Putting Myself First & Giving Back: A Look Back on 2015

Reading Time: 5 mins

I know it’s the last day of 2015, and new content has been less frequent than usual. However, I wanted to take time this morning to write as so much has happened throughout 2015. 2015 was a year of changes, for this blog, RachieVee, personally and professionally. It’s pretty amazing to see how far I’ve come and  I’m looking forward to what the new year brings.

My Blog in 2015

The highest number of page views in a day on RachieVee so far are 2,519. The average traffic is 81 views per day. My most popular post this year that’s still generating traffic is my first Foundation post, “Foundation, Underscores, and Sass – oh my!” at 4,729 views.

My ten most popular posts of 2015.

 

I have said this before, but this blog has been such a tremendously awesome tool for me. I’ve used it as reference for things that present Rachel had forgotten and past Rachel had luckily written about it. It’s been my place to jot down ideas when they strike and it’s a reminder to stay curious when I see a draft with a question I’ve yet to answer. Sure, this blog was inspired by a WCNYC talk in 2014 and getting myself in a position where I’d be more credible professionally. But I really started this blog because as a developer who was still learning, it was frustrating to get past the geek speak and find reliable resources that everyone could benefit from.

Whenever I faced a problem, a question, if it took too long to find the answer or if that answer wasn’t something easily digested, I thought to myself, “How the hell are people supposed to learn from this?”

 

Look at all this trouble I went through to resolve X, I pity the person that has to go through the same trouble. There’s no reason why we should go through this much trouble to find the answer to X. I need to do something about this to save some other poor soul that is feeling this very feeling right now. ( I confess, I still have bouts of impostor syndrome. )

Code has humbled me many times in the 5-ish years I’ve been doing this professionally. I have been reminded often that this field isn’t easy. However, I’ve learned so much from my fellow developers, it’s helped me to get this far. I wanted to help make learning easier on myself along with others in my place. I hope that RachieVee has done that so far and will continue to do so in 2016.

The Developer Community

2015 is definitely the year I became more active in the WordPress Community and developer community in general. I volunteered for the first time as a teaching assistant for a Code & Cupcakes workshop. I answered questions on the WordPress Stack Exchange. For a while, I offered support on the WordPress Forums. What really shifted things, was volunteering to test for accessibility on make.wordpress.org. This was another step in my journey to learning to code accessibly.

RachieVee posts got shared on Twitter by known and trusted members of the WordPress community. WPShout has been amazing in getting my writing out there. Writing, “The WordPress Hooks Firing Sequence,” got attention from some awesome people. I’ve met said awesome people at WCNYC 2015, and within the last two months, I finally joined the WordPress Slack channel. I’ve been contributing to the accessibility handbook and just yesterday I submitted two bugs to core.

I have been making a dive into open source for the first time and writing for the a11y project as well. So many new and terrifyingly great things that I’ve done in 2015 that I would have never imagined myself doing in 2014. It’s been amazing so far and I hope to continue contributing in 2016 as well as learning about accessibility.

What I’ve Learned about Myself Personally:

In my personal life, 2015 was the year to take care of myself. That’s a big reason why RachieVee has been so inactive in recent months. It’s been a combination of getting used to a new job, my mental health fighting me and my physical health failing. ( I’m getting over the worst cold in history the last two weeks! ) As obligated as I felt to write on RachieVee consistently, it just wasn’t in me, and it’s something I just had to accept.

There was a point in my life where my job came first, but all that changed. Instead, my family and I come first. I’ve been eating more whole foods, went dairy-free, and focus on getting actual sleep every night.

Homer Simpson dissapearing in pizza.

I confess, I still “cheat” on eating healthy. Hello pizza!

 

I found a great counselor that has made such a difference in my mental health. I spend time with my mother, who is approaching her second year fighting stage 4 cancer. For the holidays, I made a point to spend them in the way that makes me happy – not how others who aren’t actively involved in my life “feel” like I should spend them. It’s made the end of the year holidays so much more enjoyable knowing that I’m taking the time to rest, and to spend my time with the people who really matter.

I started making time to do things I enjoy that I had stopping doing. I make time to read again, to write poetry again, to re-discover music ( Amazon Prime is the best! ).  If there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that I should never sacrifice my own well being and I should enjoy being with the people that matter most to me.

What I’ve Learned about Myself Professionally:

In my professional life, 2015 was the year of finding a job that aligned with my personal life. I tested my metal some place new after leaving another agency. I wanted to see if I could make it beyond the “nest” and because my personal life needed the changes in work/life balance. Then I dabbled in freelance for about 3 months which was absolutely terrifying because it was new and unplanned. This was after I wrote, “The Adventures of Dream Seeking“. It was another valuable confirmation for me that in-office jobs were no longer where I thrived. Then, this blog kicked in for me in a new way, and connected me to the best job I’ve had thus far with 10up. It’s remote, it’s doing what I love ( WordPress ) and there are no words to express how exciting this experience has been so far. I’m re-affirming a lesson from 2014, that I am more capable than I think I am. Look at all the new things I’ve tried in 2015 that has leveled up my professional experience:

  • Grunt
  • VVV
  • Vagrant
  • Flexbox
  • Contributing to WP Documentation and Core
  • Contributing to Open Source
  • Talked in RL and chat with prominent community members
  • Github
  • DeployHQ
  • Amazon Prime Music (No really, this needs to be on this list!)
  • Freelancing
  • Remote Work

What’s in store for 2016?

I’ve experienced so many new, scary, and rewarding things in 2015. I hope to continue pushing myself while still remembering to take care of myself and those I care for. I’d like to continue writing about accessibility on RachieVee, on WordPress Documentation, and open source projects. I’d like to continue learning about the CMS I love and I’d also like to strengthen my vanilla JS skills. Here’s to hoping I meet even more awesome people, find more great books to read, discover new songs, and continuously grow.

I want to thank all those that have read, shared, and commented on RachieVee. It’s been great sharing and learning from you all. I hope that you all have a wonderful new year. See you in 2016!

 

2 thoughts on “Putting Myself First & Giving Back: A Look Back on 2015

  1. Hey Rachel,
    Thanks so much for pointing me to this post. Sounds like some great personal revelations this year! Also excited to learn about your involvement with #a11y. I hope you blog on that learning journey as well.

    Wishing you a successful 2016!

    • Hi Carrie,

      Thanks for stopping by. Learning about #a11y has been awesome so far. That sounds like a great idea for a new blog post. Thanks for the inspiration. 🙂

      Wishing you a successful 2016 as well!

Leave a Reply