It’s that time of year between tinsel and party poppers, where we all reflect on the past year and look to the next. I’ve had an amazing year of ups and real downs. It’s been a year with some new places visited and some great new people met. So, grab yourself a cup of whatever seasonal you are drinking and here is what happened in 2013 for me.
I was in two minds about including a personal slant to this year review. I tend to not do personal blog posts. However, I feel that the impact made this year by personal things means my review of the year would be missing a part of my story.
The year 2013 for me started with mixed feelings. My husband was throughout the holiday season in and out of hospital just as he had been most of the later part of that year. He has Chrons disease and it decided to remind us both of it’s existence by going into flare (the term for Chrons when it’s active). It made life a weird experience for me in 2013 as at times it looked likely he wouldn’t be with us much longer. I was lucky to travel, got to do amazing projects – but it all happened with a haze of what was happening with him. He’s still not working but on the long road to recovery.
We’ve decided to move back to Brighton. Far too long ago we lived there and I’ve missed the place for ages. Finally in August we went back to start house hunting. This had a bit of a pause during my trial at Automattic but we’re now looking at a Spring move and I’m getting really excited about it finally happening. We’re attempting to do it with as little stress so taking our time but the urge to just live under the pier and get the move done is tempting.
Events and conferences
If I thought I did a lot of speaking in 2012, I topped that in 2013. I was lucky enough to speak at several WordCamps: Norway, San Francisco, Europe, London. I made it to the BuddyCamp in Miami and spoke. I also spoke at two conferences: Future of web design, and The Digital Barn. I also attended Naconf, UX Munich, dConstruct and WordCamp Miami.
I got to see behind the curtain by being one of the organisers of WordCamp Europe. This was a truly incredible experience. I didn’t quite realise what I was getting involved in – not sure any of us did. I kept throughout the entire event wander if this was really happening.
This year I had an unexpected commissioning to write a book about BuddyPress theme development. This was an experience that had good and bad sides to it. I don’t think there is ever a good time to write a book, this one taught me so much about time management and pushed my boundaries.
Last year I set myself the goal of contributing more to WordPress and BuddyPress. Life seemed to want to get in the way of this goal on several occasions. I had successes and failures – kind of a pattern for 2013.
The biggest fail probably has been my WordPress contributions and this is in the sense of follow throughs. This was a year of life getting in the way when I got into projects. This happened with the NUX for the mobile app and then revisions UI. The good thing about open source is people forgive you dropping balls. I’m going to try and learn though from this and not drop any in 2014. I’m glad of the contributions I made but hate that I didn’t get a chance to follow through. Sometimes though I had to accept this year that life outside the internet is more important.
BuddyPress wise, whilst not a failure (yet) the template pack didn’t make 1.9. This was sad as I was leading this and feel if I had been able to drive it a bit more it may have got in. I’m ok about it and doing what I can to slowly get it towards a state for inclusion in 2.0. I guess my big lesson in 2013 was to have patience with myself and give time for everything.
I started 2013 freelance and end it in a full time role at Automattic. I couldn’t be happier but also couldn’t have predicted this happening. I am now about to hit a month next week in my new role as a theme wrangler. I’ve already been on a team meet up and been the most welcome I’ve ever felt of any job. I’m excited where this chapter of my life will take me, what I’m going to create, who I am going to meet and what I am going to learn.
Everyone at Automattic does 3 weeks happiness training. My happiness training has given me a renewed insight into supporting users and the assumptions we make as theme creators, developers and designers. These assumptions create barriers, frustration and confusion. The themes we create can become a life line through being on sites that give people a voice. We sometimes forget that.
Rather than include that here, I am going to do a post this coming week of goals for 2014. I feel we’re dangerously close to needing a refill of that seasonal drink to read any further.