When attempting to understand a new concept, for most of us there comes that moment of clarity where the new concept just ‘clicks’. We go from a muddled understanding of a new idea granted by wading through manuals, listening to explanations or even banging our heads against a brick wall, to getting to an underlying clear realisation of what the thing actually is. I still remember back at university when I first understood how the command-listener pattern worked (and at the time how patterns as a whole were useful), or the watershed moment when sed’s regular expressions looked less like hieroglyphics and more like the answer to so many prayers.

More recently I’ve been searching for the same level of understanding with a few topics, however I’ve only been partially successful. My “Hibernate”:http://www.hibernate.org/ application works perfectly, and I am happy to carry on developing it, but a underlying knowledge of how Hibernate itself works still escapes me (this is mostly due to laziness however – Hibernate just works so I lack the desire to dig any deeper). Things with the “Spring Framework”:http://www.springframework.org/ in some regards has gone a little better, however the MVC web framework still seems overly complicated and at times a little muddled (although this could be down to my years of Struts use). Finally, my dabbling with CSS has resulted in some nice results, however most of this has be achieved by hacking other peoples code around – half the time I don’t really know what I’m doing with it. I’m starting to worry that as I get older my ability (and to some extent desire) to properly understand new concepts is diminishing. Either that or I’m just lacking the time to properly put in to these new projects – most of this has been done in my spare time.

Come the New Year, I think I’m going to have to think more deeply about what I actually want to do with myself – work hasn’t raised a new challenge for me in months and I’m worried that my brain is starting to atrophy. In the meantime lots of new technology is being released and is passing me by – but I suspect I’m not the only person in this situation.