Looking back at 2008

Every year I have a really tough time managing to write any sort of self reflective post here. I’m  not sure if it’s that I don’t like to get too personal here, or that part of me wonders how interesting it all actually is. But here it goes.

Easily one of the biggest changes of the year was moving into my own apartment (and subsequently painting it). I’ve always been kind of a hermit, so living by myself was really the best option for me at the time. The nice part about it is I’m still close enough to family, for the time being, and it has given me a lot more time to work on the things that I’m passionate about.

I say that this apartment is one of the biggest changesthis year because, truth be told, I made a lot of big changes. In retrospect I would say that the apartment was probably the least of the big changes.

A slide design that I put together for the church I used to work for. (Link goes to my Flickr set of church marketing.)

A slide design that I put together for the church I used to work for. (Link goes to my Flickr set of church marketing.)

I think it was back in 2005 that I pursued a position in marketing and design at a church in the Fort Wayne area. It was a really great position for me, and a really great team. I was able to redesign the website (a couple of times, heh) and re–create their entire marketing system. During this time, though, I spent a good deal of time developing websites here and there, and found myself leaning more and more in that direction, solely. It was toward the end of 2007 that I decided a move from church work and design to web development was the move that I needed to make. So, with 2008 on the way I looked at my options.

I was lucky enough to, right away in January, take a remote position with a company called Element Fusion. Working for their central office in Oklahoma City from the comfort of my desk at home was really great, and proved to me that I’m really not cut out for traditional office work at all. And in my time with them I was able to hone my skills, and really learn a lot about front end development.

This is a look at the design my portfolio maintained during 2008.

This is a look at the design my portfolio maintained during 2008.

About midway through the year I struck out on my own as a full time freelance web developer, which is where I stand now. After not taking any clients for a while, it took a few weeks to get a solid list together, but before long I was going well enough to support myself. Some time I really need to put together a post detailing the things that I did those first few weeks back at full time freelancing…

In any case, there was one problem I ran into in the fall of ’08, and that was college. As of the fall I was beginning my junior year at Huntington University, a place I’ve written about in the past. While this topic deserves more time and explanation, the long and short of my decision was to forgo finishing my double degree at Huntington and instead spend all of my time on client work and developing myself for what my future career in web development will look like.

This brings us a little closer to today. I’m really happy with how the year has gone, and I’ve been satisfied with the difficult decisions that I’ve made. Launching out full time on my own was a big step, as was turning my back on school (for the time being). 

It's a goofy picture, but that's what makes it fun. Notice my short hair!

It's a goofy picture, but that's what makes it fun. Notice my short hair and old glasses!

I also couldn’t be happier with another big part of my life, Ashley, my girlfriend of just over 2 years now. Though I’m definitely happy to be away from Huntington (for a myriad of reasons) I’m grateful that my time there introduced me to her. She’s also pretty happy recently (though I can’t imagine her blogging about it) that she’s also left Huntington, opting instead to finish her degree at IPFW, another university local to Fort Wayne. 

Obligatory web involvement summary

What a boring headline, aye? Seeing as I’m pretty involved in the web, on it about every day, a lot of my life during ’08 was spent here. So what did I do? Well…

  • I’’d like to say I spent a lot of time blogging about things I love, but I didn’t really. I was pretty busy. But I do hope to be able to spend more time on my blogs like ThemePlayground, PlatformPub, and Frontending this year. Oh, and just before the end of December I started up a new site (or two) which I hope to be able to talk about real soon.
  • I went through a couple of months where I was on a really big YouTube kick. You can see a bit of it in the 20 odd videos I uploaded in a matter of weeks, most of which are personal video entries. Connecting with people that way was really exciting, and I want to incorporate it more into some of the things that I do. I just wish that YouTube’s interface wasn’t so gawdawful, and could adopt some of what makes Vimeo so tasty.
  • I read a lot on Wikipedia and IMDB anymore, mostly because I think I may have acute insomnia, and also because I think it’s so damn interesting. I’ve also begun using Netflix and Gamefly for my regular movie and video game consumption. My thoughts regarding those probably deserve their own post as well.
  • I’ve become a regular user of Evernote, which, along with my tiny desk scanner and iPhone for snapping photos of stuff, has moved pretty much all of my note taking (aside from moleskine jotting) into the cloud, as they call it.


Writing this post has (inevitably, I think) made me want to write a more forward looking post, casting a bit of a vision of what I want 2009 to look like, for me. I’ll post that later this week. In the meantime, thanks for caring about my life.

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