I can’t believe that I’m writing a look back on 2022 already. While every year goes by quickly I feel like 2022 was exceptional. Maybe that’s a good thing, maybe not. As I look back on anything, I do so from the point of view of a cynic who is never satisfied but as I wrote the outline for this post I realize maybe I need to revisit that approach in the future.
2022 in a nutshell
If there’s been a theme to this year it has been “quiet.” With a pandemic still raging and events like conferences and WordCamps unsafe as a result, we didn’t do a whole lot of travel and I’m OK with that. In fact we only left home twice this year when we drove to North Carolina at the end of September to ride out Hurricane Ian at our friend Adam’s house and, two weeks later, when we drove to Panama City Beach to visit my parents for the weekend.
The rest of this year was spent learning to be happy at home and working on a number of projects, both old and new, that we could do because we wanted to, not because we had to. I don’t know if I’ve ever been able to say that about a whole year before and for that I have been very grateful for what 2022 has brought us.
While we did accomplish a lot in 2022, in some cases our biggest accomplishments were in what we didn’t do this year. For one I did not get on a single airplane in 2022. This means no business trips, no major visits or vacations and no needing to “escape” our home (other than literally for a hurricane). Even more amazing is that I managed to go the entire month of December without getting into our car. As someone who wants to travel far more intentionally and move to a place where we don’t need to own a car this is a huge win for me and one I doubt I’ll be able to repeat.
This year has also been the year where I started writing my own code again. In April I started working on Kana, a WordPress development environment written in GoLang, and I’ve released eight versions so far. It’s been so much fun. I had wanted to build something like this for a long time but never was able to get started. Today I’m really proud of where I’ve taken it and can’t wait to see where it goes in 2023 and beyond.
At work I finished my first full year as an engineering manager on December 1st. My first year was a busy one. In that year I’ve hired 4 of the 5 current team members, lead a complete rebuild and launch of our team’s product, Faust.js, and lead the launch of our initial Faust.js blueprints which work something like WordPress themes for headless sites. I did this all while serving for most of the year not just as the engineering manager for Faust.js but also its product manager, the lead for the company hackathon and co-lead for the company’s summer intern program. Finally, I even managed to give back to WordPress itself by being the speaker deputy for WordFest Live in March and by speaking in various podcasts, webinars and other events throughout the year.
At home I feel like I’ve been just as busy. I started the year with a goal of reading 100 books and writing 3 blog posts per week. As I write this final post for the year I didn’t miss a single week of Monday, Wednesday and Friday blogging for a total of 156 posts. While none of them will win an award it is a level of output I’ve never completed before and I’m looking forward to keeping up next year. As for reading, I finished my goal around October and today am working to finish my 119th book of the year, just over double the 59 books I read in 2021.
While I didn’t get a chance to actually use it, I also managed to keep a daily streak of learning German through Duolingo going every day this year. Maybe 2023 will be the chance for me to finally put it to use or maybe we’ll find somewhere else to move and I’ll start all over with a whole other language. It doesn’t matter. It’s been fun and rewarding and something I want to continue learning in the future.
Finally, I’m also happy to say I’m healthier today than I was on January 1st. I went another year without any alcohol, made it about half the year without a soda (we all need one vice, right?) and have generally been eating better than I had in a long time. I’ve also been more active by managing to keep up at least 10,000 steps every single day this year, a record streak by quite a bit. I smashed my yearly step record set in 2021, my monthly step record set in May 2021 and my weekly step record set in Feb 2018. The only record I didn’t beat was my single day step record which I had set on a trip to London in 2017. I’m OK with that though and will get it on some future trip.
2022 unfinished business
For all the successes there are a few things I feel like I missed this year. For example, I walked an awful lot but I didn’t do enough other exercise, and we’re still in Florida, a state we are both are increasingly uncomfortable in.
I feel I’m starting to sound like a broken record on leaving Florida but we are a bit closer in that we’ve at least found a place to target. We hope to visit Portugal in March 2023 and see if it would be some place we could call home. I have high hopes but I’ve had high hopes for leaving here for a few years now so I’m no longer holding my breath.
If 2021 was a year of transition than 2022 has been the first year in which I’ve really been able to start moving forward again. These days I no longer judge progress by the benchmarks others have set and I think that’s been a tough but necessary lesson to learn. I’ve been more engaged with everything from my work to my health to my family and more and I really couldn’t ask for a better year.
Sure, we still hope to change things around pretty significantly by getting out of Florida but, finally, I can also say that 2022 has been the year where our house has finally been a home and that feels pretty great.