Turning 27 - 2019 Year in review

December 15, 2019

Today was my 27th birthday. The last year was the best year I’ve ever had. Looking upon it I made some major life decisions and I’m even more excited for the future to come.

That said, there is always room for improvements. I’ll touch on that as well.

Personal

In my personal life, I made the decision in April to leave my previous job and take a new job that was fully remote. Doing so allowed me to make the decision to leave Alabama and move to Colorado by myself.

I’ve lived in Colorado now for four months and it has been absolutely wonderful. I’m looking forward to exploring my new state and everything it has to offer me. The views of the mountains outside of my apartment aren’t too shabby either.

Something I don’t think I’ve talked enough about yet has been my struggle with my mental health. For many years I’ve struggled my depression and my anxiety. I’m grateful it’s never been ‘bad enough’ to prevent me from working, but I know it’s prevented me from doing my best work. I still don’t have all the answers, but getting myself to a healthy state will be a priority for me going forward.

Over the past four or five years I’ve really let my physical health decline. I’m in the worst shape of my life. This is going to have to change in 2020.

Professional

I stated above, but in April I left my previous job and joined the lovely folks over at Podia as a Developer. This was a tough decision to leave my previous team behind but I’m glad I made it. I’ve learned a ton the past 9 months since joining and I am excited for what the future holds.

It’s an interesting curiosity to look at your progress in your career and compare it to other people. People on the internet who post that they’ve been promoted to Senior after only a year or two of real-world experience. I think that the development industry is a curious one for that characteristic. 10 months ago, I felt like I was deserving of that promotion, that it was just a matter of time. But honestly? I wasn’t ready for it. I’d say I’m still not.

I want to do this career for a long time. I’m happy writing Ruby on Rails apps. I’m happy writing Ruby. Sometimes I put my brave pair of pants on, and write some JavaScript, but don’t tell anyone I like it. Admitting that I wasn’t ready for the Senior title was like a well deserved gut punch, it hurt but it also allowed me to free myself of a lot of the stress I had built up.

This is going to seem counterintuitive but I want to work less in 2020 on work things, and instead work smarter. I admittedly have a character flaw in that I feel the need to outwork everyone, to prove I belong, that I’m worthy of being on the team I’m on.

I’ve always done this though, it started in my first job, I’d go home and read tutorials, watch screencasts and just build a bunch of things to try and level up… eventually when the tutorials stopped being as useful, I turned to the apps I worked on from 8-5 at work, and started doing things on them. It’d be simple things at first, gem upgrades, trying to swap the cache system to use Redis, or technical debt improvements. Eventually it’d grow to be more complex changes, many product improvements I’d try and build out and hope I could sneak it in at my old job. (Side note: I did find it’s far easier to win arguments with code, than theory. If I had something working I could demo it and fight for it far better than just drawings on whiteboards.)

It felt like if I made progress on things I wanted to do in the work apps, I was killing two birds with one stone. I was moving forward the codebase at work AND improving my skill. Nobody likes working in an out of date codebase, and that was always my justification for working on things outside of work. I was just helping make the codebase better. The flaw in my logic is that I was working 40-60 hours normally on sprint work, then doing additional work that nobody was asking me to do.

All that to say, since joining my new job I have considerably cut back on the amount of work I’ve been doing outside of work, but I’m still not where I should be. I likely won’t stop trying to sneak in Product improvements in when I see them, but in 2020 I hope to hone my methods and work on more diplomatic methods to archive my goals for improvements.

Side projects

In my friends circle, it’s basically an inside joke at this point that I’m going to launch a course. I’ve been saying I wanted to for YEARS now. Also, I work for a company which happens to be super handy for hosting your Online Course / Digital Download / Membership, so it feels like I SHOULD make the course this time.

Well the good news on that front, late this year I’ve managed to make more progress than I’ve ever done before. I’ve been recording a practice run of recordings for the course, and successfully finished building the app for my course. I’d say I’m about one-third finished recording the practice run.

I’m hoping to spend time during my Christmas vacation to record the full run, and I’m shooting to actually release it in early 2020. Time will tell if I can ACTUALLY finish it this time, but I’ve got my fingers crossed (🤞). Selling a single copy would be amazing.

I’ve also bounced back and forth on wanting to actually start my YouTube channel back up and post more videos. I think this is something I may explore again in late 2020, but for the first half I’m going to shelve it and try and focus on my Course / explore other courses I want to do in the future.

I’ve been exploring ideas for products to build that scratches the itch of building useful things, but nothing major has stuck out to me for things I need built.

But side projects are just that, side projects. I still want my best work to be the work I do for work. Side projects for me, are just to help scratch the itch of creating something mine.

Disappointments

Not launching my course. Maybe there’s a chance I could rush it and get it done, but would I be happy with it? Probably not. So it’s best to just push that to early 2020.

Not taking better care of myself Seriously, I just turned 27. I feel like I’m an old man. I’m in the worst shape of my life, it’s time for this to get turned around before its really too late.

Not establishing a social circle in Colorado yet. I haven’t gotten out enough to establish a social circle out here in Colorado. This was a risk I knew I was taking when I moved, and is something I need to figure out how to do. Making friends when you’re out of school / work remotely is hard enough, let alone moving to a new state.

Let’s go 2020.

I’m ready for it. Where will 2020 take me?