Lack of Tinkering

I read something profound by Tom Lazar on Planet Plone yesterday. Unfortunately his site is having some difficulties at the moment so I can't give you a working link to his post (and it's now scrolled off the bottom of the Planet Plone page), but I have a quote thanks to Google's cache:

"But that all changed, of course, once I had my own family that I needed to support. Workwise this simply meant, that I had to start to earn more money in less time, given the obvious fact that expenses had risen and that work and play no longer were the only demands put on my time. Besides all the positive changes that life as a family father brings with it (yes, there are!), this also had the unfortunate effect, that I had less time to tinker and hack and needed to spend more time working 'billable hours'. That sucked. A geek without enough 'tinkertime' effectively stops being a geek..." (emphasis added)

That last sentence stung. Ten years ago, I had too much tinkertime. I had so much, partially because of a severe knee injury that limited my previously active lifestyle, that I pretty much ignored everyone. It was bad.

Then when we had Cyan, I was so used to doing my own thing I continued to ignore my family. It wasn't until Cyan was about 2.5 years old that I realized there was a problem and it was serious. Thankfully it wasn't too late.

Now in 2006, tinkering is at the opposite extreme. I do not tinker. At all. I haven't worked on a personal programming project in a LONG, LONG time. I still have a ton of ideas and things I want to do but they never get started, never mind finished. This is a source of constant disappointment for me.

I spend more time with my family now. I could spend more but I think I spend a healthy amount of time with my family as-is, at least, I think I do.

But I agree with Tom, a geek does need to tinker. I'll have to figure something out.

Written on August 1, 2006