2023 into 2024
One big thing I realized is that 2024 marks ten years (!) that I've been a developer, which is my second career. In 2014, I interned during the day for a bartender I knew who had a WordPress shop, and worked at night at NAMCO's Pac-Man restaurant (yes, somehow that was a thing. Billy Mitchell even showed up).
By the first half of 2015, I found my first job as a junior web developer for Lettuce Entertain You, a Chicago restaurant group, and I've been in the field ever since! I love my career and I'm happy I've had the opportunity to work in this field and keep doing it for a full decade.
I learned some stuff that I didn't get around to writing, but most of my coding has been on work projects during work hours. I've written about burnout in the past, and I think it really takes a few years to get over it. Writing thirty-five articles for DigitalOcean in particular burned me out, because I had to write in a very dry style that took the joy of writing out of it for me.
I think I'm getting to the point where I'd be excited to start writing again, and mostly I'm more interested non-software related topics. I really enjoyed writing the Ode to Animorphs post, for example. I'd also be interested in writing about weight lifting, Lego, gaming, cooking, art, music, DDR, and other hobbies and interests of mine.
2023 has been a big year.
The most important thing that happened to me was falling in love. It's hard to find the right words to describe how much joy and happiness being with Austin has brought into my life. I feel light and free. I feel content and understood and cherished. I'm no longer alone; my partner is with me, and all the difficult parts of life are just easier. Everything is better with Austin.
Also, I moved away from Chicago for the first time in my life. I've lived in and explored and had many adventures in Chicago's neighborhoods throughout the years...late night pizza at Dimo's, dancing at The Owl or Beauty Bar or Berlin, playing volleyball on the beach, getting tacos in Little Village...Chicago will always be my hometown, but my home is a person, not a place, and it's been very exciting to get to know my new city!
There have been personal emergencies and trauma this year which have been extremely difficult, but fortunately it has been stabilizing and I'm hoping for a peaceful 2024.
I've played a lot of video games this year, more than I have in a long time, which has been great. We're currently playing the new Prince of Persia game, which takes all the gameplay elements I love about Castlevania: Symphony of the Night - one of my all time favorite games - and updates it to be way more interesting, fun, and smooth. I also picked up Hollow Knight and got 97% of the way through it...I just need to beat the final boss!
The game of the year for me, and maybe even for you, was Baldur's Gate 3. I played first as a dwarf druid and then as a half-orc barbarian. With almost two complete playthroughs, we put at least 200 hours into the game, and I'm still looking forward to another run.
I also discovered that I like roguelikes a lot, and I played a lot of Deadcells, Slay the Spire, and Vampire Survivors. I'm excited to catch up on at least a decade of classics that I've never played.
I'm getting back into weight lifting, and have been going every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday in the mornings since the beginning of the year. Consistency has always been the most difficult part for me, but it's been three weeks of going every day as planned and I'm excited to see what progress I can make. Here are my current numbers, I hope they're a little bigger in my next end of year review!
- Squats: 95lbs - 5x5
- Deadlifts: 115lbs - 5x5
- Bent Over Row: 85lbs - 5x5
- Overhead Press: 40lbs - 5x5
- Bench Press: 65lbs - 5x5
One thing that has made it hard to inspire myself to write here is that the internet is just...different now. It used to be called "Surfing the 'Net" and you never knew what you were going to find: a fansite, a personal art gallery, or a place where someone documented everything they knew about some obscure topic. I've intended this site to be a bit like the fun old websites of yore.
Now I scroll through reddit a bit and check the news, whether hacker or standard, but aside from a few small Slack or Discord spots, I don't spend too much time on the web. It's harder and harder to find genuine, interesting people and sites instead of ads and bots, and I think the ease at which we can create AI generated content isn't going to make that much better.
Nonetheless, the internet has been part of my life ever since my brother took me to the library when I was eight, and even though it's changed a lot since then, there are still cool things to stumble upon, and I want my website to be one of them.
2023 has been the best year of my life, even though some things have been unbearably difficult. My new life and partnership has made me happier than I can express. I hope you all have a great 2024 and I'll see you around.