On 2015

I haven’t done much looking back over the last couple of years. I took a look through my posting history and my last retrospective post was looking back to 2012. This past year has been quite impactful though so I wanted to take a brief look back over my working and personal life in the last year, while looking ahead to what some of my goals are ahead of the coming year too.

Stats

Let’s start off on a positive note, this year I have:

It’s definitely been a year of speaking for me, and I’ve been lucky enough to speak at some amazing conferences. From the likes of Web Dev Conf a conference I’ve been a fan of for the past few years, through to Velocity Conf which is one of the biggest devops and performance conferences in the world it’s been a great experience. Throughout the year I gave variations on three different talks I’d been working on, which doesn’t sound like very many compared to the number of conferences but allowed me to refine and improve those talks throughout the year.

I travelled a bit as well, and not just because of conferences thankfully. My girlfriend (Margarida) and I took a short break to Dublin earlier in the year, before later flying over to Portugal to meet her family for the first time in the Autumn. I really enjoy travelling and experiencing new places, however it’s quite something else when you go somewhere where you no longer speak the native language and are thrown in the deep end by meeting friends and family that don’t speak your language very much either. While it has the makings of an awkward time, with a bit of effort from both sides, it really is amazing how much of a difference it makes when experiencing a new place.

Bad and good times

On a personal note, this year has had it’s moments of great happiness and great sadness. In June, my Nan passed away. It was a really tough time for me and the rest of the family, she was an amazing woman who I learned an awful lot from over the years. I’m very happy I was able to share some of the great memories we have of her at the funeral, sharing some very happy memories at such a sad time.

There were also some very good times this year as well. After more than a year together, Margarida and I decided the time was right to move in together. We have been very lucky to find an amazing flat in South London together and moved in in November. It’s a great feeling being able to share that bit more with each other now and I’m looking forward to even more time together now. Although we could do with a bit more storage space! For two people that have been living in two small rooms for the past couple of years, we have a heck of a lot of stuff.

Also in 2015, I had my “Harajuku Moment”, where I realised it was finally time to put some effort into losing weight. While at that moment it was a pretty horrible feeling, the resulting diet and exercise has seen me lose a lot more weight and visible size than I thought possible when I started. Although it’s not been easy at times. It’s only a start, I took a break necessary break over Christmas and I’ve gone backwards a bit in terms of weight loss, but I’m committed to getting back on the diet soon and working hard to get my weight down even further this year.

I took on too much again…

I guess what’s prompted this post is a realisation that I’ve done it again and taken on too much work and committed to too many things over the past year – and into this year as well. I’ve been trying to work out if this is a character trait of mine that I just feel like I need to be busy all the time, or whether it’s a cause of boredom or something else. There are some changes coming up for 2016 which I’m looking forward to and hoping by making them that I’ll be able to take on less and concentrate on fewer but more enjoyable goals.

Looking ahead to 2016, I’m making a concerted effort to not do as much outside of work. I’m going to be finishing the freelance projects that I have and then not taking on any more after that. It will make saving a bit harder but this year I’ve overworked myself again which has resulted in neglecting the few clients that I do have and I would prefer to avoid that in the future. I’m also going to be putting myself forward for less speaking this year, I still want to do some, but I won’t be putting out 10s of proposal like I have in the past year. It’s a great feeling to be accepted to speak at so many but again by taking on the number that I did I felt like I wasn’t able to give the time to each one as I should have.

Bringing back 12 Devs of Xmas has been both fantastic and stressful at the same time. The Xmas period is quite stressful enough without having to make sure we’re ready to post an article a day starting at midnight on Boxing Day! But it’s also fun and we have some great articles again this year which makes it all worthwhile. I’m just glad we decided after not having it sorted before November that a redesign just wasn’t on the cards, but that’ll be a fun thing for next year.

Goals

I’ve never been one for New Year’s resolutions, but this year I do have some goals that I am going to work towards and just hope to feel like I’ve accomplished somewhat at this time next year. So my goals this year are simple.

Do less work, spend more time with my family, friends, and most importantly my girlfriend. To work on more personal side projects, and not feel stressed with letting people down if I don’t get round to them. And to continue to focus on my health and lose weight, I would really like to get down to at least under 100Kg this year. Maybe then I’ll have a haircut and shave off the beard!