Written April 3, 2014

Mental Contention - The Fight to Keep Learning

You are in your mid thirties, wife, kid, home, great job, everything is humming right along, and yet … you are stymied in a micro existential crisis.

I have been battling a faux crisis lately. One that is completely self-manufactured and despite a healthy dose of reality from the wife and father, I am still slogging through this one … the root cause: functional programming. That’s a little unfair, it was actually functional programming that pushed me over the edge; but, I was headed to the cliff long before. The image below is the foundation of my issues:<

Not only do I have a dozen projects going at work; but, I am relentlessly studying just as many subjects at home. The above is just part of the stack of this years commitment to be a better programmer, engineer, & architect. And what’s missing from the above photo are the online lectures, conferences, the endless stream of white papers, blog posts, tweets, & podcasts.

Over the last few months, I have slowly ramped up to, and finally hit, peak bandwidth … it’s infuriating.

This post was abandonded a few weeks ago in shear frustration over the topic. I let things percolate, and have had a breakthrough on the topic. Solution: focused curriculum.

In school we are guided through topics, perhaps not at the pace or on the path that best suits us; but, we are guided nonetheless. When self guided, our meandering path becomes an immense tree structure with “shiny” around every turn.

Since I was initially derailed by F#, I dropped it all. The jQuery and web development, domain driven design, and even the database books are closed so I can focus all my attention on F# and functional programming. While I am not necessarily learning more information, the learning is going deeper, at a relaxed and consistent pace.

A couple of nights a week, I set out D. Syme’s Expert F# and Petricek’s Real World Functional Programming, and for now just type code. Low stress, low energy; time just spent teaching the fingers how to type the language. The twitter feed is tuned for all things F# and I have bulked up the feedly list with the blogs of some keep functional players.

So whats this whole post about? Just a message to myself to slow down. This is a journey and I don’t have to do it all at once. That’s all.