2011, A Year In Review

I like long years. Really. Yes, I complain about when things seem to drag out far longer than they should, or if I’m busting my arse far harder than I think I should. That’s part of being human, no? In the end, though, I like long years because I get to look back and not worry about how quickly time has flown by. Time should never fly by quickly — it means I’ve missed something, and ... well, darn it, I just hate missing things!

This last year was a big one for me in one major way: it was a redefinition of my professional existence. Since the end of 2009, I’ve transformed from a professional manager to a ... hmm ... well, my title (however formal it needs to be) is "Solutions Lead", but that belies a lot of what I do every day, and just using "web developer" or "programmer" — even with a "Senior" prefix — completely understates the reality. This year was really about taking all the skills and knowledge I’d acquired as a leader, and merging that back into my day-to-day development practices.

And that, as the saying goes, was only the tip of the iceberg...

I did a LOT of work. I did so much, in fact, that my contracting business is gone. Doors closed, windows shut, lights off. Permanently. I had to make a very painful call to realise that I need to focus on the three most important things in my life: my family. (There’s three of them, in case you were wondering.) To focus on them means to remove all other distractions inasmuch as is possible, and still earn a paycheque along the way (helping to support said family, of course).

Add to that Alex’s return to work after nearly four years off as a Professional Mom, working evening shifts. That meant more time as a Professional Dad, whether I liked it or not. (And I like it, really. Except for dinner time. Suddenly, I have nothing but sympathy for my parents when I was a kid.) It’s adjustment, it’s growth.

As a result of all of this, many things suffered. My hobbies (what few I have) were shelved — even my desire to blog waned dramatically, with more than a couple of blogless months. My TV watching fell to an all-time low, and I can count on one hand the number of movies I saw in the theatre (coincidentally, also the number of movies I watched during the Christmas break at home through iTunes). My health has also been ... unattended, with a noticeable increase in girth and an unhealthy increase in my beer consumption (since decreased, thankfully).

But if you were to ask me if I was "unhappy", I’d have to say "no". Every day, my kids remind me why I’m proud to be their dad. Every day, I get a challenge in my job. Every day, I enjoy life, even if it’s only for a few moments. To say I’m "unhappy" would be a disservice (if not an outright insult) to my daily existence, and those around me.

To that end, I can safety state that I’ve:

I’m sure there’s other stuff I did, but my blog was so light on content in 2011 that ... well, I’m not sure. Sure, I can try to read Twitter, but I used that in lieu of my blog, so there’s a few thousand tweets I’d need to go over. That’s a little too much. So if I’m making any resolution this year, it’s to write more blog posts.

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