A public diary during my short hiatus in summer 2022

For a couple of years now I planned on taking off a longer period of time from my day to day work. This year I finally was confident enough to do that but then the war in Ukraine happened and inflation happened and a lot of things that felt safe for me suddenly didn't (at least that much) anymore and so this is sort of a compromise already. Still, I am sitting here, on the 13th of June 2022 and I have (almost) nothing to do. Wow, that does feel weird.

I have now two weeks, then one week of Depfu offsite with Florian where we will discuss a couple of important technical challenges for Depfu and hopefully get somewhere implementation wise as well, then one week and then three weeks of an actual vacation with my SO. Originally I more or less planned to have double the time and spend at least part of that away from Hamburg but three weeks of more or less no obligations is still something I can't remember I have experienced for a looong time (excluding vacations).

A few obligations

I have a couple of loose ends with a client to tie up, but it is quite minor, I hope. Also, for this week and a bit of next week, I am on oncall duties for Depfu which sounds a lot more stressful than it actually is (unless something unforeseen happens, which is sort of the point of oncall, but we've been luckily somewhat devoid of these kind of surprises (actually knocks on wood). I have a weekly call with my brother who currently launches his coffee business to support him. That certainly doesn't feel really like work, but it kinda maybe is?

Some goals

So far in my career, every 4-5 years, a major shift happend. 2002 I started my first job, then in 2006 I had a bit of a chaotic year that lead to the next stable job which I finally left in 2012, very slimly missing a 5th year anniversary at mindmatters. 2012 I started my freelancing career and in 2016 we started Flowbyte which lead to the creation of Depfu.

Now, to be perfectly honest, Depfu is in a bit of a weird spot. We maintain it and we actually do a bunch of development on it, but given it's current revenue stream, it is firmly in the “too big to die, to small to become self sustaining” camp. It's not an issue per se, but it does mean that we both of us are still needing to work on other things to “get by”. (As you can see by the fact that I can simply take off almost two months, we get by quite okay).

So one of the goals (and one of the goals where I am not super sure I can accomplish it within this timeframe, but maybe I can make some headway) is to figure out how I want to balance Depfu and “the other stuff” in the future.

I'd love to be able to talk about “the other stuff” more openly, but, alas, that will have to wait.

Fact is, even though I can comfortably take some time off, due to some money we've been able to aggregate with the help of Depfu, the last 2-3 years have been quite exhausting. During the time I was “only” working as a freelancer, I managed to carve out a lot more time for personal projects and just hobbies than I can right now. The pandemic and the weight of our current political landscape did put a lot of extra pressure on my so that I often simply lacked the energy to even use free time that presented itself.

No plans/ All the Plans

I have a couple of rough ideas I want to explore during these few weeks but I have nothing actually planned. I know this sounds weird but the idea is to get a feel for what I really want to do without forcing anything. Here's an unstructured, unweighted list of ideas:

  • Work on some talk ideas for Euruko that would need either some coding or some more deep thinking and research.
  • Make more music again
  • Start to try to get back into photography
  • Explore some ideas for videos I want to make
  • Maybe start more writing again, as I have enjoyed that very much in the past and haven't done much of in a while.
  • Explore a couple of product ideas again I've had in the past and started to work on but that lay dormant right now.
  • Try to excercise more
  • Find ways for me to ramp my activism back up in a way that fits me and is effective.

One thing I had to sort of negotiate with myself though is that I don't set any expectations on any of these. If I end up just playing a lot of video games or finally get to build that fileserver I am thinking about for a while now and then start to properly organise my retro games collection, or if I just end up hanging out in the park or around the basketball court, so be it. We all went through a collective trauma throughout the last few years and still are going through it – I am in the fortunate and privileged position to take some time off to explore that trauma and maybe even heal it for me personally up to a certain point. In the hopes that this allows me to be a better, even-tempered, mindful and thus ultimately more human, human. Because that's a feeling that I miss. To just be a human. A Mensch.

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