Taking a little time

I’m a software engineer, an author, a blogger, a tech junkie; I am many things to many people, some of whom I’ve met, many of whom I haven’t. But most of all, I’m human. I’m not just a JavaScript machine constantly trying to find better ways of doing things. I do feel pressure to do things better, faster, more optimized, and to then describe how I did it so that others can learn; I’m an author, that’s my job. I want to teach, I want to share, I want to discover. People depend on me for this and I gladly take that role. It’s easy for them to forget that I’m also human…and sometimes it’s easy for me to forget that too. As an author, I want to continue teaching you, but as a human being, right now, I’m hurting.

I don’t typically blog about my personal life, but as this is my blog, I can change my mind anytime, and am choosing to do so now as part of my coping mechanism. Late last week, my girlfriend broke up with me. This wonderful guide, loving supporter, partner in crime, and kind soul unexpectedly stepped out of my life. The reasons why aren’t important; I learned a long time ago that you can do nothing wrong and things may still not work out. This knowledge doesn’t pacify me now, though, as I try to cope with one of the worst broken hearts I have experienced.

I’ve always found romance to be intriguing. I was always blown away thinking that somewhere out there in the wide world, there is someone who doesn’t even know I exist, someone who’s life has gone on without the knowledge of someone named Nicholas C. Zakas, who he is or what he does. And yet someday, that someone will become the most important person in my life and vice versa. Someday, we won’t remember what life was like before we met. Someday, the thought of losing the other will be so crushing that we dare not think it.

I lived that experience first hand moving out to California. I came out by myself, without knowing a soul. And then there was this someone, this perfect someone, who came into my life. Two lives starting literally on opposite coasts, traveling along very different paths that somehow found a way to cross at one perfect moment. That someone, who became the most important person in my life for what seems like both forever and only a fraction of a second, is now gone. And I am hurting.

The irony of romance is that before it, you have no idea that anything is missing. I was okay out here before she entered my life. I was slowly finding my way around my new surroundings, making friends, getting to know people; I didn’t need her in my life. But then there she was. And now she’s not. It is just as it was before I met her: me, my apartment, my computer, my job. Yet, now there’s something missing, now it feels like there’s this big gaping hole in my life, now it feels like things will never be right again. But really, circumstances haven’t changed since before I met her…not knowing that you’re missing something in your life and then getting a rude awakening, that’s romance.

I had a lot of plans for this past weekend, all of which got sidelined due to this major change in my life. And so I came to a decision: I need to take some time to take care of myself, as a human. For the time being, I’m putting book proposals, side projects, and blogging on the shelf. There’s more to life than closures and browser differences and what exactly the difference between Ajax and DHTML is. There’s people, human beings; the soul behind the words, the code, the application. And this soul needs time to recover and try to find peace again.

I’m not sure when I’ll pick everything up again, but I’m sure I will at some point. In the meantime, if it takes me a while to return emails or phone calls, please don’t take it personally. And tell someone that you love them today. Until next we meet…


  1. Julian Turner

    Take all the time you need, Nicholas.

  2. Mike Shaffer

    Sorry hear that buddy...I'm trying to avoid any of the standard cliches here...but it'll get better. But most importantly, take a break -- it's all good.

  3. Peter Frueh

    That was eloquent -- and kudos to you for taking the time to find balance.

  4. Andrew Herron

    I think a nice trip to the north and some disc golfing would be in order.

    In the dire of times I found that being out in nature helped a lot; I highly recommend it!

  5. Bradley Baumann

    Sorry man =/

  6. Ricardo

    We will miss your posts Nicholas. See you soon...

    PS: "Je réponds ordinairement à ceux qui me demandent raison de mes voyages: que je sais bien ce que je fuis, mais non pas ce que je cherche". Montaigne, Essais.

  7. Lonnie Best

    Time will definitely take care of this, but here's how to minimize the amount of time.

    You're doing good by planning NOT to slave yourself to everyone (as usual). However, in addition to this, change every other aspect of your life that you can (all at once).

    For example, one time, after a bad break up, I immediately moved to another location. The day of the break up, I signed a lease at a really cool apartment complex across town, and I immediately moved all my stuff to that location. BTW, I wasn't living with this person, but she was a neighbor.

    36 hours after the breakup, I was unpacking all my stuff at my new pad. Here are some pics of that place (1999):

    You won't believe this; the move kept me so busy, that I couldn't dwell on the break up.

    As a matter of fact, I never looked back. So many things were different at the new place, that the fact that my girlfriend was gone, wasn't such an overwhelming point of focus. It made things really easy.

    Fight a surprise change with some surprise changes of your own.

    Good Luck,


  8. Lonnie Best

    P.S. Don't stay gone too long, else you'll be purchasing my books, and reading from my blog each day!

  9. Micheas

    I'm a chinese, not good at english, but good luck!

  10. salvo

    hi, there.. my first time here, I discover that in the world there are other human beings, with similar feelings, injuries... all I can say: take care of yourself and, when you don't know what to do to feel better, try going to a friend or put some smile upon your face. it helps

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