On to 2018
At the beginning of 2017, I set myself some goals. Somehow, I mostly managed to do pretty well at them, despite the fact that 2017 went sideways for me in some pretty significant ways. Let's review, shall we?
Promotion to staff engineer? I ended up changing jobs which I hadn't been expecting at the beginning of the year, but got this all the same.
Squat my body weight? I first hit 130x1 back in May, and then yesterday as part of training for my next max test I got 130x4! Boom.
A good-sized project on the monitoring team? Nope. That team and I ended up not being a very good match, which ended up being a big contributor to a lot of stress and burnout that I experienced this year.
Photography? I've taken a lot of photos this year, and some of them I've even put on the internets! I have only shot on full manual mode all year, so I'm feeling pretty good about being able to use this camera properly.
Take an actual vacation? I took 2.5! (One technically was attached to a conference but it was 2 days of conference to 10 days of vacation so I'm counting it partially.)
Only 4 conference talks? Hahahaha, oh, past-me. Is there a numbering system where 11 is the same as 4? Yeah, this one didn't happen so much.
Code as Craft post and talk? Nope. Like I mentioned, this year went a bit sideways. I did do quite a bit other speaking and writing that I'm quite happy with, but not for CaC specifically.
All in all, I feel about as good about 2017 as I feel like I reasonably could, at least considering all the circumstances. Not gonna lie, 2017 was also a stressful and depressing and fucked up year on a lot of levels. I would say I'm glad to have it be behind me, but I don't want the universe to take that as a challenge.
I did continue my tradition of setting goals for 2018, but that's not what I want to talk about here. With inspiration from the amazing Cate Huston, I want to focus now on things I am liberating myself from in 2018. Not long into 2017, I ran absolutely out of fucks to give. I've thankfully managed to get several of them back (or maybe these are new ones? It's hard to tell) but I want to make sure that I spend them much more carefully going forward, and this means making a deliberate effort to free myself from things that use up fucks without giving me anything in return.
I am done focusing on "being an engineer" to the exclusion of the rest of my interests and self. In the past I've made (admittedly halfhearted) attempts to do things like work on open source (or code projects in general) in my spare time and it makes me miserable. If you genuinely enjoy coding as a hobby, good for you, but don't expect everyone else to do the same, and don't make your expectations about how people should spend their free time part of your hiring processes.
I am over being afraid of what people might think of my non-tech projects. I have several things I've started to work on that I haven't been talking about super publicly but you know what? If other people don't want to hear about the non-tech stuff that I'm doing, the unfollow button exists and they are more than welcome to use it.
I am very done with people who expect me to do unpaid work for them. Obviously there's more nuance than that - different people/groups have different budgets, there are certainly things that I care enough about to just give time or energy to, but big companies with big budgets who expect me to do free diversity work because I'm not a dude? Nope.
I am going to put a lot more thought into what speaking events I do in the future. Public speaking is a big expenditure of time, work, and emotional energy for me, not to mention the travel logistics and stress. I'm very lucky that I don't need "exposure" at this point right now, and while part of me wants to make sure that I am able to continue public speaking if I want to, I am also very very done prioritizing conferences at the expense of many other things in my life.
I am going to try to stop worrying so much about what random people on the internets might think about me. Of course, not all unsolicited feedback is bad - if I do something to hurt someone I would expect to get called out for that, but that's very different from, for example, dudes on twitter with Opinions on my appearance or how I pronounce Nagios or how they think I should only tweet about tech stuff or anything like that. I am done trying to make myself smaller to make other people more comfortable.
I want 2018 to be the year that I set myself free from other people's expectations of what I should be. In 2018 I will start taking up more space. In 2018 I will be bold.