2014: Looking Back and Thinking Forward

Selfie in front of the Pantheon

2014 was a very good year for myself and my family. To be frank, I hadn’t realized how blessed I was this year until the past few days as I paused to reflect on everything that has happened.

That being said, I found that my successes in some areas also led to some shortfalls in other areas.

I’d like to cover my successes and shortfalls, and how I plan to address shortfalls, in a few separate categories:

  • Career
  • Family
  • Health


This year was huge for wins in the career category. In July of this year, I started my dream job at Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com as well as many other products/services.

Along with the honor of working for such an impactful company, I also received a sizable increase in salary as well as many other benefits.

As part of my work at Automattic, I have been able to travel to the following cities for work:

Here are a few highlight photos:

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In 2014, I became a core contributor to WordPress with contributions in both 4.0 and 4.1.

I had the honor of speaking at WordCamp Austin and WordCamp Orlando.

While I am happy with where my career is currently at, there is always more work to be done.

In 2015, my career plans will center around:

  • Learning and writing much more JavaScript
  • Making at least one contribution to the WordPress mobile apps
  • Speaking at at least one conference
  • Making a contribution to each major release of WordPress.org


I’ll go ahead and break this category up for the three other humans living in my household 🙂


For those who don’t already know, my daughter died last year. This event alone was very sad, but unseen to many were the effects that it had on my relationship with Sara. I’d be lying if I said that there weren’t a few moments near the beginning of this year where I doubted that our relationship could last.

But, I am happy to say that I feel we have pulled through this very well. As a matter of fact, my love and respect for Sara has grown to a level that I have not known before with any other partner.

I believe that this respect and love for her comes from a newfound understanding that while I may like to say that I am the leader of my family, in almost all ways, Sara is the de facto authority.

Sara happily schedules family events, coordinates school efforts, and nags my live-in cousin when he is not performing to our standards. She does all of this while also holding down two separate jobs and going to school full time.

Unfortunately, I feel this often leaves her overworked and under-appreciated.

To address this, I will be taking on more of the financial burden for the forseeable future so that Sara can worry much less about money and instead focus on family and school.


It’s been both heartwarming and frustrating to see Hero grow so close to Sara. I feel that this is largely due to my focus on wins in the career/financial category. To address this, I plan on having more meaningful interactions with Hero. Namely, I plan on reading nighttime books with Hero more as well as more Father-Son outings.


My 17-year-old cousin moved in with Sara and I in late July for his senior year of High School. With a bit of support and nagging, Jake received acceptable grades for the semester, and is on his way to graduating on time. So, I guess that counts as a success so far?

There’s been several arguments over the past 5 months between the three of us, in which I usually come down pretty hard on Jake for grades, lack of respect or motivation, etc. But, when I step back and look at the situation as well as how Jake performs, I realize that he is a damned decent kid that is just a bit rough around the edges.

Overall, I think Sara and I have done well here. Although, I think we should possibly consider easing up at times.


It’s no secret that my health has not been a priority in the past few years. Hell, one look at my “rotund” belly (Hero called out a parallel between my belly and Santa’s while reading a book recently) would point that out.

While I need to lose somewhere in the neighborhood of 100-120 pounds to be at the ideal weight for my height, my doctor recently suggested that I focus on losing 25 pounds in 2015. Which should get me to 260 pounds.

Also, related to weight, I lead a very sedentary lifestyle and need to focus on becoming more active in general. After buying a pebble recently, I believe I am going to track general activity by counting steps. I’ll aim for at least 1,000 steps per day.

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