thirties

Big changes:

  • Parenting:
    • I approached or hit my limits more than I used to, but that's part of what I signed up for, and it's a good opportunity to learn and grow.
      • Next: more patience, empathy, curiosity, and love
    • I have a deeper appreciation of W- and the people and resources available.
      • Next: use the inspiration to keep growing
  • COVID-19:
    • I have a deeper appreciation of W- and the people and resources available.
  • Consulting:
    • I have fun creatively solving challenges
    • Next: scale up by helping others learn
  • Emacs News, EmacsConf:
    • I found ways to help out even with the constraints on my attention. The Emacs community is thriving, and I enjoy being part of it.
    • Next: tinker & share more
  • Hobbies:
    • I'm more comfortable making things, growing things, preserving things.
    • Next: learn more skills, practise, organize

Looking ahead to my forties:

  • Parenting: From 7 years old to 17 years old is a ton of growth! This is the payoff from the last decade's setup, and the setup for decades to come.
  • As A+ becomes more independent, I'll have more time and energy for my own things. I want to work on the interests I share with W- as well as my own stuff: cooking, gardening, sewing, crafting, …

Text from sketch
  • 30 (2013-14): lots of drawing & writing, Hacklab, Emacs Chats, Google Helpouts, Frugal FIRE, self-publishing, trip to PH
  • 31: slow days, helped with new Hacklab, high-profile consulting project, sewing, laser cutter, Canadian citizenship
  • 32: library hackathon, A+! Sleep disruption, microphthalmia, lots of appointments, Emacs News, basement tiles, sewing for A+
  • 33: House projects, Royal Ontario Museum, conformer, lost shell, walking & talking, Learning Tower, cooking, Healthy Babies Healthy Children, trip to PH, de Quervain's
  • 34: Checking off medical questions, music, my dad died, dental surgery for A+, little books, city resources for kids, lots of trips to PH, babysitter experiments, bike trailer
  • 35 (2018-19): Why? more books, journal, Planet Emacslife, more consulting during the day, playdates, EarlyON, NL, PH, cousins
  • 36: EmacsConf, ReactJS, Docker, COVID lockdowns, tobogganing, gardening, Heroica, library card, allowance
  • 37: virtual school, exemption, reading, garden cage, sewing, steno, Pride & Prejudice, 11ty, Numberblocks
  • 38: cubing, Cinderella dress, pressure canning, glasses for A+, outside, house tweaks, skating, cursive, COVID vax, SuperNote, friend group, playdates, lemonade stand
  • 39: EmacsConf streaming, being outside, virtual grade 1, homework, learning to trust A+, semi-unschool, more cubing, swimming, Minecraft

Parenting will probably take up most of my forties. I think the biggest thing I need to practice is calm, appreciative curiosity: not letting my worries or reactions or shoulds get in the way of being present, enjoying what's there, and helping figure things out together. It's tough, but it's what I signed up for, and that skill will also come in handy as I learn to deal with aging and world weirdness.

It's been a good ten years. Looking forward to seeing what we can make of the next ten.

You can comment with Disqus or you can e-mail me at sacha@sachachua.com.