You could be doing and learning much more.
You could be earning more money and progressing in your career.
You could impact the world a bit further.
Yes, you could do A, B, ... XYZ.
The only thing I ask of you is to breathe deeply and think critically if whether these goals are set consciously by you or if they're imposed by society's expectations.
Remember that comparing yourself to others is a sure way to get the wrong idea and brew anxiety. These high achievers you're so keen on using as inspiration don't have the same trajectory as you, making it impossible to follow their exact path, which is actually a blessing, not a curse.
You have the privilege of being able to define your own path according to your values and beliefs, so please use it for good!
Yours truly, post-anxiety crisis you.
I almost didn't sleep last night, ruminating on how much I've been lacking as a professional lately. As of late, my body and mind have been lazy and tired, and focusing enough to learn a new topic or solving hard problems has been impossible. Then, after a day-long failed attempt of creating a cache strategy for my CI pipelines, I had the brilliant idea of scroll through a Twitter feed full of "2019 in review" posts, in which people were sharing their amazing year of crazy growth.
This text is just a way of reassuring myself that my path is valid and that respecting the body and mind's state is important. Else we fall victim to the demands of our capitalist society that wants to squeeze every little drop of our energy in favor of production, which in our software world means learning everything and regularly building tons of projects and products.
In the end, pushing your boundaries might not be so sustainable and end up hurting your productivity. I'll leave you with Justin Jackson's quote, which can easily be applied to any career:
Good businesses have margin.— Justin Jackson (@mijustin ) January 7, 2020
Profit margin, yes.
But also margin for your time, your emotional and physical health, your relationships, your sanity, and your integrity.
Low-margin work eventually leads to ruin. The margins rarely get better; the sunk costs get worse.
I know many of you suffer from this dilemma, what's your take on this?