Well here we are again, another year has passed and it’s time to reflect.
As most years tend to go, 2013 was a mixed bag. I’ve tried to recollect everything important that happened but I’m certain I’ve missed something. I have to remember to record things throughout the year instead of trying to drudge it all up at the end. Hindsight.
At some point over the last 12 months my wife and I fantasized about moving to Florida. These Central New York winters are just too much for our bodies and minds to take and we were ready for a change. In August we flew down to spend time with my family and, more importantly, to get a feel for real Florida living in an area that was highest on our relocation list. Any reservations we had melted away after some quality time with my family, palm trees, and sun. Our minds were made up to go.
We looked through some neighborhoods to get an idea of where we’d want to settle down. One day on a whim, after seeing some “new build flags”, we drove through an empty development. The model home was closed when we drove by, but it was nice enough to make us return later on. After seeing the inside, we fell in love with the place and plan to start building there in February.
The weight I took off in 2012 remained off in 2013. In fact I lost another 10 or so pounds and I feel I’ve have created some good, healthy, habits. I’ve been eating better, meditating, walking, and doing yoga daily, and have slowly been adding strength building activities.
The Japanese meetup group that I was too scared to meet with in 2012 offered inexpensive youth focused Japanese lessons in 2013. I brought both of my daughters and had the opportunity to spend time with some Japanese families. I use spend time loosely, as I mostly stayed off to the side. It’s tough to squeeze in to a conversation when you can’t understand what folks are saying, but it was definitely a step in the right direction.
Goals of 2013 Review
My goals for 2013 were writing better code, learning new technologies, networking with design and development professionals and to participate in an open source project. I had also wanted to slow down on my side projects so I could focus more on my wife and children and, maybe, smile more.
I feel the quality of my code has become a lot better over the last year. I’ve worked on more projects than in 2012, and have had the opportunity to fail, learn, succeed and grow with each one.
Work wasn’t the only place I’d written code. In 2012, I had a single repository on github written in PHP. Now I have 9 written in various languages including one that scrapes and stores data from html, one that allows you to grab weather data from Mars, one that helps developers / photographers easily create photo blogs from pictures on Flickr, one that allows you to compress and secure files that get uploaded to Dropbox, and one that allows you to try out the Ghost blogging platform in a sandbox (to name a few).
I attended a few tech related meetups along with some hackathons. It wasn\’t as much as I wanted, but It was a step in the right direction and a good primer for 2014.
Fewer, focused, side projects have allowed me to spend more quality time with my family. Currently, I’m redesigning this website, but have set realistic milestones. My hope was that treating it like a real project would allow me to step away from it when needed; so far, it’s been successful. I’ve been getting up at 5am, which gives me the time I need to get project tasks done, and allows me to focus on other things like meditation and yoga.
Unfortunately I haven’t actively participated in any open source projects. I had originally planned on contributing more to PyroCMS, but have since lost interest in it. WordPress was also on the list. While I wasn’t able to squeeze any time in on getting in touch with the community, I am going to migrate this site to that platform once the design is done.
I’ve spent a lot more time with MySQL and replaced a few of my Cisco specialization certifications with the Oracle Certified Professional, MySQL 5.0 Developer certification. Right now I’m super focused on front end technologies and design principles. I’ve been taking some courses on CodeSchool.com that have solidified some things I already new, as well as introduced me to new things like Sass.
I feel like the time with my family over the last year has meant more. Organizing my time in a way that discourages mixing me time with family time helps. I try not to work on projects and have an expectation of giving my family attention at the same time.
I think I may have smiled a tad more in 2013.
Goals for 2014
I don’t make resolutions each year, instead I create goals. They may seem like the same thing to some people but to me resolutions are pie in the sky ideas (stop smoking, lose 50 lbs, wear pants every day), whereas goals are more realistic and achievable.
This year is going to be fairly busy. We start building a house in a state 1200 miles away, and have to sell our current house at the same time. While we’ve cleaned up and purged a lot of our non-essential items already, there will certainly be more of that over the next 6 months. Not to mention getting the children enrolled in school down there and everything that goes along with that. I’ve kept these things in mind when creating these goals.
I’m going to focus on my understanding design and usability. I’ve taken on some more responsibility at my job that aligns with my interest in these things. Right now the expectations are loosely defined, which (potentially) gives me room to define them myself. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking, researching, and testing ideas and processes that will make our product visually (and usably) better.
I’m going to write more. I took a step back from writing in 2013. I did compose a few blog posts here, on ThatsMyFrontEnd.com and HeadedForSun.tubmlr.com, however, I purposefully kept things light so I could focus more on fewer things. After the site redesign is done, I will start blogging regularly. Mostly on technology (lessons learned and how-to), but also some personal (but not too personal) topics.
Unlike 2013, I’m going to find and contribute to an open source project. There are so many out there it’s been tough to stumble on one that fits my personality and abilities. I have to make a concerted effort here.
I’m going to find and join a meetup group of some sort in Central Florida. Once we move, and I spend 100% of my time working from home, I’ll be looking to fill the social aspects of my job.
I’m going to start running regularly and if not running some other aerobic activity. Physically, right now, I feel good. My diet and exercise habits have helped me get to a good place, but it’s starting to slow down. Walking might not be enough anymore, I need to step up the pace.
Thats it. Five achievable goals and a big move. Let’s do this 2014!
If you’ve made it this far you’re probably a family member or a drunk friend. Thanks for sticking with me! I look forward to connecting with you in some way over the next year!