What a crazy year. My wife and I have packed in so much stuff over the last 12 months it doesn’t seem like it should have been possible. I should be way more tired, but here I am – refreshed and ready for more.
We moved our family 1200 miles into a town we knew very little about. A spare bedroom became our new office and we now only meet with colleagues over the phone. My children started attending a new school, with different rules, a dress code, and an outside physical education class. We get to see my family multiple times per week, enjoy almost constant sunshine, and now I have to mow the lawn in December.
The transition from New Yorker to Floridian was a bit harder for me than I thought. It took a few months for me to acclimate – before that my overactive imagination started to slip me into a minor depression. Fortunately I was able to talk myself out of it.
I’m still waiting for the seasons to change, it’s like the summer or spring that never ends. I miss the autumn colors in New York, but I don’t miss the snow. The sun has done wonders for my mind and body though. I have no regrets on moving down here.
Late in the year I decided to try my hand at freelance web development and support (this site was completely overhauled with that in mind). While the number of projects was small the amount of time spent on them was not. One project took me 80 hours over the course of a month (I had planned for 30 – worst case). Hated it more than loved it, but I needed to try. The unknown only becomes known by doing. A wise man once told me education isn’t free. He was right. Time and energy were my tuition. I’m not saying I won’t try anymore, but I know my limits now – this is a good thing.
Goals of 2014 Review
I had plans to focus on understanding design and usability principles in greater depth. I don’t know that I actively sought out to accomplish this, although I feel like my understanding of (at least) usability has increased. Both subjects still interest me, but I don’t feel the need to actively study either – at least not right now. As a user I can understand what good usability feels like. And I feel like I know the difference between good and bad design – at least for my tastes.
Writing is very therapeutic for me. I always feel the need to put my thoughts on paper and share them. I wanted to write more in 2014 than in 2013. I’d say that mission was accomplished, although you wouldn’t recognize it from reading this blog. I think I added less than 20 posts over the year – some of them were reposts from another site that I retired. I did, however, start free writing. I’ve written over 30,000 words that have helped satiate the need to write and have brought my attention to things I didn’t know existed (at least on the surface).
I planned to find and contribute to an open source project. I started using WordPress regularly and helped other users a bit on the WordPress StackExchange and WordPress.org. Although my contributions were minor, I did contribute. I have some ideas for plugins I’d like to write – they just weren’t priority in 2014.
I wanted to join and attend some Central Florida MeetUp groups. Now that I’m a thousand miles away from colleagues and friends, social time consists mostly of hanging out with my wife, kids, and family. While that’s great, there is a need to talk shop with people with similar interests.
I attended two WordCamp’s. I met a few people at both. I joined a local WordPress group and attended 1 meeting, joined a UX group out of Orlando where I attended 3 or 4 Google Hangouts, and a handful of others that I haven’t attended yet. While I feel like this was all great, I haven’t made any lasting relationships yet. It’s harder to date than I thought ;).
I planned to start running regularly. While I did try for a few weeks, it was too physically depleting. I may have overdone it I’m not sure. I do walk nearly every day though – a few miles. As long as I’m moving I’m happy. Maybe I’ll try to run again this year. We’ll see.
Goals for 2015
As I say every year, New Year resolutions are for suckers. They’re things to fail. They’re things that probably don’t really matter. Make goals instead. Track them. Do things to bring you towards those goals. Even a single step in a direction that brings you closer is a win. Always progress. Progress is success.
I’d like to be more organized. Being organized helps you accomplish more. I’ve already started this by using Evernote to store, organize, and prioritize thoughts and action items. It’s been working well for me.
I’m going to read more. I’m a curious person. I won’t say I have a thirst for knowledge, but when I want to know about something I research the bejezus out of it. I hated reading when I was a kid. Now I love it. All genres welcome.
I’m going to write more. I have a feeling this goal will always be on the list. I love to write. Opinion writing especially, and I seem fond of writing things that share intimate details about myself (like these “New Year” posts). There will be some changes to this website to facilitate this desire.
I’m going to focus on a few alternate revenue-generating ideas (things not related to my day job). I’m in the middle of starting a “list” website called 15List that will accomplish multiple things. It will give me the opportunity to write more, satisfy curiosity about different subjects, and possibly generate income through ads. I’ve dipped my toe in the ad-supported website market with ElfOnTheShelfLetters.com and was blown away on how well it did. I’d like to replicate that into something better refined, interesting, and not so cheeky. I’ll be trying similar things with more niche websites and I’d also like to try my hand at domain flipping.
I’m going to get my hands dirty. I’m generally an inside cat that only deals with computers and the software side of electronics. I’d like to start building things this year. I’m a bit handier than I thought I was and I’d like to investigate that part of me. I have some circuit boards that I’ve been meaning to mess with (robot of doom)? I also have ideas for a wooden structure that holds my lawn mower, a koi pond / Japanese garden, and some home made garage organizational structures. I’ve never thought of myself as a person who’s good with his hands, but I’ve found that making or fixing physical things is really rewarding.
So that’s it. Organize, read, write, content market, and get dirty. Time to get to it.
I wish you all the best in 2015.
Some past New Year posts: