2021 proved to be an eventful year for many of us. Personally, my year brought tremendous successes, failures, victories, and heartbreak. These last 365 days have felt like an entire lifetime!
Last year I wrote a similar year-end review for 2020, where I laid out some 2021 opportunities that I felt were worth pursuing. So how did I do?
- There were a couple of opportunities involving internal tooling at The Container Store. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to accomplish these goals. Long story short, there were many changes to The Container Store’s leadership in 2021, including a new CEO and CIO, and my priorities changed accordingly. They changed so dramatically, in fact, that I decided to leave The Container Store in September.
- I also saw an opportunity to start writing more regularly in 2021. In February, I began what I hope is an annual tradition of writing an article a day for an entire month, and I gave it the unfortunate name of Blogruary. Many of the posts were cross-posted on DEV Community, which helped boost the blog’s visibility. I went from writing three articles in 2020 to writing over 30 articles in 2021!
- Finally, I mentioned I would love to do more speaking engagements, and I’m happy to say I gave my first virtual conference talk at RailsConf 2021! It was a great experience, and I’m grateful to the RailsConf team for taking a chance on me.
I mentioned above that I am sadly no longer with The Container Store. My job became something I was no longer enjoying. I will miss my fantastic coworkers, and I wish them all great success.
I am now a Senior Software Engineer at Yum! Brands working on an internal React product, and I’m enjoying every minute of it. In particular, I like working on the API layer, a TypeScript app that accesses a company-wide GraphQL gateway. Lots of opportunity for growth!
I also previously mentioned that I started a daily blog challenge in February. Completing that challenge gave me more insight into my blog and blogging process, and I hope to be able to do that again next year.
Blogruary also grew the blog’s audience. Before February 2020, I averaged about 30–40 users a day. As of December 2021, I’m currently around 600 a day. That’s a 2000% increase in readership!
At the end of 2020, I was hopeful that 2021 would be a much better year, and while I had some incredible experiences, the year was not without its share of setbacks.
In 2021, I experienced burnout at a level I had not had since my days as a designer. I transitioned into managing overseas developers, and most of the work I had previously enjoyed doing moved to those developers. I no longer had time to work on the internal projects that gave me a sense of ownership, and I certainly didn’t have time for continuing education. Work became less about creation/exploration and more about unblocking others.
I loved the developers I was working with, but I didn’t love the work, and my personal life suffered. I completely lost interest in anything code-related, including this blog. This apathy was the ultimate momentum that led me to pursue work elsewhere. I can happily say that I’m slowly recovering from the fatigue and am even picking my personal projects back up.
On top of burnout, my wife and I experienced a devastating personal loss that’s still difficult for me to talk about. In August, my wife unexpectedly lost her father to COVID-19. He was unvaccinated despite my wife’s constant pleading with him to do so. It’s terrible to lose someone before their time, but it’s even more difficult to deal with grief mixed with anger, especially at the misinformation that’s propagated with the sole purpose to create confusion.
For now, we’re still taking it one day at a time. Some days are good, some days are not-so-good, but the not-so-good days are growing fewer and farther between.
With 2021 out of the way, I am hoping for a better, brighter 2022. My focus will continue to be growth and learning, but I will also include my health. With everything that’s happened this past year, I’m afraid I haven’t taken care of myself. To that end, here are my personal goals for 2022:
- I published 36 articles in 2021, so in 2022 my goal is to publish 42 articles, with 28 articles in February (Blogruary), most of which will be cross-posted in DEV Community.
- My goal for the blog is to finish up all current issues in my projects list.
- Build 3 projects from my project backlog.
- Work out at least twice a week, go on at least one 40 minute walk a week.
- This last one’s high on my list. My wife and I want to get out and explore other places to live, mostly to get away from the heat of Texas. More on this in the future.
That does it for my 2021.
I’m curious to hear what you’re excited about in 2022. Let me know on Twitter, and I’ll see you again next year!