Huh, looks like I didn’t do an end-of-year post in 2018. I guess that sums up my blogging activity for the past year (or several years). But I’m back at it this year and, like past years, hope to be much, much better about it in the next year.

This month caps an interesting year. We moved to a new home on the East Side of Long Beach. As a result of that, we became landlords to the condo we had lived in for 10 years. Marcia had a tough but very successful surgery that required a couple of months of recovery. I became a college professor and traveled to Panama. Oh, and both kids are in school at the same time!

Truly an interesting year.

Work life

I continue to love what I do. As of Friday, I am officially on vacation for the next two weeks, which is a much longer break that I typically take. It’s tough to do when no one is paying you to take a vacation. But it was more than justified. I clocked 1,752 hours of billable work this year, which is only 32 hours below last year. I probably would have exceeded last year if I had worked the final week of the year, but what’s the point? I billed more this year than last year and have done a good job managing my budget so that I have the luxury of affording time off.

I actually took a lot more time off this year. In fact, I tried something new the second half of the year and took a four-day weekend once per month. I had this vision that I would use the time to accomplish some goals, like getting better at JavaScript and learning at least one framework but I used most of the time for rest. One of those weekends was spent in Yosemite with friends.

OK, so that’s more of a life update, but I really did feel like this was my best year of work yet. I still have the best clients, plenty of work to do, and the best perk of all: getting to work from home or wherever I want.

My new digs.

Moving homes means I have a new office. Marcia and I now have plenty of room to share and the place is so much brighter than what we had in the condo. I still find myself heading to a cafe every now and then, but with much less frequency because of how well this office accommodates me.

I mentioned at the top that I became a college professor! That’s a huge step for me because I’ve wanted to teach for years and have viewed it as my eventual move toward retirement. Not that I’m close to retirement or anything. I view it as a pseudo retirement plan I can use to ease into retirement with a modest and stable income stream in addition to my savings.

I’ll be teaching an intro-level course on HTML and CSS and another on WordPress development. I’ve already started planning my curriculum which is completely new territory and a bit scary for me. Wish me luck!

I’m feeling good about work heading into 2020. If I have a goal, it’s probably to keep up the four-day weekend pattern I started and focus on my teaching. Client work still makes up the bulk of what I do, of course, but diversifying a bit while giving myself a little extra room to breathe feels like a good (and healthy) move.

Personal life

Well, hey, the big news is that we’re in a new house! It’s at the opposite side of town from where we lived downtown and we couldn’t be happier. This place checks all of our boxes and gives us plenty of room to grow into.

We’re also renting for the first time in many, many years. We thought it would be a nice way to see if we like this part of town (we do) and some flexibility to jump elsewhere if we need or want to. Truth be told, I’d love to buy this house from our landlord if she would make it available. ????

Both girls are doing so well and I continue to be both proud and amazed at what they can do. Harper is in first grade, competing in chess club, playing volleyball, and reading like it’s going out of style. My favorite thing is walking her to school. It’s about a three block walk and gives us some time to chat about lots of things on the way.

Alice started preschool! I’m happy because it’s no longer a 30-minute drive for me to take her. She’s happy because she can paint, dance and sing freely there and does so like no one’s watching. My favorite thing is watching her run up and hug her teacher every morning when the classroom door opens. Such a lover!

Marcia and I celebrated 11 years(!!) of marriage in August. I feel like every year is a little better, even if it isn’t always easy. There are so many decisions we have to make and challenges we have to solve as the years rack up, but I wouldn’t want to go through any of it with anyone else but her.

What’s in store for 2020

I’m not really sure. I mean, I’ll be busy for sure but it’s not like I have any established goals or plans as I’ve had in the past. I’m trying to be looser and more adaptable to what life throws at me and that requires sacrificing a bit of concrete planning.

One thing I’m definitely doing is redesigning my website. I’ve already started and plan on chronicling my work along the way. That’s something I’ve been wanting to do for at least five years and I’m finally getting around to it. My hope is that it will be a good reflection of me today and get me back into blogging. I’ve been awful about writing for several years now but I’d like to change that.

I will also officially start teaching. I have to admit that I’m more than a little frightened but only because this has been a dream of mine for such a long time and I’m afraid of screwing it up. I know, I can’t worry about things that haven’t happened, but I think we can all relate to some internal doubt when we’re placed outside our comfort zone and are presented with new personal challenges, even if they are exciting.

That’s all for now! While I’m hoping this isn’t my last post of the year, it certainly is a book-end to what’s been the most crazy, fulfilling, challenging, and fun decade of my life.

✏️ Handwritten by Geoff Graham on December 22, 2019

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