A look back at 2016

Rather than wait until the end of the December, I like to use my birthday to reflect on how the year has been.

This has been a very weird year. I mean, even aside from all the news, it was just an absolute mess of a year.

I ended 2015 by unexpectedly winning tickets to the Star Wars premiere! That day in December was, basically, the high point of 2016...

I started off the year with an amazing job opportunity. I was all set for a perfect role which then, unexpectedly, fizzled away. No one's fault - corporate restructures, people moving teams, budgetary constraints - just a series of circumstances which cause the role to evaporate.

Without a doubt, I should have learned by now not to rely too heavily on any one plan - but this was such a certainty, that I didn't have a contingency. That was rather naïve of me.

I also had a client flake out on me. I'd had several meetings and conference calls with them about the cool stuff they wanted me to do. And then... nothing. They couldn't get their tech to work, and their guy was going to call me, and they might need to rethink things, and... and... and...

I suck at following up on opportunities. I know that sometimes I am often the weak link in the chain. I'm pretty sure I've let some business slip away because I've thought "Oh, I can do that tomorrow" - but never do. Well, there's a New Year's Resolution for me; be less crap.

My wife's parents made the decision that they wanted to retire to New Zealand. This occupied a surprising amount of time and head-space. Could we afford to buy their house to let them move? Would we be able to store their stuff? Help them clean everything out? Assist with the move? Put them up for a few weeks? How about months?

Basically, a long-running saga which culminated with them coming to live with us for a month, and a fond and slightly sniffley farewell at Heathrow airport in September.

In the middle of all this, we decided to treat ourselves to a week of vegetarian cookery lessons in Fuerteventura. The lessons were amazing - but the holiday experience was not! A few days before the flight, my wife twisted her ankle and was left needing crutches for a week. In all the confusion and stress, I got to Fuerteventura airport only to discover I'd left my driving licence in the UK...

It all got sorted out - but it didn't make for the most relaxing break!

My friend Luke died. The funeral was such a sad and terrible day. I'm not wonderful at expressing my emotions. Another thing for me to get better at.

After months of rejections, both Liz and I managed to get new jobs in the same week! This, of course, comes with its own set of stresses. Should we move house? Will we cope with the pressures of commuting? Will the jobs be fulfilling? Will people in the new offices like us?


Basically, what a thoroughly stressful and unpleasant year.

Or was it?

It's easy for me to focus on the negatives. I think 2016itis makes that mandatory. So it it important that I continually remind myself of all the good there was this year.

My mate Alex got married to a lovely woman called Jennifer. A week later, a different mate called Alex got married to a different woman called Jennifer! A delightful and pleasing coincidence.

I had my work published in a magazine.

We went to see our first gig in ages - Postmodern Jukebox. Brilliant music.

After participating in FameLab last year, I was honoured to be asked to be a judge for this year.

We participated in our first May Morning. An Oxford tradition which involves getting up at stupid-o'clock to ring in the spring.

I did a clutch of media interviews - including You And Yours for the BBC, and a bunch of podcasts.

Several conferences asked me to speak. It is always gratifying to be picked from a CFP - and seeing the quality of the other speakers leaves me humbled. A special shout-out to

DevTalks Cluj - in Romania.

It's always a treat to visit Romania. The tech scene there is busting with energy and the crowds are friendly.

I've blogged about my ThingMonk talk on The (Connected) House of Horrors.

Again, being surrounded by smart people who ask insightful questions is a joy and a privilege.

Hackference Brum. Everyone is always going on about how amazing this conference is. Despite only being an hour away from my home, I've never been. Held in the UK's first cinema, it was an absolute blast.

And, finally, I got a new job! Yes, it is stressful. Yes, the commute is a pain. Yes, I feel like I'm making a positive difference to the world in my own small way.

2016 has been crazy. 2017 can't be any worse, right...?

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