Making space

I don’t feel like I do enough. Not an uncommon thing to feel in this day and age. I spent the last several years gunning hard, and I burnt out. My focus has been on work, travel, and the open source community of Drupal, but everyone has their own do, do, do demons. My main demon is the Drupal community. I feel like I should be pouring all of my spare energy into it, or if not there, then surely there are other practical things I should be doing with that time and energy, but I find that I simply do not. Perhaps that means I shouldn’t….


I used to work a government day job, and spend all my free time working on Drupal. I made space in my life for Drupal. I got sucked into the community hook, line and sinker. I got a job with Lullabot, doing Drupal all the time, and still spent my free time in the community. I loved it. I learned and grew. I was truly alive and thriving. I eventually became the doc lead and got a grant to make docs even better. My company was awesome about supporting it all. I was jet-setting around the world, spreading the open source love. I was doing all the things I wanted to do, working with everything that I could get my hands in. I was energized. I was on top of the world. And then somewhere along the way I realized I was lost. Just like that. The more I poured in, the emptier it felt. The faster I peddled, the slower I moved. Not only was this happening in the Drupal world, but worse, also in my personal life. Everything went grey and barren. Cue tumbleweed.

It sucked.

I stepped down. I stepped back. I withdrew. From everything. The Drupal community became just noise in the distance, as I reeled and tried to find some kind of purchase in my personal life again. Luckily I didn’t lose my job, but horribly, I did lose my nine-year relationship. It sucked hard.

Anyway, the whole point of sharing this is to bring me to the place I am today. I did manage to figure out how to reconnect myself to life. I talked to people about food, and language, and took photos. I started cooking again. I bought an awesome chef’s knife. I went outside and listened to birds. I made space for … the rest of my life. I still struggle with the guilt about losing my mojo, and letting a whole lot of people down in different ways. But, I have finally understood that I like sitting in a morning sun spot in a quiet room and just, well, sitting there. Thinking, dreaming. I like watching the steam curl up over my cup of tea. I like taking a camera and just going for a walk to see what’s down that street I never walked down before. I like meeting a friend for a cupcake and coffee. These are the things that I thrive on. It doesn’t mean that Drupal is a thing of the past; I still go to events and love to chat with people, I’m writing the second edition of Using Drupal, and I work in it every day (and I love my job right now even more). It just means that I make space for all the things that nurture me. Drupal is still a part of that, but only a part, and a relatively small one at this point. Work has its space too, but these days making space for well, open space, is more important and nurturing for me. And I’m beginning to be OK with that, sometimes. It’s a start.