amberley dot blog

The Road So Far V

January 10, 2020

Part five. This accidentally became a consistent annual thing, though it wasn’t the intent when I wrote the first one. At the time, I had just uprooted my life in DC to move back to Texas and do a code bootcamp in Austin (though my experience working on the web began long before that). It’s wild that it’s been four years and I’m happy to still be here working on the web.

2019 review

I overall did a really poor job of tracking my goals in any systematic kind of way last year. My 2019 can be divided into two pretty distinct parts, so that’s how I’ll approach it.

2019: January - July

I feel really good about what I accomplished during the first half of the year.

(Read on, or just get the cliff notes on my end of year Twitter thread).

Public speaking

I overcame truly wicked speaking anxiety to do quite a lot of public speaking (a lot for me, not like “dev-rel” level). Though it was partially because my job accidentally overlapped with the DevRel area of Gatsby at the time.

I’m happy I did these, and proud. But, I have no desire to do any more public speaking. I’m sure with practice I could overcome the anxiety, but it’s just not worth it. I thought that the anxiety comes from fear of being judged as a subject matter expert, but it doesn’t — I spoke to a group of bootcamp students recently about my life and career (something I’m ostensibly an expert on), and even that — still, with the anxiety.

Guested on podcasts

I guested on a couple of podcasts last year:

I have open invites to do several more, but have not been able to do them yet. (More on that later).

Started a podcast

In the spring, I started planning with Kurt Kemple to launch a podcast for tech folks and beyond, exploring the intersection of tech and health (mental and physical). We launched Fullstack Health in July.

We accidentally went on hiatus in September. (More on that later).

Bought a house

Like, holy shit.

This is hands-down one of my favorite things that happened in 2019. I love my little house, and I love putting down roots and investing in Austin.

Started publishing lessons on Egghead

I started publishing some lessons on the Egghead platform. I love what Egghead is doing — their teaching model, the way they’re running their business, everything. It’s something I’m very happy to be a part of, and looking forward to publishing more.

I outlined a course to produce, and have a full notebook of lesson ideas, but I stopped publishing around August. (More on that later).

2019: August - December

(Again, read on, or just get the cliff notes on this quote-tweet of my end of year Twitter thread).

I try to be pretty open about my struggles with mental health, and do whatever I can to help reduce the stigma. Someone I went to elementary school very recently ended her life. We hadn’t spoken in a long time, or ever been super close, but I had kept up with her through the years via Facebook. Her loss does not compute.

The latter half of 2019 I experienced a debilitating depressive episode. It took an enormous toll on my professional productivity, personal productivity, professional relationships, personal relationships, and physical and mental well-being (not listed in order of importance).

I won’t go into detail, but there’s a lot I’ve come to terms with and found closure on, particularly in the last couple months. I’m cautiously picking up steam again.

Reflecting on 2019 Goals

  1. Embrace opportunities. Yep. In the first half of the year at least. I said yes to a lot. I’m glad I did, but I also don’t plan to do quite as much of that this year.

  2. Work publicly. Nah. Not really. Particularly after moving teams within Gatsby. And… I’m fine with that.

2020 Goals

  1. Prioritize physical and mental health. To above all else prioritize my physical and mental health. Focus on eating foods that make me physically feel my best. Stick to consistent exercise (whatever that looks like) movement is crucial for brain and body. Prioritize getting plenty of quality sleep.

  2. Focus on being good at and enjoying my job and my craft. To focus on being the best team member I can for my team at Gatsby. To find joy in the intellectual curiosities and learning that my job presents every day. To be present and communicative with my team.


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