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My 2018, looking back at an awesome, trying year
2018-12-28
life

To resume this year: 2018 was an awesome, trying year but I have grown a lot as a person and a developer.

It's hard to remember everything one did during a whole year. I've probably forgotten to mention half of what I did. So here's what I remember from 2018.

Personal

If you didn't know, I'm an introvert. I'm scared of people which usually result in me staying by myself. This year I tried to socialize a bit more.

A big thing for me was to start to open up to some people about myself. I usually stay quiet about everything that happened to me when I was a child and a teenager because people tends to look at me differently.

I started to involve myself in my company "social" life by organizing a drink for my first year and for my birthday. I also participated in a karaoke (a blew everyone's mind by singing "Be Our Guest").

In April I moved to an apartment in Brussel which saved me 1h30min of commute every day. It also allows me to see my sister more often, as I live in the same building as her we see each other every day.

In September I applied to a Saas company based in Munich as a Backend Software Engineer. After a 3 months process and a day of on-site interviews, I wasn't chosen. But that's ok, I had my own reservations about the company not being what I was looking for.

It made me realize what I expected from a company and what type of company I wish to work for. It also made me think about starting my own company someday.

The hardest month for me was October. I wanted to do too much, do more at work to improve my skills and our workflows, work on tons of project at home, lifting almost every day, running longer distances and I ended up burning my self out.

Due to the pressure I was putting on my self I couldn't sleep correctly, waking up every hour or two. I started to be bored at work, couldn't find anything to do at home, I wasn't paying any attention to my nutrition or health.

I had to take a break from everything. In November I stopped going to the gym, I stopped running, I stopped working on a lot of personal projects and I've completely separated my personal and professional life.

Having different schedule than my co-workers I had, sometimes, requests to do some work after my day was over. Which I was doing of course. But during the year I've started to make the barrier between home and work more distinct.

I've stopped taking my work laptop home, I've removed my company Slack channel from my phone and home computers and I stop answering any work-related phone calls once I left the building.

I'm still not in a great place, but I'm better than I was at the time and I keep working on that every day.

Health

In April I started to run to work twice a week but I manage to hurt my leg after 2-3 weeks. This was my first injury of 2018.

In May I went to Northern Ireland to walk the Ulster Way for 2 weeks but had to come back after a week due to a foot injury (I had already walked 200km).

In July I started to bike to work and in August I went to the South of France to bike in the mountains.

The first day I got back to work, I had a bike accident where I injured my wrist and damage my bike. I couldn't work for 10ish days and I'm still waiting on my brother to finish fixing my bike (he lost one piece of gear).

I've started to go to the gym (thanks to DevLifts) to shape my body a little bit. Running and cycling are great, but that's not enough for me to lose all the fat that I've accumulated over the years.

In 4 months I haven't changed a lot but I've more than double the amount I can lift and I feel way better since I started.

In October I attempted to run a marathon but gave up after 36km. But you can read about that in its dedicated blog post.

Tech

In December I've passed the exam to become a Certified Laravel Developer.

I submitted a talk to Fosdem but got turned down. To be honest, I'm a bit relieved, being a very stressed person, public speaking terrifies me. However, I still want to do a talk, once, just to be able to say that I've done it and that it's not for me.

I've also started a blog. I haven't written a lot, but it's a good start for me. I'm going to try to write a bit more often in 2019.

This year I've also decided to improve my coding skills, so I've bought a lot of online courses from a lot of great people. From the top of my head, I've bought:

I recommend all of those courses (and books) to everyone. They are really great and they helped me learn and figure great things out.

Other great books I bought (and highly recommend) are:

During the year I've tried to be more involved in the Laravel community by submitting PRs to libraries I use a lot and I released one or two small packages to help with cookies and tracking. I've also refactored my VueJS wrapper for FineUploader to use renderless components and to add tests.

I still need to work on the documentation for some of those packages/libraries. I should probably focus on that next year.

I also started to take an interest in privacy and how we, as developers, can improve our ways to make privacy-first websites.

My goals for 2019

One thing I really want to do in early 2019 is to take 1 or 2 weeks off, unplug from everything, take my bike, my walking shoes and go to the South of France.

My brother offered me to participate at a promo triathlon (500m swimming, 20km cycling, and 5 km running) in June. So I'm going to attempt that, it shouldn't be too hard as I can already handle the 3 distances separately.

I'm also going to rerun a marathon, but this time I want to finish it.

Tech-wise I just want to keep improving. I have 2 projects in mind for 2019, those are projects I've been putting aside for some time and that I really want to work on.


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