2015 Year In Review

Published 31st December 2015

For pretty much five years running now I’ve taken time at the end of the year to reflect on the year that’s been, and look ahead to the year that’s to come. Last year I wanted to continue to work smarter, not harder and strike a better balance of “busyness” in my life. While I’m not sure I can say I’m any less busy, 2015 has been a great year for me in many ways.

Professionally

In may this year I decided I needed a change. For mainly personal reasons, I reached a point where I felt I needed to move on in my career and find a new job. So I reached out to a few people and Brad Tousenard over at Delicious Brains kindly offered to take me on. This turned out to be the right decision for me in so many ways. Working with a bigger team of very talented devs has made me a better developer and has motivated me to enjoy development the way I used to back when it was just a hobby for me. It’s also opened up some opportunities for me to do some travelling, something I had never really done before. Just after I started I attended my first WordCamp in Miami, which was amazing, and in 2016 I’m looking forward to attending WordCamp Europe in Vienna in June.

On the flip side of the coin, this year I have struggled a bit with the decline of revenue over at Dev7studios. I’ve not been actively developing my plugins for well over a year now, my focus has been on my full time jobs, so I’m not surprised that there is a decline. However I have been surprised in the way that it negatively affects me. I’ve said many times that I’m not a business guy and I enjoyed my accidental success with the Nivo Slider and was happy to ride that wave of success while it lasted. However, now that the wave has died out I’ve found myself mentally chasing that old success much more than I would like. Instead of building software because I enjoy making things, I’ve spent too much time this year building failed projects in the hope they would be another big hit financially. Something I’m definitely looking to work on in 2016.

Personally

After a couple of long, hard years of struggles with physical and mental health the second half of 2015 turned out to be a great year for me and for my wife. We had been trying to have a family for a few years and just when we thought it was never going to happen God blessed us and we found out Fiona was pregnant in July. The first half of the year admittedly was pretty hard going as we felt increasingly frustrated that nothing was happening. However the second half of the year has truly been a blessing as we’ve been able to know peace about the whole situation for the first time in years. It came just before we went on our summer holiday which was great as it was amazing to go away together on such a high. We are both oldest children so this is the first child on both sides of our families which means we have some very excited grand parents and aunties and uncles “to be”. We really are thankful to God in so many ways for what he has done for us in this situation. We’ve even sailed through the pregnancy thus far with no issues which we are also very thankful for.

So this combined with my new job made 2015 a pretty great year all round. My health is much improved which has allowed me to enjoy everything that has happened this year all the more. I’ve also done lots of the usual playing football, doing more photography and, just recently, have had a desire to start playing the drums again (will see how that goes in 2016).

Looking Ahead to 2016

2016 is shaping up to be a pretty exciting and busy year for us as we become first time parents. I’m genuinely looking forward to all the challenges that parenthood will bring and to see how our lives will change with a child. I’m even looking forward to seeing how I manage my work/life balance with a baby in the house and the sleepless nights. Otherwise I’m looking forward to my work, doing a bit of travelling and seeing what else God might bring in 2016.

As always it is my prayer that in 2016 I will continue to walk close with God and that he will continue strengthen, encourage and grow me in spiritual maturity. We are so thankful to him for all he has given us this year and pray that he will continue to equip us in 2016 as a whole new set of challenges face us in parenthood. I wish you all a happy new year when it comes and best wishes for 2016.