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I spent this year as a ghost

jamessessford profile image James Sessford Originally published at jamessessford.com on ・3 min read

I'm not one for being able to objectively look back over a period of time and be able to pick out anything I think I've done of value - I recognise this as one of my major failings.

I've never tried to do a year in review before, but I see it's all the rage on Twitter so thought I'd give it a shot.

Home

I think the only regret I have at home for this year is not taking care of my mental health as much as I should have.

Home life in general is fantastic, I'm still living happily with my girlfriend and we now have a dog and are finally starting to get the house in order!

My brother and his family have also moved closer to us which is fantastic as I get to see them a lot more often than I did before.

Going in to next year, my goals for my personal life would be:

- Prioritise my mental health more
- Set better boundaries for work in my spare time
- Try to budget more and be better with money

Work

I've had a pretty strange year at work. I spent 60% of my week sub contracted and working on Fight Club - the first rule of Fight Club is you don't talk about Fight Club! - and the other 40% of the time either working from the Atticus office/Client offices or home.

Fight Club was the best project I've gotten to work on professionally so far. It was the first project I was given complete creative control over my part of it.

The project was completed in December and handed back over, with further development being handled internally.

I feel proud to have completed the project but a sadness that I may not be part of the team that helps it grow.

I think my goal for work for next year is to be less nomadic in the work I'm doing and to stop bringing work home with me.

Freelance & Personal work

I didn't take on any freelance work over the last year but did have a few personal moments I'm very happy with:

Open source

I started contributing, or attempting to, open source software. I've written a couple of packages in Packagist and NPM and it's been quite exciting having some software out in the wild.

I didn't get unbelievable download stats but that wasn't really the goal. I put something back into an ecosystem that has given me so much and it's something I plan to carry on into 2020 and beyond.

Playing in the open source world also let me try out some fantastic services like Style CI, Travis and Coveralls and got more comfortable with testing in PHP and JavaScript.

Closed source

I've been tinkering with a couple of projects in my spare time over the course of the last year. Nothing that's at release stage yet but I'm confident of beta releases in the early months of the new year.

It's been great to be able to play with different technologies in my spare time as this has been my primary source for learning new things over the past year, including:

- TypeScript
- Tailwind CSS
- InertiaJS
- Laravel Zero

Conclusions

Prioritising my mental health and free time has to be the biggest focus of 2020.

Overall I'd say the past year, on paper at least, has been more of a success than I thought it was but there is room for both personal and professional improvement.

I'm looking forward to the challenges of the next year!

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James Sessford

@jamessessford

Scottish PHP developer living the dream in County Durham

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