Here’s a fascinating, heartwarming, and heartbreaking video about being queer and whether it’s also possible to have a faith.
Interestingly, my former religion makes an appearance just to show the world how horrible it is. Jehovah’s Witnesses are not accepting of LGBTQ people. Joshua, a gay man that is featured in the video, explains how he was disfellowshipped (or excommunicated) and subsequently completely shunned by his family. The story of the muslim woman is just as disturbing as she tries to find a marriage of convenience so that her family doesn’t disown her.
It’s stories like these that push me towards agnosticism and atheism. How could a loving god expect you to shun someone because of who they love? Why would a loving god punish someone for something so deeply personal and intrinsic to who they are, such as their sexuality?
So does god really hate people who are LGBTQ? I have no interest in a god that does.
2019 and 2020 have been some of the most influential years in my life. I left the religious cult I grew up in, had some pretty life-changing breakthroughs in therapy, and I’m slowly finding a political voice I wasn’t allowed to have previously.
It’s a strange thing to have one’s whole belief system and sense of reality challenged. It’s disorienting; full of grief, sobbing, and deep emotional pain. While many of my former religion would say I’ve taken the easy way out, I can say confidently that there hasn’t been anything easy about it. As I explained last year, death has been an incredibly difficult thing to grapple with now that I don’t believe in an afterlife.
And yet, I’ve found happiness. Not a happiness rooted in rose-colored glasses, or without challenges. I’m lonely. I feel as if I have no close friends or family who truly know me except for my partner. People who claimed to love me don’t talk to me anymore. That’s tough to deal with in a normal year, I can’t begin to describe what it’s been like in a pandemic.
But for me it’s always been about truth. Was what I believed true? Not does it make me feel good, not does it surround me with mostly loving (albeit conditional) people, not because it would dissappoint my family if I didn’t.
Is it the truth?
The answer for me is a resounding no.
Ultimately, going into 2021, I’m a completely different person to who I was just two years ago. It’s change at a magnitude I didn’t expect, but as the storm in my head settles, I’m a person I love deeply and accept fully. I know who I am, what I stand for, and the values that guide my life. I want to live a loving and thoughtful life, and I’m doing my best to do so.
As Jimmy talks about in the video, the left needs to grow its power. I believe it no longer makes sense to work within the Democratic party, but I’m not yet sure what that looks like. One thing is for sure: we need leaders that will fight for universal healthcare, fight for our beautiful planet, fight to defund (and eventually abolish) policing as we know it, and put an end to the endless wars.
Death is something I think about often. It might be my anxiety disorder, but most days, the thought enters my mind, “Am I dying?” I mean, technically, the answer is always yes. We’re all dying every day. The pandemic makes this that much worse. Add to that my no longer being religious and, therefore, no longer believing what I used to, and you’ve got yourself quite the cocktail of anxiety.
I’m barely beginning to explore how other people view death. It wasn’t something I gave much thought to for most of my life, and I arrogantly thought that anyone not belonging to my religion was without hope when it came to death. See, I thought I had all the answers. That death is temporary; that it’s like sleep—you’re asleep one moment and then awake again the next.
Religion can be exceptionally comforting in that way. I didn’t think about my mortality or what the future entailed. Most belief systems convince you that you never die.
But I don’t believe that anymore. And it’s tough. I feel as if I’ve been robbed of something. The afterlife was always representative of an ideal life. A life in which I was perfectly healthy, I had a home without a mortgage on the beach somewhere, and I could enjoy my life away from the suffocating grasp of capitalism.
I don’t mean to be reductive, but believing in an afterlife is kind of like believing in Santa Claus. It would be fantastic if it were real, but there’s just no evidence to prove it factual. And honestly, it’s hard for me to accept it. It is the realization that there is no perfect life, and that just as so many before me, one day I will cease to exist and my life will be over.
But truth matters to me, and from my research, this is the reality. Living in truth means accepting difficult things that defy what I thought to be true. And I don’t want to be dogmatic about it either; I don’t know 100 percent what will happen when I die. But coming to terms with the finality of life also gives it a beautiful new purpose. It helps me center and be present and appreciate every moment. It helps me remember that I need to tell the people I love that I love them. It helps me be mindful of the impact I have on others and how they feel in my presence.
So while this new understanding of death has been difficult (and will continue to be), I’m ultimately grateful that I have the chance to accept it and grieve it now. That reality will influence everything I do with the rest of this wonderful life that I have. And that is a gift.
I haven’t been very public about this, but I was going through a severe bout of seasonal depression. We were living in a basement apartment in one of the coldest places you can live: Minnesota. Add to that the fact that there are so many days where it’s just gray and gloomy.
Don’t get me wrong, Minnesota is a beautiful place, and I loved living there, but the winters are harsh and long.
People kept telling me that “it wasn’t a big deal” and that “I’d get used to it.” But I had lived in Minnesota seven years already, and this was a feeling I’d never felt before.
People still don’t understand depression. Not only was I going through a difficult time, but I also needed to muster up the strength to explain (almost justify) what I was going through to loved ones. I often felt like people thought I was making all of this up, or that I was weak because I couldn’t “tough it out.” And it’s ok, many of those people are well-meaning—they don’t understand how deeply and profoundly their words can cut.
Back in November, we decided to spend the month of January in California. We were hoping the warmer climate and sunshine would help me. It did. I started feeling like me again.
So when we got back home in February, we decided it was time to leave Minnesota. We packed our things, said goodbye to our dear friends and family, and left.
I was scared. This was a big move. Kelly would have to quit the job she’d worked at for almost 20 years, and I had suddenly lost my job. It kept me up at night thinking about how this could all go wrong.
I’m glad we did it anyway. Kelly already found a job, and I’m doing everything in my power to get Bokeh off the ground. We found a beautiful apartment, in a convenient location that we can afford.
Having depression has been an interesting experience. It’s changed how I view certain things and revealed new aspects of my personality that I’m not happy about. I’m a positive, happy, and optimistic person by nature, but depression had turned me into a bitter, jaded, and cynical person. If there’s one positive, it taught me that my empathy has room to grow. Everyone has their own trials and tribulations, and instead of being judgemental, I need to find more ways to be helpful and encouraging.
Thankfully I’m feeling better. But I’m glad I took action. I found a therapist and went to the appointment. I made this move because I was tired of feeling the way I felt, and I didn’t want that to escalate into ruining my wonderful marriage or into suicidal thoughts. And that’s especially hard when the last thing you have when you’re depressed is motivation.
So if you’re going through something similar, take action. Talk to someone. Get help. I’m so glad I did.
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’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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
Highlights from the year and what’s in store for the next one
I’ve heard that as you get older, time goes by faster. I definitely felt that this year. As with most years there were good times and bad, here are some of the highlights.
In January, Kelly and I were invited to Toronto by Shopify. I was interviewing for a job there—that I eventually didn’t get. You can read all about my heart being broken, but aside from the interview it was an excellent trip. I enjoyed getting to know Toronto.
My friend Cayce took me to Kinton Ramen which blew my mind. I’d never had ramen before, so I was a little skeptical, but after this I couldn’t get enough. Kelly and I ended up eating there two more times before we left. If I had all the money in the world, I’d have my private jet fly me there just for lunch.
While we were there, we went apartment hunting. Prices for apartments in Toronto are pretty crazy. We were looking at places for $1900 CAD at the time, which didn’t get you much.
I think moving would’ve been a great experience for the both of us, but oh well.
This year was a great one for speaking events. I had the honor of speaking at four events this year. Out of the four events, I’d never been to two of the cities.
I was invited to give my talk on CSS Grid. Giving this talk was insanely exciting because we went from only having support in Firefox and Chrome, to having support in almost all browsers except IE11. As someone who’s workflow has been completely changed with CSS Grid, I was excited by the browser support and the reaction of people to the topic.
I’d like to extend a huge thank you to Minnebar, BeerCity Code, Converge, and EE Conf for letting me speak at their event. Sharing new things you’re learning is always very rewarding.
@keaton_taylor hooked me up with the awesome people at Mealthy. At the time, Mealthy hadn’t launched their site yet. They had a site in development already with great bones, but needed some polish.
I started working with them in August and over the next few months we deployed the site, launched the company’s first physical product, then launched the second. I also had the pleasure and privilege of working with a fun and trusting team. Working with Mealthy is hands down one of the best professional experiences I’ve had.
Even though I was laid off in December, I wish the remaining team the very best.
2017 was a great year for this blog. It saw growth in readership, I wrote a lot, and it’s current design is the best one I’ve made. I’d love to see readership grow a lot more in 2018, but I feel like I’ve been saying that since the site’s inception.
Times with Loved Ones
2017 was a great year with friends and family. My sister-in-law from Montana visited us with her kids, my brother-in-law from California paid us a visit with his family, my sister-in-law from Wisconsin came to visit a few times, my uncle and cousin moved from California to Minnesota, and we took (our now traditional) cabin trip up north in the fall. We also made a trip out to California to celebrate my aunt and uncle’s twenty-fifth anniversary.
Then, the summer came and things just… stopped. And I haven’t had a chance to get back at it. I have plans to fix this in 2018, with a sizable list of ideas. But my biggest goal concerning the channel is to find my own voice in video. It’s been a difficult adjustment to be in front of the camera since I wouldn’t consider myself photogenic. Not only that, but I don’t sound like myself just yet—my scripts still feel very robotic and my delivery too stiff.
A Two-Wheeled Adventure
In May, Kelly and I went to get our motorcycle permits. A few days later, we bought a Honda PCX150. A sleek little scooter that I could use to run errands while she’s at work. Since we only have one car, being able to go out, get some sun, meet people for lunch, and more was amazing during the summer. I got a taste of being on two wheels and was hooked.
In October I took a motorcycle training class and finalized getting my motorcycle endorsement. It was two intense days that stressed how to be safe on a motorcycle. There’s a lot that’s common sense, but there’s also so much you don’t think about in a car that could save your life on two wheels. I’m very tempted to upgrade to a motorcycle next year.
We added a new member to the Smith family this year. We adopted a tiny grey kitten from the Humane Society and named her Izzy. Four months later, she’s significantly bigger but still insanely playful. This cat has the most energy I’ve seen in a kitten. She’ll run around and play, take a five minute power nap, and get back at it. Her and our other cat get along well so we’re happy about that too.
Timberwolves Season Tickets
After many years of anguish, being a Timberwolves fan is exciting again with the additions they made in the recent off-season. We decided to get season tickets in the nosebleeds, which turned out to be great seats.
Before the season started, we were invited to an open house and had the chance to tour the whole arena. The renovated Target Center is beautiful. We even had a chance to sit courtside while the Wolves practiced. There we were just inches from these incredibly tall basketball players, and I could not get the smile off my face. That night, I was a kid all over again. I was on the jumbotron too!
I needed exercise to be part of my regular routine so this winter I signed up for winter basketball. It’s been so much fun to play every Monday night. The season started in November, and I feel like every game I get into a little bit better shape.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not even a shadow of my nineteen-year-old self, but the cardio makes me feel exhausted and amazing at the same time. I’m so excited to be playing the game I love on a regular basis again. Oh and I finally have a jersey with my number on it.
Looking Forward to 2018
All in all, I’m really happy with 2017. I feel like I used my time the way I wanted to, improved my physical and mental health, and enjoyed experiences that widened my horizons.
Here’s our motto for 2018:
Our Motto: Be Proactive, Not Reactive.
Now for my goals:
Produce at Least One Video a Month At least. I’m hoping I can make more than that, but one per month feels achievable. I’d like to get 1k subscribers by the end of the year too.
Read One Book Every Two Months I’ve got a list of seventeen books. I’m almost positive I won’t be able to read all of them this upcoming year, but I think six is a reasonable goal.
Buy a House After living almost three years in a basement apartment, 2018 will be the year we move out. I need more sunlight, and I’d like for us to have a place of our own.
Helen Tran wrote an awesome article for fem-designers-in-tech:
Self-doubt is healthy in doses but be careful what story you are telling yourself. Self-doubt is a mechanism to help you gauge what’s real not to over-exaggerate anxieties. Self-doubt is, “Hmm, I should think about this a little.” not, “I am terrible at this.” This is many steps too far in the wrong direction.
Her advice struck a cord with me, so I wrote her an email:
Loved this article! I’m not a female, but I find this article to be excellent advice. I’m a Latino, and I started in this industry really young. I was 15 when I got my first job. I turn 25 this year. I struggle with every point you talk about here.
I honestly believe this is why I didn’t get the job at Shopify. I didn’t sell myself in the interviews and instead I came off as inexperienced and unsure about learning new things. I constantly sell myself short. My lack of belief in myself leads to lack of belief from others. I’m determined to change that this year. I’ve seen people with much less experience advance way quicker than I have.
Anyway, all this just to say thank you. This article may not be written for me, but it sure does help.
In case you didn’t know, I interviewed with Shopify in January. They flew Kelly and I out to Toronto for an awesome 4 days. All my friends said a variation of the same thing:
If they’re flying you out, they must really want to hire you!
I doubted. Something told me that I’d screw this up and they wouldn’t end up hiring me. Still, we had a great trip. Kelly and I looked at apartments, ate amazing food, and fell in love with the city. We began to imagine what our lives would be like in Toronto, and it was pretty exciting.
We flew back to Minnesota, and all my friends and family were eager to know how it had gone. I thought the interviews had gone pretty well and I’d foolishly gotten my hopes up. A couple days later, I received the call.
We’re moving forward with other candidates.
In film you’ve seen this moment. The character hears the important line and the rest just becomes muffled. That’s kind of how this moment felt. It might just be that I’m a very emotional person, but I don’t remember the rest of the conversation. I was too busy dealing with the increasingly large knot in my throat. I do remember saying thank you, then hanging up.
I was devastated. I cried. I really wanted the job. I wanted the change of scenery. Deep down, I wanted the validation of a company like Shopify being interested in me and my skill set. I spent a few weeks moping and being sad.
Once the emotion cleared and I could actually think about it, I realized it was partly my fault. I’m sure there were many factors involved but one of the biggest is that I sell my own self short.
If I don’t believe in myself and my skills, how is anyone else supposed to? I do this constantly. I undersell my expertise, and what I can bring to a team.
I often still feel like that fifteen year-old that’s just getting started. So many moments where I feel like a fraud about to be discovered. I’ve gone to extreme lengths to prevent people from knowing how old I am. I always feel them finding out will invalidate anything I’ve said or made. The ageism I’ve experienced along my career has only served to reinforce that feeling.
Like I said in my email to Helen, this is the year I decided to change this. I’ll be speaking at a local conference here in the Twin Cities and have started to send proposals to many others around the globe. I’m also writing a lot more about development and design here on this site.
I’m done letting these insecurities win. I’m done trying to get validation that I shouldn’t need. I’m me and I’m awesome. If you’ve felt like this, I hope you join me and follow Helen’s advice.
Another year came and went, here are some highlights
While it may be cliché to say that the year flew by, it doesn’t make it any less true. In what has become a great tradition, I’d love to share some highlights from 2016.
Becoming Cat People (Again)
Two years ago, I had a wonderful cat named RANDY. Due to a string of unfortunate events, I had to put RANDY up for adoption. I was devastated. I loved him. He was so affectionate and loving, in a time where I was sorely lacking that in my life. Fast-forward two years, and life was completely different, filled with love and happiness. But I still wanted a cat.
So we got two. We have a wonderful rag-doll that we adopted as a kitten named Pixel. And Minnie, a beautiful polydactyl cat we adopted from the Humane Society. Pixel has picked Kelly as her human, and Minnie has picked me. Would I have liked both cats to have picked me? Yes, but it all worked out.
Concerts of a Lifetime
I believe I was 11 when I said to myself that if I ever saw Beyoncé perform, I could die happily. The concert was at TCF Bank Stadium, an outdoor stadium. The day of the show was rainy and right before it was about to start, there was a lightning storm. They emptied the entire stadium to wait it out. There we were, packed like sardines in the concourse, foolishly wondering if this would all be worth it. The Queen B did not disappoint. Beyoncé is a spectacular performer, and her voice—my God, her voice—was magnificent.
That concert alone would’ve made the year. Then Kelly surprised me with Adele tickets. Adele. People I saw not one, but two mind-blowingly talented women perform in the span of three months. When I heard Adele’s voice, I couldn’t help but cry. Not because it was her, but her voice is unbelievable. Multiple songs gave me the chills and she sang all of my favorites. You see a lot of Adele’s personality during the concert, and let me tell you, she is a delight. I would love to hang out with her.
Our Trip to California
We went out this year for a friend’s wedding, but we also had a great time with family. For those of you who may not know, California is where I was born and raised. As much as I dislike my home state (and wouldn’t move back unless absolutely necessary), I do miss my family. We’re a tight-knit bunch of Latinos, and I regret taking for granted how often we saw each other and spent time together. It was an awesome weekend. I took about 300 hundred pictures on a DSLR that I rented. Only kept about 15. Using a DSLR was a new challenge for me, and I look forward to doing it again.
My First Cruise
I was so nervous about this trip, almost to the point of not looking forward to it. I worried that I’d get sea sick and it’d be a long week. How wrong I was! The ship was nothing short of amazing. Not only is it an engineering and architectural triumph, there is something for everyone on it. We had great food and drinks, watched stand-up comedy, enjoyed Broadway-caliber shows, listened to some insanely talented musicians, and karaoke‑d our hearts out.
And that’s only what we did on the ship. Our time on the different islands was a blast, snorkeling was breathtaking, and my Minnesotan-pale skin got the tan it deserved. If you’ve been on the fence about taking a cruise, I whole-heartedly recommend it. I’m positive you’ll enjoy it, no matter what your definition of fun may be.
In November, I decided to leave ACL after working there 4 months shy of two years. The company was really good to me, but some of our values didn’t align, and I felt that I wasn’t interested enough in the domain to continue doing my best. Still, I had a great time there. I learned so much, and had the privilege of contributing to several applications the company makes. I walked away with more knowledge, and great friends.
What’s next? I don’t really know yet. I hope to have something more concrete to share soon.
Diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes
This was the real blow of the year, but I can’t say I was shocked. I wasn’t feeling good for a while, and I stupidly put off going to the doctor. I was at a point where I just had to go, and after doing a blood test, it was confirmed: I had Type 2 Diabetes. Learning to live with Diabetes has been difficult. I have to watch what I eat, make sure to take my medication, poke myself to test my blood sugar, and plan meals for a set time. I used to be able to skip a meal or postpone it, now I have to eat something or my blood sugar will drop and I’ll feel crappy.
Honestly, I hate it. I have moments where I cry because of the constant frustration it causes me, and I regret the decisions that got me here. But as with every other mistake I’ve made, I cannot undo it. The past is the past, and I can only focus on the future. I have a fantastic partner in Kelly, and she’s been so supportive and loving with me. I appreciate all her help, and how much she cares for me.
While parts of this year felt difficult, and anxiety and stress-inducing, it was still great. I lost 15 pounds, traveled a lot, and enjoyed great new experiences. I spent time with family, got closer to new and old friends, and saw some enter exciting new eras of their lives.
What’s in Store for 2017
Just like last year, Kelly and I have decided to follow my friend Phil’s tradition of setting a motto for the year.
Our Motto: Embrace the New.
Here are my goals for the year:
Dedicate 10 mins each day to learn French I want to learn a new language. I’m fluent in both Spanish and English, but it’s not fair because I was taught both from birth.
Lose 40 lbs. My battle with weight continues, but I realized I’ve never actually put a solid number that I’d like to lose. My hope is that setting a specific goal will help me accomplish it.
Make $200/month in side income I don’t have a specific plan for making this happen yet. I do know I have knowledge I can impart to others and hopefully make a little money from that.
The year came and went, and as usual, here’s my annual year in review
This was by far the best year in a long time. Kelly and I were married on May 9. It was the best day of my life.
We were surrounded by all of our friends and family who smothered us in so much love and happiness. If I could, I would live that day over and over. It sounds so sappy, but I just can’t help it.
Working Full-time Again
Having a “regular” day job has its pros and cons. After running my own business for so long, having a more rigid schedule where I work 5 days a week has been difficult to get used to.
But, there’s something to be said about having a regular paycheck, paid vacation, and other benefits. Most importantly, I really wanted to work on a team, and I’m so fortunate to have landed on a team of incredibly smart, talented, and humble people.
Stepping Down From Goodstuff
As you may recall, Goodstuff was a podcast network I started with Adam Clark and Chris Enns in 2014. Running it was so much fun, but with me getting married, I couldn’t make it a priority.
Soon after, I started a podcast again, which has two really great episodes published. For The Record is the best show I’ve ever done. I have about 6 interviews recorded that I’ll be working on in the next few months. I hope to bring the show back in the spring.
Podcasts have taken on a whole new life for me this year. Sure, they’ve been around for a while, but my goodness! The level of quality has gone up like crazy, and I’ve discovered someamazingshows this year. Maybe I’ll post a list of my favorites at a later date.
Summer Trip to Europe
Kelly and I went to Europe for the first time this summer. It was the first time both as a couple and individually. Europe was wonderful. Visiting places you’ve only ever seen in pictures is quite the experience.
We saw the Eiffel Tower at night with all the lights on, walked many unknown streets, took the subway, had espresso and pastries in a French cafe, missed our train, felt frustrated because we couldn’t speak French, ate amazing food, made great new friends, and saw people nude on the beach like it was no big deal. I hope we get the chance to go back.
The last highlight of the year? Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I’ve watched it in theaters four times. Each time better than the last.
What’s in Store for 2016
My co-worker Phil told me that his family agrees on a motto for the year. I loved the idea so much, that I’m stealing it. As always, I’ve got some goals for this year, but I also want to share the motto Kelly and I plan to live by.
Motto: Live Healthy.
Build a Piece of Furniture I’m keeping this one from last year. I really want to dabble in some carpentry this year. It’ll get me away from my computer, and the chance to spend some quality time with my Dad.
Lose Weight Not much I can say here that I haven’t said. Part of living a healthier life.
Travel Taking breaks is part of being and staying healthy. I have paid vacation now, why the hell not use it?
In an effort to keep up a good habit, it’s time to do a little reflection on last year, and set new goals for 2015. I can’t believe how quickly 2014 went by. I feel as if every year seems to go by quicker than the last. Still, I was able to accomplish three out of five goals this past year, which I’m quite proud of.
Here were my goals for 2014:
Collaborate with Friends
Mentor a Student
I did really well! I lost 10 lbs in 2014 and managed to keep them off. This is still an area I need to work on and will be putting more effort into this year.
2014 was the year I built the CMS powering Goodstuff. Together with Will Duffy, we built this awesome system that makes creating new shows and posting episodes a breeze. With Will’s help, I’ve become more competent with Rails. I can handle my own when it comes to generating new migrations, creating new controllers, and I even learned how to integrate Stripe payments into a Rails app!
Last year, I complained that if I could work from anywhere, why wasn’t I? This was fixed by flying to Guatemala and staying a total of six weeks! It was an absolute blast, I rode the bus everywhere, got to see old friends and make new ones, went 5 days without water, and even spent 3 days on the beach. I did all of it, quite cheaply. I’d definitely recommend it.
What do I want to accomplish in 2015? Here are my goals for this year:
Lose Weight This stupid goal is on the list every year. But slowly, I’m making progress, and it needs to continue. I signed up for the gym in January, and thanks to my lovely fianceé, we’ve been going regularly.
Sell More CMS Licenses Last year, I built a podcasting CMS. I also licensed it to three networks: the one I co-founded, Goodstuff FM, Relay FM, and Broken Buggy. I’d like to license this CMS to more networks who are in need of a powerful, yet simple system to manage their shows. This might involve creating some type of marketing site, but also might mean that I develop this into a SaaS.
Better Sleeping Habits Sleep is so important. They say that when you miss out on sleep, you don’t ever recuperate it. That’s depressing. Either way, I’ve got to get better about getting to sleep earlier and waking up earlier. It’s not so difficult, and interestingly, I always feel refreshed when I do.
Design and Build a Piece of Furniture When I was little, I’d work with my Dad building furniture for our house. My Dad has always interested in carpentry. We built my desk together, my bed, their bed, and many others. This year, I’d like to design and build something for my home. Admittingly, I’ll most likely need his help, but for once, maybe I can retain some of the knowledge he imparts.
It’s 2014. I can’t believe I’m writing that. It seems like yesterday that I published this post.
2013 was an interesting year. It was riddled with both success and failure. Thankfully, the year ended on a high note. This was the first year that I accomplished all of my goals, except one.
My goals for 2013 were:
Pay Attention to the Relationships that Matter
Speak on Design
This is quite an accomplishment! I spoke at two events last year: MinneBar, and Blend Conf. I talked about the benefit of side projects, and people seemed to enjoy the talk.
In May, I quit my job at Rocket Lift, and decided to do Anythin’ Goes full-time. This has been really good for me. I’ve had the opportunity of working with some great clients, and the flexibility of managing my own schedule. I’ve also tried spending less time in front of my desk, and more time with family, friends, or other activities.
This year, I traveled a little too. I went to New York City in the summer and the fall. I had the chance to walk Central Park the second time, which was absolutely beautiful, and the weather was perfect. I went to Charlotte, North Carolina to speak, and San Diego, California to visit my folks.
So what do I want to accomplish in 2014? Here are my goals for this year:
Lose Weight I know this is a repeat, but I seriously want to tackle this. I know things that are bad for me, but I don’t really know what I should be eating. I want to dedicate a bit more time into planning my menu every week, which I think will allow me to grocery shop effectively, and help me learn how to cook new dishes.
Learn Rails I know I can’t possibly learn Rails in one year, but I want to get very comfortable with it. At the moment, I can build a simple application with Rails, but I’d love to get into more complex things, and start implementing best practices like tests.
Collaborate with FriendsAdam Clark and I have been talking about working together on something for the longest time. I’d love to finally take a project where we can work on it together. I’d also love to work with other people. 2013 was full of projects that I worked on alone, I’d like to be in a position to assemble teams for projects this year.
Mentor a Student Similar to Laura Kalbag, I’d like to guide a student through a project. I’m at a point where I can teach someone how to manage a project, and I should do my part in paying that knowledge forward.
Take Work-cations Running my own business allows me to work from anywhere. There is no need for me to work from my studio 80 percent of the year. I need to start taking advantage of the flexibility I have.
Those are my five goals for 2014. What do you want to accomplish?