In a word . . . Life.
If you want a little more detail, here are a LOT of words –
Let’s just say that SolidWorks has been a MAJOR part of my life for nearly two decades.
(Who am I kidding, it . . . has . . . been . . . my . . . life!)
3DEXPERIENCE World 2020 was my 14th SolidWorks Conference.
SolidWorks World 2006 was my first – After multiple years of begging and pleading my company to send me, I decided that I would just take vacation and pay for the whole thing myself. It was held in Vegas, which provided the perfect opportunity for Jade and I to get married!
2020 will mark my 15th year of being an officer in a User Group.
I helped run one of the earliest User Groups (Heartland SolidWorks User Group)
When that group disbanded, I was asked to start a new one, and SwugOne (SolidWorks User Group of Nebraska) was born.
I stepped down when I went to work for a VAR, and resumed my role when I took a job back in industry.
I have been the SWUGN Representative for the Southern US for the last 7 years or so.
During this time, I worked very hard to start new groups, revive old groups, and visit as many of the groups in my territory as possible.
This translated to me attending 20-25+ User Group meetings every year.
I also planned and helped plan numerous SWUG Tours and customer visits.
If the group was within a 3.5-4 hour drive each way, I most likely attended all of their meetings.
(This makes for a really long day – There were a number of times that I would get to work at 5:30am, leave from work for a meeting, drive 3.5 hours, attend the meeting, drive another 3.5 hours home, and not get home until midnight or 1:00am.)
A couple years ago I pulled off the #6in9 tour, in which I hit 6 meetings in 9 days in 3 different states. If I remember correctly, I presented at 4 of those meetings.
This was way more fun than my #6in7 adventure later that year – 6 SolidWorks certifications in 7 days, culminating with the CSWE. (What can I say, I wanted to celebrate the 10th anniversary of my CSWP by getting my CSWE – Yes, I took the CSWP in 2005, when it was the 8 HOUR exam!)
All of this has been a lot of fun, but it also takes a LOT of time!
Which translates to using all of my vacation time from work.
This also meant that all of our “vacations” were spent at SolidWorks World.
(We did get to go to the UK for our 10th anniversary, which was truly amazing.)
Changing jobs a little over a year ago was one of the best decisions that I have made in my career.
I don’t have as much free time, which is why I haven’t been on the forums as much.
I have also been re-evaluating what I do during my time away from work. Our trip to the UK made me realize how much fun it is to go somewhere with Jade, and spend all of my time with her being a tourist. (After we get back from SWW, I get to see the pictures of all the places that she was able to explore while I was in sessions.)
We bought our house about 8 years ago. There are a ton of projects that we have been talking about since we moved in, but we haven’t had enough time to do any of the “big projects.”
I have, what some people might call, an “excessive number of bicycles.” I have missed a lot of group rides and bike trips because I was going to User Group meetings. Even with riding in Gravel Worlds, last year, I logged the lowest number of miles on my bicycle in the last decade.
My term on the SWUGN Committee was coming to an end, so I thought it would be a good time to take a break and change my focus.
I decided not to run for re-election, I decided to pass my User Group down to the guy that has been helping me run it for the last couple years, and I decided to do something completely different for our 15th wedding anniversary.
Instead of going to Nashville for 3DEXPERIENCE World 2021, we will be going to Ireland.
We might not be able to go overseas every year, but we are going to start taking “non-conference vacations.”
We have already started attacking house projects with a renewed energy. (The first big project was getting our home office set up – Jade is now telecommuting for her company, and I picked up one of the Sindoh 3D printers at the conference.)
Work has been really hectic lately, I designed a new product for one of our customers at the end of 2019. They absolutely loved my design/prototype, and placed the first production order right before the conference. We started building when I got back from the conference, and the customer sold 20% of the order before we even completed the first unit.
To sum it all up –
I will still pop into the forums to see what everyone is doing, and let you all know what is happening in my world.
I will still be active on social media. (Mostly twitter - @tahhhd)
I will still attend my local SolidWorks User group meeting.
(It will be fun to get in on the drawings for a change!)
I will still be using SolidWorks, and continuing my quest to learn more and more about it.
(I’ve got a shed, a patio awning, a bathroom remodel, a kitchen remodel, and several projects for my new printer on my design agenda.)
Most importantly, I will start taking actual vacations and spending more time with Jade!
“I’m starting to judge success by the time I have for myself, the time I spend with family and friends. My priorities aren’t amending – they’re shifting.” – Brendan Fraser