white and brown sea dock

2022 Year in Review

Since 2016, I have tried to write either a year-in-review and/or goal-setting post, or a combination of the two. The idea behind these process is to try and set achievable goals for me for the year ahead, and then look at how close I’ve come to achieving them.

Last year I set some very specific professional which aligned with my then-current career as a senior technical writer. However, early in the year, my work situation changed quite drastically, so I’m probably not going to have achieved any of those goals.

I also set some very specific personal goals, some of which are similarly affected, while others were affected by different external factors.

The big change in 2022

I had all these writing-specific goals for 2022, which aligned with my job as a Technical Writer at Delicious Brains. What I did not expect, was the curve ball that 2022 would throw me professionally and that I would manage to knock it out of the park!

As the year kicked off, I realized that one part of my job that I enjoyed doing, but was not doing much of anymore, was creating technical, educational content. When I originally joined Delicious Brains the role was that of a Developer Educator, and part of my work was creating written and video tutorials for developer-related topics, like how to use Xdebug with PhpStorm (which included the instructional video), or how to Debug JavaScript and PHP with PhpStorm (with a similar instructional video).

While I was still working on this type of content to some degree, it was only in the written format. The company had hired a videographer halfway through 2021, so I was doing less of the video content to complement the written tutorials, which I really enjoyed.

This led me to the WordPress Training Team, which creates educational content for the WordPress community on Learn WordPress. I had forgotten about Learn WordPress and the fact that I’d contributed a video tutorial to the platform when it launched video tutorials back in 2020. It was a perfect mix of creating technical educational content and open source/community work that I love being part of. So I decided to join this team at the start of the year, with the goal of contributing more video-related content of a technical nature.

Imagine my surprise then when I discovered soon after that Automattic was looking for a Developer Educator/Technical Instructional Designer to join their Open Source division, working with the training team on creating this type of content full-time! I immediately applied for the role, was invited to a trial, and I happily announced that I’d been accepted, to start in May.

I was sad to leave the team at Delicious Brains, but working full time on open source has been a dream of mine for a while now.

The rest of the year took the form of settling into the new role, with my new team, and creating a good flow of tutorials, courses and online workshops.

2022 Personal Goals review

Coding Words

My main personal goal for 2022 will be to finish Coding Words.

Ultimately, I did not end up finishing my book. I was actually on track to continue to work on this in 2022, even going so far as to speak on the topic at DevConf. However, due to the role switch in May my capacity for working on the book was diminished.

I’m not sad about this, I probably will still look at writing a book in the future, but for now, I’ve put Coding Words on hold.

Health & Fitness

To that end, my fitness goals for 2022 are that by the end of the year I want to:

  1. be able to complete a 5km run in under 30 minutes.
  2. have completed a timed 10km race
  3. be able to complete 10 full pull ups with good form
  4. lose another 5kg

I was solidly on track to achieve many of these goals until I injured my back in April. Annoyingly, the injury was my own doing. In trying to max out my deadlift weight, I ended up doing the lift with improper form and pulled something in my back. Instead of taking it easy, I carried on with the rest of my workout, but as the day progressed, I could tell something was not 100% right.

To make matters worse, instead of taking time off to properly heal, as soon as the pain was about 50% gone I started up with my workouts. I also did not take any breaks with my attempts to run the 5km in 30 minutes. Then one Saturday I decided to attend a jiu-jitsu open mat session, without doing any other preparation training in the week. During my final roll I felt something go in my back, and had to take a slow drive home.

Mental note kids, as you age, your body’s ability to bounce back from injury drastically decreases.

That seemed to be the straw that finally “broke” my back, and the next morning I woke up and was unable to go from a seated to a standing position without experiencing terrible lower back pain! So I was forced to take the time off. I spent a total of about 8 weeks not doing exercise or any kind. In the end, I only managed to get back into my regular workout routine in early September.

On the plus side, I did manage to end the year only 2.5 kgs short of my weight loss goals, and I’m very close to completing a 5km run in under 30 minutes. I did the bodyweight pull-up test at the start of this year, and I can do 6 with good form before I start cheating, so I’m going to reset that goal for this year. On the plus side, I’m probably the strongest and fittest I’ve been my entire life!

Other Goals

I have not yet gotten back into training jiu-jitsu, and I will keep trying to figure out this one in 2023. Ironically, one of the things that also affected the healing of my back injury, was stepping back onto the mat between the first and second injury.

I also did not get back into podcasting, and I’ve decided to shelve the Open Sourcery podcast. It was fun for a while, but I just don’t have the time for it anymore.

I only posted 13 blog posts in 2022, which is 7 less than 2021. This was mostly due to the same reasons that affected my ability to continue to write the Coding Words book. With the recent changes in the social media landscape, it seems blogging is fashionable again, so I’m going to try and write something at least once a week, even if it’s just short-form stream-of-consciousness-type stuff.

I did end up reading more in 2022, but mostly through audio format. Thankfully the audio format means I can read when I’m doing non-trivial tasks like mowing the lawn or driving to the office, as I rarely have time to read for leisure otherwise.

2022 Professional Goals review

The majority of 2021 was spent finding my feet as a full-time writer. I’ve also spent a lot of considering my strengths and weaknesses. Therefore my goals for 2022 are very much aligned with improving those weaknesses.

First and foremost, I want to improve my writing skills.

With the change in my work early in 2022, I didn’t end up working on any of these goals. I’m not sad about it, and I continue to look for ways to improve my writing skills, but it’s not my primary focus for 2023.

Finally, I want to start using my work-sponsored open source contribution time to work on the official PHP documentation.

This one also didn’t happen, mostly because I’m now sponsored full time to work on the WordPress project, which includes updating the WordPress documentation.

In closing

This review post was not the one I was planning to write this year, but overall I’m happy with the way things turned out. I’ve learned a lot about my body, it’s ability to heal as I get older, and my ability to progressively get stronger and fitter, as long as I respect my boundaries.

I’ve also transitioned into a brand new journey professionally, which I’m very happy about. I feel as though this was the job I was born to do, and I’m very much looking forward to what 2023 will bring.






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