2019, the Year in Review

It’s that time of year again where our feeds start filling up with reviews of the year and, yet again, I can’t believe it’s come around so quickly.

2019 has been a great year for me personally; here are the highlights.

Three became four!

The most important part of my year was the safe arrival of my son, Jude, who we welcomed to the family late in January. It’s been great watching him develop over the last 11 months. He’s full of smiles and the cheeky side of him is just starting to appear which is really fun to watch.

Conference speaking

I’m sure you can imagine the next few months for me are a bit of a blur, but in June, I did manage to find enough sleep to hold myself together on stage speaking at Laravel Live UK. This was my first time speaking and, not one to do things by halves, I decided the right thing to do was turn my slide deck into a real-time application to showcase the inner-workings of Laravel. On top of that, I thought it would be a good idea to give the audience the power to interact with my slides. The good thing about this approach was that I was so worried about not using a big enough server and everything crashing down around me, I didn’t have time to get nervous about the talk itself. Thankfully, everything went really well and I had some really positive feedback.

Speaking at Laravel Like UK

So positive was the feedback, that I was encouraged to apply to one of the other speakers own conferences, code.talks in Germany. My talk was accepted, so I jetted off to Hamburg in November. It was a really different experience speaking in another country, but I had a really great time and will definitely be applying again next year.

Laravel.io

During the Laravel Live speaker dinner, I sat opposite Dries Vints and we started to talk about Laravel.io. I happened to mention I'd read the Refactoring UI blog post which documents a redesign of the forum overview page and asked Dries if anyone had expressed an interest in implementing it. Fast forward a month and I had completed the job using tailwindcss. Another two weeks on, and I had become a co-maintainer of the project. I’ve really enjoyed this experience. I’ve wanted for a long time to get more involved in open source development and working on Laravel.io is really giving me that opportunity. I do less code during the day job now, so this also scratches that itch. I’m thankful to Dries for allowing me to help out and we have some big plans for 2020 so watch this space.

Travel

I’ve been lucky enough to travel a lot this year. I went to Spain in June for a family holiday and Italy in July for a friend’s wedding. I then went to Disneyland Paris with the family and off for a jolly to Portugal with my brother in September before travelling to Hamburg for code.talks in November.

I love to travel, so this has been another highlight.

My team

At work, my team has grown from 3 to 5. I’ve spent a significant amount of time interviewing which has been a challenging, but rewarding and worthwhile experience. We’ve spent a good chunk of the year building out internal tooling and processes and because of that are in a much better position when compared to this time last year. I’m really happy with where we are right now and am looking forward to building on these foundations in 2020. We’ve worked on some really interesting projects and am looking forward to more of the same next year.

Summary

I am really happy with all I achieved in 2019. I’m delighted my family has grown and incredibly excited to continue to watch them grow and navigate their way through life.

On top of that, I’m particularly proud of the fact I went from having never given a conference talk before to speaking at Germany’s biggest developer conference.

I’m also proud I manage to achieve all of these things, whilst a majority of the time in an incredibly sleep deprived state 😴

It is worth pointing out that before writing this post, I looked back at the goals I set for 2019. I didn’t get near completing them. I think this comes down to a couple of things:

  1. My list was too ambitious - I knew I was having a baby, and having been through it before, I should have known what an impact it would have.
  2. My goals change - I wasn’t planning to speak at conferences this year, but the opportunity arose and I wanted to take it. This naturally meant something(s) from the list had to be sacrificed.

With that in mind, I plan to set my goals differently next year, defining a smaller set of key things I want to achieve and revising these on a regular basis. I’m still unsure on whether or not I want to publish them, but we’ll see.

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