Keeping Your Programming Skills Fresh

"Writing a book is equal parts frantic research and tedium, and in the first of many moves designed to convince myself that my actions had a positive effect on a cruel and uncaring universe, I took up Michael Schwern's call to unify the internals of Test::Simple and Test::More. The result is Test::Builder.
This was a revolution for everyone on the perl-qa list and it was a revolution for Perl in general, but it's the kind of revolution that you look back on now and think "Wow, that was obvious!" and "That was a revolution?" because it seems like such widespread common sense, like "It's good to drink water!" and "Maybe smoking has deleterious health effects."
It was important to keep my programming skills fresh, so I increased the amount of time spent contributing to free software projects (in and around writing books). Parrot sucked up a lot of my efforts.
For someone whose life obligations preclude selling everything and living on a beach in Thailand or Belize for a year, how do you evaluate a career reaching its midpoint? How do you keep programming fresh? How do you market yourself as someone who solves problems instead of someone who transcribes ideas in the language du jour? Or do you leave programming altogether?
-- chromatic, emphasis added
Stumbled upon this post again. Rather than seeking outwards goals, why not look within yourself and start making yourself happy? No need to prove anything, to anyone and yourself. At the end of the day, this does not matter anymore. Rather, seek tranquility. Treat yourself better. Be kind of your self. Listen to your body. And stop bullshitting yourself.

Do I still want to keep my programming skill fresh? Yes. If so, you'll find time to do it regardless what. Nobody can prevent you from doing something you love and enjoy. Remember to take a break, don't overdo it. Rest is important.

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