Chris Wiegman Chris Wiegman

So Long 2021

2021 is in the books and it’s been one for the books. If I’m being honest it wasn’t a bad year. We’ve had our trials but, for the most part, I think we’re further ahead at the end of the year than we were at the beginning.

Reliving last year’s hopes

Last year I had a few hopes for 2021 including losing 15 lbs, cutting out soda and getting away from so much Twitter.

I didn’t make all of my goals for 2021. We still have the same kitchen cabinets. I didn’t quit soda until November (and drank a lot of it before then) and I didn’t read nearly as much as I did in 2020.

I did, however, walk a lot more, lose 5lbs and write more than I ever have. In all I think I’ll call it even. I do want to break some of these areas down a bit more, starting with my health.

I’m healthier

In January I bought an Apple Watch to replace an aging FitBit as I really didn’t trust FitBit with my data at the time (Apple has since proven as problematic with personal data but that’s for another story).

With the FitBit I basically had a pattern where I would walk 10,000 steps every day for 1 week and take the next 3 weeks off. After 10 years with the device, it wasn’t helping.

The Apple Watch has been different. I decided, right from the beginning, to go for streaks with its fitness tracking and I haven’t missed my movement goal for a day since (though I did have to lower it a few times for sickness, weather and travel).

The difference has been amazing. Before 2020 the best I had done in a year was right about 2.8 million steps. Today I crossed 4 million for 2021, a nearly 30% increase. As we’ve had to be home for the bulk of the year this has been a blessing.

On top of the extra exercise I’m also still eating better. I didn’t have a single alcoholic drink in 2021 and I gave up soda twice, for three months in the beginning of the year and since November 1st. Add that to we still don’t eat out and are eating better in general and it’s all a major win.

I’ve completely redefined how I use tech

Beyond the Apple Watch I also changed how I use tech in general and wound up replacing most of our devices (not a bad thing as most were due for replacement or just stopped working). I’m back in the Apple ecosystem, for now, and it’s working well for us.

As a privacy advocate I don’t believe Apple is safe for long-term but, at least for now, it’s working for me and my family. Instead of spending the weekends tweaking or fixing needed tech I’m spending them writing. That is such a major improvement and, at least for now, tells me that we have a technology mix that is working for us.

I changed roles at work, twice

At the beginning of the year I was working on the eCommerce team for WP Engine as a senior engineer. By April it was clear that the team I was on didn’t want to continue with eCommerce, which was the reason I had gone to it. As a result I moved to a team building Atlas Content Modeler (ACM) and was, for 6 months, pretty happy with the work. It was exciting, the team was great and I saw, for the first time since DevKit a future for me at WP Engine.

As happy as I was on Atlas Content Modeler I switched roles again on December 1st. This time I took a promotion to engineering manager for the team building Faust JS. I always figured engineering management was in the cards for me, just didn’t think it would be for 2021. In the end I simply couldn’t pass up the opportunity to lead a team that had been working closely with ACM on a product that not only would complement ACM but also has the potential to do so much more.

Needless to say I’m pretty excited. As I go back to work for 2022 next week I’ll be in a position to build a proper team around a product that promises to really push WordPress into a viable contender as a headless website platform. In other words, there’s a future for me here, again, and I’m loving it.

Other wins in 2021

On top of my health and a major pivot in my tech, 2021 had a lot of other wins too.

  • I wrote 81 posts on this site for almost 56,000 words
  • I read 60 books (assuming I finish the last one today)
  • Even with the pandemic we managed to make 3 trips and even got to safely see our families for Thanksgiving
  • We managed to put away and invest more of our income than ever (while staying debt-free except for the mortgage)
  • We realized that home is where we live and have worked to make it the place we want to be

All-in-all I would consider 2021 to be a successful year. Here’s to hoping next year follows with similar wins.