I’m 25 today. Reflections on last {something} years…

Technically, I have just reached 25 years today, February 24, 2011. Of course if we agree to ignore the time zone difference between Sydney and Greater Cairo, as it’s still February 23 in there.


Originally I didn’t plan to write about it, although I had very nice comments on few  posts about couple other birthdays (lost in blog move I guess). Now that I look behind, my life was always moving so fast, and I have always been feeling it moves too slowly (to the extent of screwing things trying to get them earlier than I should).  Now looking back, it’s weird.


Most of life as a kid I used to prefer sitting with older people, like their talks, reading, etc than the usual interests of other boys around. This kind of got me fewer friends (with –only little- help of being an Albino, which is not usual in Egypt). Things got slightly better by university time but I used to live with different personalities.


In beginning of 2004, I attended Microsoft Middle east Developers Conference, and was of the earliest bloggers about it and one of the most annoying attendees with plenty of questions. Somehow this got me to be the best attendee for the conference winning MCAD courses during the year. I used to go to the 2nd term in university at morning and courses at night. Was still being a student in both. I was lucky that all other students were senior devs and used to bring problems from their work and such. Later, I had a couple of friends from there, Nisreen and Mohamed Samy. Both were around 9+ years older than me, which was usual.


Later I asked Nisreen to get me a job at her company. This was the time I turned into 2 personalities. During daytime I’m the computer engineering student at university, and at night the developer at 3 different companies that I stayed in each from few months, to 2+ years.


It was weird, and exhausting. It used to sleep at company offices and go to university from there in the morning, only go to home to change clothes before(??) getting a bad smell. I didn’t have to do that and actually after some issues in first company I was planning to leave the second one after I finish the first project I did there and return back to “just student” mode. Obviously I couldn’t. I loved it. Along with time, working in really inspiring workspaces like SilverKey and meeting abnormal people like Dody, the co-owner got me more into it (by this time I was decided to continue anyway, but t enhanced the experience).


During work, I got used to dealing with older people as peers in a quite different way. People used to have good impressions about me and give me qual tasks (as I was working full-tie during nights and working most hours of the weekend). Of course, I loved this equal treatment and not getting any nasty comments about age, but what I didn’t talk about is that internally, I happy to be the guy 6-7 years older than all the rest and still treated equally in talks and responsibilities. Was so happy I managed to hold a “Senior Developer” title at age of 21 while still at university and later started to be recognized in different events that I gave sessions at, like SKDD and DotNetwork, and CairoCodeCamp.


By the time I got near graduation, I was really tired of this life. And I mean physically. I felt I may never graduate (although I spent the normal 5 years, didn’t have to do extra terms or so), and university duties especially graduation project becoming a headache while I’m trying to be the “workaholic” guy people used to call me (and I loved to be). I got introduced to “Sawy Culture Wheel”. They had a lot of special concerts by not-well-known-but-superior teams. They also had performances of some of great singers and musicians  too, like Ali Al Haggar and Naseer Shamma. MAn, I LOVE music. I have a pretty classy taste in it and people at my old workplaces recognize that having headphones on and starting singing with them means that I’m in one of my most productive coding hours. Being in Sawy Culture Wheel 2-4 times a month gave me the break I needed to keep going.


Somehow, I met Mona, my wife, at work, we got engaged, I graduated in August 2008. Got a cross-teams architect kind of  job in a large company that managed to keep agile. Got an offer from UAE that all my friends even at this company advised me to take, got married, got to UAE, my wife got pregnant, I suffered securing proper housing and more importantly lack of developer meetings and user groups and such in Abu Dhabi, I met my friend, Ali Ben Yahia, who got me to look at entrepreneur/start-ups world., another friend, Tuna got me to realize Readify might be the heaven of developers on earth, my wife gave birth to Adam, my beloved, so-much-acting-alike son, I had hard 4 months waiting for unconfirmed visa in temporary housing that had legal with renter and building owner (but there was no other affordable temporary thing in Abu Dhabi, all yearly). We came to Sydney, again looking apartments in a complete different rent system, got housing, I got a couple engagements at Readify and got a slightly different style of work as a consultant than a normal dev in some software house, started attending groups and thinking of speaking in some, and I got 25….


By now I look,it’s like 2 years already when I started giving up being the exceptional young guy. I’d say there are a couple of guys here at Readify that are a year or more younger than me and did way more than than me at their age, in many magnitudes. Suddenly I’m a husband and father with tons of daily and long term responsibilities involved of course (including exploring how to fulfil different needs in the new country), and doing well-enough at keeping being a community guy and having passion about technology, I start more to think all my strong excitement about new technologies and frameworks today need to be applied in some startup idea / product (especially I worked on some different products for others before in companies and for freelance) and die to think of one being always ignoring the business part of the world unless it relates to requirements, estimations, etc.. Evaluating how to start building a name in a new country with completely different communities than the ones in Egypt where I am somewhat recognized as frequent speaker.


The world is different. My current place from it is different, the places I want to reach and see / be in it are different. 25 years old. They feel to me like 52 years old. But it’s still early, the journey has to continue. I’m enjoying different parts of it. It’s just, when I look back, even if as little as 3 years back, I see a much different world that I have been in, looking back way more, I see a completely different person. Even that it makes most sense, I still feel cold when I think about it.


I needed to write those lines so much, even that the length of the post and me not happy to add titles to it will make reading it too hard that maybe nobody will. Even that if it gets read, many readers will jump into false conclusions about who I am at the moment and that some close people will blame me for that, I still needed to write it, yes, and get it published.


Thanks for reading, and wish you all great progressing times…

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