The people I looked up to when I learned to program are now getting to about 50 and I've seen many of them suffer from stress and endless sitting. I've seen some try to do something about it and several succeed even. This has motivated me to make sure I take care of myself. In high school I was forced to play sports (which turned out to be a good thing). In college I discovered skateboarding and loved doing it so much that I never had to think about keeping active. Lately I've taken specific action to make sure health and strength don't just accidentally happen. I've tried working with a personal trainer, capoeira training, and velodrome training, and have arrived at my own calisthenics plan which continues to make me stronger. This time last year I could not do one pull up, for example, to save my life on a good day. Now I can do more than 10. This has helped to improve everything else I do, even just sitting at a desk to work.
I saw what happens when you do nothing. I saw how hard it is to get back to healthy once you're past the line. I never want to get to that point.
My dad and my mom worked very hard to give my siblings and me a decent shot at life. Because of this, I've done what I could to take advantage of that situation. I have learned and grown, moved around, and been part of things like Appsterdam.
Appsterdam is something I am very happy to be a part of and proud of my contributions to it. It is a volunteer organization: nothing happens if someone isn't willing to put the time and thought into making it happen. My event, Peer Lab, has been running for just over three years now. Every Saturday since then there has been a place in Amsterdam where anyone can come and talk to or get help from fellow software engineers. I've seen a number of people come through when they were first learning to program who now have jobs and/or their own apps in the store. Some people, like my friend Ash Furrow, have even taken the idea with them when they left Amsterdam to spread Peer Lab to other cities. Now when you go to New York, you can enjoy a Saturday morning (although a bit later-starting) with local developers at the Artsy office in Manhattan.
Two things have changed the world for me as an adult: skateboarding and programming. Learning to program conveniently got me into a job I enjoy with control I'm lucky to have and a community that's great to be a part of. Learning to skateboard gave me the confidence and courage to take advantage of my position. Power is useless if you can't use it, skateboarding gave that to me. I stopped skateboarding after moving to Amsterdam because the weather and lack of nice bowls to skate (roundwall, if you will), but years of not skating seems to be not good for me. I just picked up a new board to fix this problem.
Here's to turning 30. I'm in a good position in my career and health, surrounded by a global web of friends I enjoy, and I'm an uncle to a cool nephew and niece. In today's fairly awful world, I'm an extremely lucky guy and I'm glad you're a part of that.