Now I Am 40
Well, I made it to 40.
That being a somewhat significant life milestone, I figured I’d stop to reflect a bit.
To celebrate the occasion, I rented out a local theater (a smaller 18-person place) and we had a private screening of Star Trek Beyond along with a great dinner while watching. It was a great time with family and friends.
I think 40 is not a bad place to be. I feel like I’m now old enough to “know better” but not so old I can’t still take risks. As it’s been approaching I haven’t looked at it in fear or with any real sense of “mortality” as it were, just… “Hey, here comes a sort of marker in the road of life. I wonder what it’ll mean?”
I feel like I’ve lost at least a little bit of that rough edge I had when I was younger, and that’s good. Looking back at the blog history here the tone of posts have changed to be slightly less aggressive, though I can’t honestly say a bit of that isn’t still inside me. I still don’t suffer fools gladly and I still get irritated with people who don’t respect me or my time. I’m not a patient guy and I have about ten minutes’ worth of attention span for poorly run meetings.
I’m working on it.
I’ve been in professional software development for about 20 years now. The majority of that work has been web-related, which is sort of weird for me to think that field has been around for that long. I remember doing a project in college writing a web CGI library in Standard ML and that was pretty new stuff.
As of this year, 15 of my career years have been spent at Fiserv. Given my first job was when I was 14, that’s actually most of my working life. I was originally hired at Corillian, which was subsequently acquired by CheckFree, which, in turn, was acquired by Fiserv. With all the changes of management, process, tools, and so on, it feels like having worked at different companies over the years even though the overall job hasn’t changed. That’s actually one of the reasons I haven’t really felt the need to go elsewhere - I’ve had the opportunity to see product development from a long-term standpoint, experience different group dynamics, try different development processes… and all without the instability of being an independent contractor. It’s been good.
I originally went to college wanting to be a computer animator / 3D modeler. Due to a series of events involving getting some bad counseling and misleading information, which I am still very bitter about, I ended up in computer science. Turns out art houses believe you can teach an artist computer science but computer scientists will never be good at art. Even if you have a portfolio and a demo reel. So that was the end of that.
That’s actually why I started in web stuff - I was in love with the UI aspect of things. Over time I’ve found the art in solving computer science problems and have lost my interest in pushing pixels (now with CSS).
I still have a passion for art, I still do crafts and things at home. I really like sewing, which is weird because when I was a kid I would feel dizzy in fabric stores so I hated it. (My mom used to sew when I was a kid.) I actually called them “dizzy places.” I’m curious if maybe I had a chemical sensitivity to the sizing (or whatever) that ships on the fabric. Maybe I was just super bored. In any case, I really like it now. I like drawing and coloring. I like building stuff. I’m probably not the best artist, but I have a good time with it. I do wish I had more time for it.
I waited until later in life to start a family. I’ve only been married for coming up on 10 years now, though I’ve been with my wife for 16 years. I only have one kid and she’s five so she came along slightly later, too. That’s probably a good thing since she’s quite the handful and I’m not sure I’d have had the patience required to handle her in earlier times. I still kinda don’t. I definitely don’t have the energy I would have had 15 years ago or whatever.
I only have one grandparent left. My wife has none. My daughter really won’t know great-grandparents. I’m not sure how I feel about that. I was young when I met my great-grandparents and I honestly don’t remember much about them. I’m guessing it’ll be the same for her.
I love my parents and have a good relationship with them. They’re around for my daughter and love her to pieces. That makes me happy.
I have two sisters, both of whom I love, but only one of whom still talks to the family. The one that still talks to us has a great life and family of her own that means we don’t cross paths often. I’m glad she’s happy and has her own thing going, but I realize that our lives are so different now that if she weren’t actually related to me we probably wouldn’t really keep in touch. A lot of the commonality we shared as kids has disappeared over time.
Friends have come and gone over the years. I don’t have a lot of friends, but I’m glad to say the ones I have are great. I’m still friends with a few people I knew from school, but my school years weren’t the best for me so I don’t really keep in touch with many of them. Some folks I swear I’d be best friends with for life have drifted away. Some folks I never would have guessed have turned into the best friends I could have. I guess that’s how it goes as people change.
I haven’t made my first billion, or my first million, but I’m comfortable and don’t feel unsuccessful. I wish we had a bigger house, but there is also a lot of space we don’t use so maybe it’s just that I want a different layout. I feel comfortable and don’t live paycheck to paycheck so I can’t say I’m not fortunate. (Don’t get me wrong, though, I’m not saying I’m not interested in money. I don’t work for free.)
Anyway, here’s to at least another 40 years. The first 40 has been great, I’m curious what the next batch has in store.