A look back at 2022 and a look forward to 2023

2023 written with sparklers

It’s 2023 and of course with that comes all of the reflective postings about what happened in the last 365 days and planning thoughts about what will come in the next year.

The cynic in me thinks that it’s odd that we use this arbitrary date where we have to put up a new calendar to be reflective about what has happened in the past. But at the same time, I would be lying if I said that I don’t partake in this seeming time-honored tradition.

So that’s what this post is about. Looking back at what happened in 2022, and looking forward at what I hope comes in 2023.

What happened in 2022

To be honest, 2022 felt like a year all over the place.

I started with a yearly theme of foundation. I wanted to build a foundation for my freelance work with more clients and creating more WordPress plugins and themes. Also, I hoped to work on my foundation as a web developer, diving deeper into JavaScript, PHP, CSS and more.

What happened wasn’t exactly that.

I didn’t really end up with more clients or even more WordPress products (though I did release Portafoglio right at the buzzer). And I definitely didn’t build as much of a foundation in web development either.

And to be honest, June of this past year was just a straight up challenge mentally. Living with depression and anxiety is definitely not fun (as if that’s breaking news for anyone).

But there was a light at the end of the tunnel of 2022 (and it wasn’t another train).

My family and I went on vacation to New Mexico, which was a much needed trip. For as odd as our family vacations have been over the years, this one was perfect all eight days of the trip. And I came back more refreshed for the second half of the year.

And then came WordCamp US, which I definitely needed.

I really struggled mentally with what I was doing as a web developer during this pandemic. I made web development and building with WordPress my full time thing because of the community I found — both in person here in the DFW area and online — around it. But the pandemic nixed all of that.

WordCamp US was the time I got to reconnect with the community and remember why I do this. While it was great to dive back into the exciting new world of full site editing and blocks with WordPress, getting to meet people I only knew through Twitter or their WordPress Slack avatars was truly amazing and inspiring. I came away ready to build new things and learn how to do cool things on the web.

And, in fact, the Portafoglio theme is directly from that inspiration.

So, while 2022 definitely did not go how I expected it to go, it has ended on a much brighter side thankfully.

What I hope happens in 2023

So now what do I hope will happen in the next 365 or so days?

Hopefully not what happened last year.

Having said that, my yearly theme is once again foundation. I really do like this idea of creating a foundation for what I do with WordPress, with my client work, with what I know in web development and even just getting out there more.

I’m hoping to create a foundation of three to four new block themes, finding niches for small businesses, podcasters and content creators. I really think that block themes are going to be a great advancement for WordPress, and now is the time to go all in on them.

I’m also hoping to actually grow my client base as a freelancer. This has always been tricky because I suck at marketing (even though at UNTHSC the web team is in the Office of Marketing and Communications). But hopefully this is the year that I get that all sorted out.

At the same time, I hoping to finally take those deeper dives into JavaScript, CSS and PHP to become a better developer. I’m really excited to actually learn React and not know just enough to be dangerous.

And I hope this is a year where I can get out there more, both virtually and in person.

Oh, and I’m excited to go to WordCamp US once again in August in the D.C. area (I may or may not have started my vacation research over the holidays).

But most of all, I hope 2023 is year where the overall trend line continues upward. Yes, there will still be downs, but there will be ups, and I hope there are more ups than downs.

Music for the road

One thing I’m hoping to do with these blog posts is share a piece of music that’s either just been in my head recently (so that it gets stuck in your head) or that fits with what I’m writing about.

For this post, I’m sharing “O Magnum Mysterium” by Morten Lauridsen and performed by the Northwestern University Symphonuc Wind Ensemble. This is generally a piece that is performed at holiday and Christmas concerts in winter, and it’s something I’ve been listening to a lot recently.

I got to play this back in honor band in 7th grade, but I definitely overlooked this piece with its long notes compared to the more complicated stuff we played. Kind of wish I got to play it when I was more musically mature.

I highly recommend listening to this with the sound all the way turned up or with headphones (or both). The climax of the piece at the 3:30 mark is simply ethereal.

Here’s to a great 2023!

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