Announcing RailsConf '08 today, I stopped to think about that by the time this conference rolls around, I will have been working on Ruby on Rails for five years. Wow. There are so many memories from this wild ride that it's at once both hard to fathom that it's been so long and yet it feels like I've been doing it forever. Time can be funny like that.
But what pleases me the most is that I still absolutely love working on and with Ruby and Rails. It didn't pass, it wasn't just a phase, it wasn't a run for an exit event. I think that's significant because it means that I, and everyone else still involved with the project, are just as likely to keep at this for another five years or more.
When you do what you love for the sake of itself, the rewards are so much greater than if you just do it for external incentives. For lots of measures of "winning", we've long since won with Ruby on Rails. The impact on the industry, the adoption by thousands of companies and developers, the books, the conferences, and all that jazz. And yet, it doesn't really matter that much in the end. What matters is getting excited about continuing the work.
In light of this, I strongly recommend that you find a vocation in your life where you just really enjoy the act itself. Not just the results, not just the external incentives. The actual work. There's not enough time to spend it doing anything else.