2018: Year in Review

Due to depres­sion, 2018 has been dif­fi­cult for me. But reflect­ing on the year has helped me remem­ber all the fun and great expe­ri­ences I’ve had. This is my annu­al write-up where I share some of the high­lights of the year and set goals for the next one.

Cruise with the family

I mar­ried into an amaz­ing fam­i­ly, and that has­n’t been more evi­dent than on this cruise. We spent a relax­ing sev­en days in the West­ern Caribbean snor­kel­ing, watch­ing some great shows, and enjoy­ing the warm clear waters. It was only my sec­ond cruise ever, and if I could afford it, I’d go on one of these every year.

New Job at Changelog

After get­ting laid off late in 2017, I was left scram­bling to find some­thing new. Months of email­ing my résumé and count­less inter­views left me dis­cour­aged. You already know I’ve had issues with the hir­ing process of design jobs before.

One day, I was chat­ting with my friend Adam Sta­covi­ak, and he told me Changel­og was look­ing for a Senior Pro­duc­er. With my pre­vi­ous pod­cast expe­ri­ence, he thought I’d be a good fit.

I’ll be hon­est, I was scared at first. This was some­thing com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent to what I’d done pro­fes­sion­al­ly since… well… ever. But, I also knew I need­ed a break from the web. I was burnt out, did­n’t agree with how JavaScript-cen­tric the indus­try has become, and dis­il­lu­sioned with how under­val­ued my CSS skillset is.

The Changel­og team.

I’m so hap­py things came togeth­er the way they did. Changel­og is a won­der­ful place to work. Not only am I excit­ed by the work I get to do every­day, the Changel­og team is com­posed of kind, smart, and fun­ny people.

And they let me host my own show! Away from Key­board is the show I’ve want­ed to make for years. You may recall I tried to do some­thing sim­i­lar back in 2015 with For the Record and made two episodes. Sad, I know.

Away from Key­board already has ten awe­some episodes, and I could­n’t be proud­er of the sto­ries I’ve been able to tell. Also, I don’t think I’ll ever come up with a cool­er name for a podcast.

Good times in Florida

We went to Flori­da twice this year. In April, we went to St. Peters­burg for Front End Design Con­fer­ence. FEDC is a spe­cial event for me: it was the first con­fer­ence I ever went to. Now, six years lat­er, I’d been invit­ed to speak there. It was a dream come true.

In August, we went to Orlan­do as a late anniver­sary trip. While we had a great time, Flori­da in August was too hot. It was­n’t any cool­er than 95º the week we were there, and add to that how insane­ly humid it was.

Kel­ly and I aren’t made for that type of heat, but it was still a relax­ing week. We slept in, went to Dis­ney World, relaxed in the pool, watched a lot of movies, and read some great books.

Denver with the Prados

I don’t know how much longer I’ll be able to make it in Min­neso­ta. This year marked my six year anniver­sary, and the win­ters are start­ing to grate on me. Den­ver is a place I’ve always been inter­est­ed in, so we decid­ed to vis­it. Our best friends, The Pra­dos, decid­ed to come along too.

We had an amaz­ing time. Den­ver is a beau­ti­ful place, filled with nice peo­ple and breath­tak­ing topog­ra­phy. We were only there for an extend­ed week­end, but we were able to vis­it Boul­der and do a fun graf­fi­ti tour downtown.

London in the Fall

Changel­og sent me to Sus­tain Sum­mit in Octo­ber. Sus­tain hap­pened to be in Lon­don this year, mak­ing it my first time in England.

We only spent 4 days in Lon­don (much of it crazy jet-lagged), but we still got to do and see a lot. I’m grate­ful to Changel­og and Sus­tain for mak­ing this unfor­get­table trip possible.

Parents’ 28th Anniversary

Twen­ty-eight years isn’t usu­al­ly a big year for anniver­saries, but I’m a sucky child that had­n’t done much of any­thing for my par­ents’ anniver­sary as an adult. That need­ed to change this year. With the help of Kel­ly and my aunt, we planned a nice, small din­ner for my par­ents, and invit­ed some of their friends. To our sur­prise, some fam­i­ly from Cal­i­for­nia came to cel­e­brate as well.

My par­ents don’t have many pic­tures togeth­er, so I decid­ed to gift them a photoshoot.

Diving deeper into photography

I’ve always tak­en a lot of pictures—it’s been an inter­est of mine for a long time. This year was dif­fer­ent though, I took more pic­tures than I’ve ever taken.

The big dif­fer­en­tia­tor has been my cam­era. In April, I sold my Canon DSLR and bought a Sony α7 III. It’s changed every­thing. Yes, the gear does­n’t make the pho­tog­ra­ph­er, but the α7 III is much eas­i­er to use. A cam­era that’s eas­i­er to use, means you wor­ry less about the tech­ni­cal aspects, and more on the actu­al pho­to. If you’re curi­ous to hear my rea­sons for mov­ing to a Sony cam­era, I made a video all about it.

Getting back into comics

I read a lot of comics this year and loved every minute of it. In the past, most of my comics were super­hero-relat­ed. 2018 was the year I tried to broad­en my hori­zons. In the process, I found great comics like SagaAna­logObliv­ion Song, and more. Back in Novem­ber, I wrote about how I start­ed read­ing comics and some of my cur­rent rec­om­men­da­tions.

In July, I start­ed writ­ing a blog post for my week­ly pull list, which has turned out to be a lot of fun. Thanks to Dave Rupert, I start­ed tak­ing pic­tures of some of my favorite cov­ers for the posts. Like Dave said from the begin­ning, it’s killed two birds with one stone: the arti­cles are more inter­est­ing, and it’s helped me prac­tice my photography.

What’s in store for 2019

All in all, 2018 was a fan­tas­tic year. As much as it’s been dif­fi­cult, we also trav­eled a lot, I found a job at an awe­some com­pa­ny, and got lost in some incred­i­ble stories.

And that’s why I write these. It’s all too easy to focus on the neg­a­tive. But tak­ing a step back, I real­ize there is always much to be hap­py about, and so many things to be grate­ful for.

Here are my goals for 2019:

  1. Invest our mon­ey intel­li­gent­ly
    We’ve got a lit­tle bit of mon­ey saved, and it’s just sit­ting in our account doing noth­ing. I’d real­ly like to do some­thing smart with that mon­ey and make it grow.
  2. Take my cam­era every­where
    Tak­ing the cam­era every­where isn’t the most con­ve­nient thing, and I’m not the only pho­tog­ra­ph­er to feel that way. There are many moments I missed that I’m deter­mined not to miss next year.
  3. Lose forty pounds
    I lost thir­ty pounds this year, then put fif­teen back on. I’d like to lose forty next year, and keep them off.

It’s going to be a great year.

Kind­ly edit­ed by Kel­ly Smith.