Let's take a look back at 2022: what I made, what I learned — both professionally and personally — and what I didn't get around to.
Welcome to 2023, and to the first kind of "off-topic" blog post from me. What I'd really like to do this year is use this blog to write about more than just tech, the web and tutorials. I'd like to share and explore some more personal thoughts, create more short-form content, and use this space on the internet to let you learn more about me.
But first, let's take a look back at 2022: what I made, what I learned — both professionally and personally — and what I didn't get around to.
Working at Netlify
On 11th January 2022, I joined Netlify as a Staff Developer Experience Engineer. I'm really happy here; I have some wonderful colleagues, I love the work I do, and for the first time in two years, I'm not changing jobs this January!
One of the biggest highlights of my work at Netlify this year was working on the FYI Fridays series, for which I also composed and performed the theme tune! More useful tips and tricks from Netlify are coming your way in 2023.
I also received a Microsoft MVP Award for the second year running for my contributions to the Developer Technologies community. 🎉
Lots of writing
I also co-authored the 2022 Jamstack chapter of the Web Almanac with Laurie Voss.
Here's the list!
Live Streams, Videos and Events
In 2022 I streamed live coding on Twitch for a total of 225 hours and 27 minutes! Live streaming still remains my most favourite way to connect with a community of developers whilst learning new things, experimenting, and yolo-deploying new projects. And whilst I stopped focussing on follower counts and growth so much in 2022 for the sake of my mental health, I think it's worth mentioning that I more-than-doubled my Twitch following last year, gaining 4,631 followers and surpassing 8k. 🥳
On YouTube, I released five videos of Twitch stream highlights (I still struggle with creating my own YouTube-focussed content) and five experimental shorts. I'm still not sure whether YouTube is my bag, but I'll talk more about this another time.
I featured in nine podcasts:
and 10 talks and events:
Websites and projects
The biggest lesson I learned this year is that not all new projects need to be built and engineered for longevity. Some projects can be ephemeral, some projects can exist as small ideas to inspire others, and some projects probably aren't even projects at all (and that's why I'm not listing them all here). And what's more, it's okay to admit defeat, archive things, and move on.
I archived some projects
A running theme of 2022 has been about reducing my mental load to be able to focus on what's most important at any given time. For this reason I made the heavy decision to archive three projects that I launched in 2021 and 2022: Women of Jamstack, unbreak.tech and Women Who Stream. The story behind these projects and why I archived them is a blog post for another time, but let's just say I wanted to shift my public-facing focus to being a technologist first, rather than an activist. (Because let's face it, none of us can really change the world, can we?)
The Claw Stream Team and Community
I continued to grow The Claw Stream Team. We're now up to 22 members and the Discord community is steadily growing at a healthy rate. We staged two team raidathons in 2022 with massive success, and held the second annual community awards ceremony. More of this to come in 2023!
I moved house!
After ten years in our first very tiny house, we moved to a proper family house in June 2022. It's been wonderful to finally have the space to spread out, and to work from home more comfortably! Given combining project-managing renovations, full time jobs and parenting proved to be a little stressful, we're taking a bit of a break for the first half of 2023. I have to say though, it would have been much worse without being able to escape the noise in my little office at the bottom of the garden! Look at that sunrise. 😍
I took control of my health
After two and a half years of pain, fatigue and weirdness that started at the beginning of the pandemic, I finally received a diagnosis in October 2022 of a chronic illness (gastroparesis, for the curious). Before the diagnosis, I was convinced that the treatment would be a quick fix; I'd have an operation, and I'd go back to my normal life pain-free. But given there's no cure for this condition, I had to take matters into my own hands to improve my quality of life.
At the time of writing this post, I have exercised daily for 71 consecutive days for at least 30 minutes, rain or shine, without fail, regardless of how tired or stressed or busy or grumpy I am. I cannot stress how much this has improved not just how manageable my condition is, but also my mental health and my physical fitness. I've been taking around 10k steps a day (including on Christmas Day!), and according to my Apple Watch, I have shifted my cardio fitness levels from below average to above average. For me, exercise used to always be about losing weight. And whilst I have become healthier in this regard in the last 71 days, it's actually so much more than that. Physical activity is something for me, it's now part of my life. I can't not do it. And plus, a nice healthy walk outside gives me some extra vitamin D and some time to myself to think.
After a conversation with a friend where I vented about not being able to make as much music as I wanted, she recommended a 12-week course laid out in The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. I'm currently on week eight of the course (which I should probably do all over again to get better results), but the most transformative part of the course for me has been The Morning Pages. What are Morning Pages, I hear you ask?
In the morning, ideally before you do anything else, write three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing. Sometimes I write one page or two pages or three pages (usually in bed with a cup of tea), but I always do it. I've done this for around the same length of time as my daily exercise, and this is something that I will take with me to 2023. The Morning Pages allows me to vent, explore and generate ideas, work out anxieties, and just be myself for myself. And in fact, the very idea for this blog post came out of my morning pages today.
I changed how I use social media
On the theme of mental health, in October 2022 I realised I had been "online" and working continuously for two and a half years, all thanks to social media and the blurry lines of personal and professional lives in the tech industry. I had tried the whole "no social media" and going off grid half-heartedly in the past, but this time I went all out.
Since October 2022, I don't use any social media outside of work hours. I deleted all apps from my phone and iPad, deleted social media accounts that weren't making me happy (including TikTok and Polywork), and my mental health has greatly improved. For the first time since I started learning in public, I finally have separation between my work life and personal life. I have more space for hobbies (I'm taking up cross-stitch!), connecting with friends and family, and just switching off in general. I highly recommend this.
In 2022 I went to the US for the first time for a Netlify team event. Despite not getting over the jet lag for the whole four-day trip, it was fun to fly long-haul for the first time since visiting Canada in 2012. I'm looking forward to more of this in 2023!
What I didn't get around to
There were so many more things I wanted to do in 2022, but I'm trying not to beat myself up too much about it. Here's a selection of to-do items on my Trello board.
I had planned on starting up a YouTube series called Weird Web News Hole where I wanted to showcase the weird, wonderful and nostalgic things happening across the web every week. But again, YouTube-focussed content is something I really struggle with; I prefer to create my content live.
I wanted to start work on an HTML for Kids YouTube series.
I wanted to start up a series of casual events in The Claw Discord, but I'm only one person, so I might have to rally a group of volunteers to help.
There's also the very pressing issue of needing to refactor most of my Twitch Bot before the old APIs are deprecated. I should really prioritise that.
I wanted to make a new Twitch trailer, and a trailer for the stream team featuring some of the best clips.
I wanted to write ten more short blog posts.
I wanted to build two Chromium extensions.
I wanted to dive into the VICE Commodore 64 emulator to relive some of my childhood.
And finally, I wanted to get back to making music, which was the driver that got me started on The Morning Pages. Maybe my new musical toy will help with that, but I'm probably just a sucker for gear acquisition syndrome.
2022 was a year, wasn't it? Here's to 2023. 🥂