Rust has finally outgrown me

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Today is a very interesting day. It’s giving me a lot of feels. Today is Rust Latam, a Rust conference in Montevideo.

And I’m not there.

This is significant because, as far as we know, I’m the only person who has been to every Rust conference in existence so far. I went to RustCamp, all three RustConfs, all five RustFests so far, all three Rust Belt Rusts. One RustRush. Am I forgetting any? Thirteen Rust conferences in the past four years.

I really wanted to attend Rust Latam. The main organizer, Santiago, has been a friend for a very long time. It’s amazing that we’re getting a new conference in this part of the world. There’s been a lot of energy with Rust there for quite a while. It would have been nice to meet all those people whose tweets I’ve seen.

But in the end, I’m still between jobs (news on that soon, hopefully!), and spending that money would be irresponsible. I’m just getting settled in Austin, and it’s nice to stay in one place for a little while. I didn’t only attend Rust conferences last year, I attended many more. I missed Thanksgiving with my friends, because I was at a conference. I made five trips in October last year; Eastern Europe, then San Francisco, then Michigan, then New York (for a conf, not to stay at home), then Berlin. I did three more in November. I did about twenty conferences, and a few personal trips, last year. I am very tired.

Don’t get me wrong, I love travel, and plan to do more of it in the future. But I’ve been taking a bit of a breather; I’ve only done four trips so far this year, twice to Europe, twice in the US. But it’s been nice to take a break. For now.

More importantly, it’s time to let go of the pressure I felt to keep that streak up. Some of those trips really took a toll on me, mentally and physically. Nobody should ever fly from New York to Belarus for 30 hours, then immediately fly to San Francisco for three days, then back to New York. I’m not old, but I’m not as young as I once was, either.

It’s also time to acknowledge that I cannot do it all on my own. This conference streak is one thing, but Rust has outgrown me in other ways. I used to be on #rust every day, answering almost every question. Then it was both #rust-beginners and #rust. Not to mention all the other channels. I’m not even on IRC anymore. I was on the core team when the core team approved every RFC; now my team very rarely has RFCs. I used to read every single GitHub email on rust-lang/rust, and then rust-lang/cargo, and then all their other libraries. Now I skim rust-lang/rust, and have unsubscribed from a lot of the other repos. I used to know every single production user of Rust. Those times are long gone; I’m starting to get used to hearing “oh yeah our team has been using Rust in production for a while now, it’s great.” The first time that happened, it felt very strange. Exciting, but strange.

Back when I first decided I wanted to devote my time to Rust, I used to submit every single blog post about Rust to Hacker News and Reddit, and then answer any question anyone had about things. I diligently did this for years. I’m slowly letting go of this one, too. We’ll see.

All of these things are excellent. This is the future I wanted. This is why I spent so much time over the years doing all of this stuff. I did it, mission accomplished. It feels good. But it also feels a little weird. That Rust is bigger than me is an amazing, wonderful thing.

I wonder what the next stage of Rust’s growth will feel like.