The start of a New Year has always been a big deal to me. Even though January 01, of whatever year, is just another day when you really look at it, to me it’s significant. But the start of this year holds even more significance with me, since it also brings with it the start of a new decade. I like to compartmentalize things, clearly.
Over the past decade, I have really managed to mess things up. At least that’s how I’ve felt. I have given up on dreams and passions out of fear of straying from the familiar. I have left pieces of myself behind to fit into the lives of other people, and have let my happiness and sense of fulfillment take a backseat to pretty much any- and everything else.
2020 is the year that stops. The 2020s are the decade of the new me.
So, let’s go over some of my goals and resolutions for the upcoming year, and decade. I’ll try to group them into relevant categories, because, as we discussed above, I like to compartmentalize everything.
Web Development + Accessibility Advocacy
Let’s start off with something that is fairly predictable, given my current career in Web Development, and personal focus on Accessibility Advocacy. In 2019, I was able to maintain the same position all year long, which is something I hadn’t previously done since 2015, but aside from that, my goals for web development fell short. I had grand plans to redesign my website and have a huge launch at the beginning of the year (which would have been today), but life got in the way, and that goal got moved back.
I will also be committing to a full redesign of my personal website in 2020 – I will try harder this year to not end up having to put this off once again. This redesign will obviously include the blog, but will also include a proper homepage, project showcases, employment showcases, and be fully accessible (I will talk more about this throughout the process, including how I determine which level of WCAG Compliance I would like to adhere to).
Speaking of Accessibility, I also have a few goals around my passion for Accessibility Advocacy. 2019 was the year that really saw me take a deep dive into the world of Accessibility – specifically compliance (which is plentiful) and current regulations (of which there are not enough). If you’re interested in reading the paper I wrote on the subject, you can click here, but be aware that mistakes were made, and are currently being corrected on my end (read Addressing and Learning from My Mistakes for more on that).
In 2020, I would like to continue my research on Web Accessibility, and revise the paper I wrote in 2019, publishing a new version sometime during the year. I want this next version to be much more thorough, and well thought out, since the first one was rushed for a deadline. I want to take a deeper dive into the sections I did cover, and then cover new topics entirely as well.
Assume I continue on my current career trajectory, I would also like to work in some Accessibility Advocacy in my current role. As a UI Developer already, this should be a fairly easy edition, but something that I am aiming to do nonetheless.
My Goals Are:
- Complete 1024+ Hours of Continuing Education in various areas of Web Development
- Redesign my personal website
- Adhere to some yet-to-be-determined level of WCAG Compliance
- Publish v2 of “The Importance of Website Accessibility in an Increasingly Digital Society“
- Pursue Accessibility Advocacy more in my professional career
Reading + Writing
If you know me at all, you may be able to guess that reading is not something that very often takes priority in my life. In fact, I have developed a deep, and loving relationship with Audible (not sponsored), and prefer to listen to audiobooks than read physical books. Regardless, I still find little time to even do this.
In 2020, I hope to be able to read (or listen to) at least two books per month. I also want to stress that these books be new (as in I haven’t read them yet), and not something I’m rereading or relistening to. I have a habit of taking the same five books and just listening to them repeatedly. I would like to stop doing this, in favor of broadening my horizons. To prove that I’m sticking to this commitment, I would also like to commit to reviewing these books either here on the blog, or in a video on my yet-to-be-created YouTube channel.
As far as writing is concerned, I tried to make an effort to write more frequently here on the blog, in 2019, but feel like I really failed in that pursuit. In 2020, I would like to commit to publishing a new post at least once per week, but more if possible. I want to make sure that my content is substantial, and something people actually want to read, so I don’t want to make a goal of daily posting, when I know the quality of my writing would go down significantly with such short deadlines. I would also like to publish at least one more in-depth tutorial type post per month.
My Goals Are:
- Read or listen to two (new-to-me) books per month
- Review these books on the blog (or vlog)
- Publish one blog post per week
- Publish one tutorial per month
YouTube. That one little thing I’ve been meaning to do for a few years now. In 2015, I tried to do a daily vlog, and that lasted for probably less than a month before I just gave up. I have always been self conscious – something that has gotten worse in the last few years or so, and I think making videos might help me get over some of those issues (or, you know, it could make it a lot worse, and this might be an absolutely horrible idea – we’ll just have to see).
In 2020, I want to try to do a daily vlog. I don’t really have content for a daily vlog, as my life is a tad boring at the moment, but I want some sort of regular schedule, and frequently enough that I get out of my comfort zone in a timely manner. (As I’m writing this, I just recorded a short video, less than a minute long, and absolutely hated it. But I know that’s something I have to work through, so here’s hoping it works out.)
I also really love video production and editing. I wanted to go to film school when I was in High School, which is part of what prompted me to change majors from Computer Science to Theatre when I was first at University. I have also been with YouTube since the platform first launched, and I have always been in love with it. So hopefully this will be the year I can begin consistently contributing to it.
My Goals Are:
- Start a YouTube channel
- Publish Daily Videos
- Build an audience of 1000+ subscribers with 4000+ hours of watch-time
- AKA: become eligible for monetization
- Produce Web Development and Accessibility tutorials
Education + Career
If you read my Year in Review: 2019 post, you’ll remember that I took two classes during the Summer Semester, before having to drop my Fall Semester classes due to health issues. In 2020, I hope to be able to start going back to school, hopefully as soon as the Summer Semester, and get myself back on track.
I have wanted to complete my college education for years, but have always had excuses as to why I couldn’t do it – those were normally very simple: I have a full time job, and I don’t have the time to dedicate to school. Whenever I think I’ve found my forever career, I always get into the mindset of not needing to go back to school. I’ve already found what I’m doing, and gotten a job, so why waste the money getting a degree that I clearly don’t actually need?
For me, the idea of completing my degree really comes down to it being something that I want to do for personal satisfaction, and to find out if what I am doing right now really is what I want to spend the next forty years of my life doing. At the moment, I’m really not sure that it is, and that thought scares me. Without a degree in something it will be very hard for me to change direction and find another career. Without a degree, employers will look at me and wonder why I’m almost thirty with so many false-starts, but nothing actually seen through to completion. At least that’s how it feels I’m being perceived.
As for my career, there isn’t a lot to say. I am UI Developer at a large financial services company, and I tend to enjoy what I do for the most part (the parts I don’t enjoy have nothing to do with the company, by the way – the company is amazing). But there is always a nagging in the back of my mind that I chose this career path to make other people happy, and, because I was a kid who was good with building websites, it was what was expected of me. Plus the money is good. Coming from a very small town, in a very rural area, to think I would be making what I do at my age is outrageous, and something that really keeps me chained to my career more so than I wish it did (I believe the term here is Golden Handcuffs).
In 2020, I want to really focus on doing some reflection, and see if Web Development really is what I want to spend the next forty years of my life doing (assuming I retire around 67). I want to find my passion, and the thing that I can’t imagine not doing, and I want to follow that to my grave. I’m just scared what that is, and what I’m currently doing, are not one in the same anymore.
Disclaimer: I have no intention of quitting my job, and am very happy in my current position. I work for one of the best companies around, and, at this current moment, couldn’t dream of working anywhere else. Please don’t fire me. 🙂
My Goals Are:
- Go back to school (health permitting)
- Reflect on my passions and determine if I’m on the correct path
- Continue working full-time until such time as I determine I need to change focus
Religion + Spirituality
I promise I won’t start preaching to you, or try to convert you to any specific belief system. In fact, overbearing, preachy people are a significant part of why religion has been missing in my life for so long.
I grew up with a family that was (and is) pretty firmly Southern Baptist. My Grandmother and her brothers and sisters came to Michigan from Kentucky, and brought all of those great Southern Baptist beliefs with them. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. It’s just not for me.
Eventually, people stopped pushing. If I did decide to go to church, I would occasionally get some praise for it, but if I didn’t go, no one really made me feel back for it anymore. And I slipped away from my Christian roots (at one point I was practicing Mennonite – that was fun).
Over the last half a decade or so – mostly since my dad died in 2014 – I have really struggled with my beliefs. What I do know is that I don’t fall into a traditional Christian belief system. I don’t believe in most of the things strict Christians believe in (as far as the creation stories, and fables of the Old Testament). That being said, I do agree with many of the teachings of Jesus, as told in the Bible (but at the same time, debase his actual conception and existence, as described).
Additionally, I tend to find myself holding beliefs more inline with Eastern Religions: specifically, Hinduism and Buddhism. While I try to practice meditation and mindfulness as often as I can (which, if I’m honest, is not often enough at all), there are a lot of things at the core of these religions that I know nothing about. For this reason, I can’t say that I practice either one, but I do know that I would like to learn more about them, to see if they are more inline with the beliefs that I do hold.
If it comes down to me just not fitting in with any organized religious group, that’s fine too. But I want 2020 to be the year where I really dig deep to figure out what I actually believe, and how I can use tools like meditation and mindfulness to help aid me in spiritual growth. Without getting too preachy, I would love to explore these thoughts and feelings more here on the blog. You’re free to skip over them if they don’t interest you. 🙂
My Goals Are:
- Read through The Bible to get a better understanding of the Christian religion
- Research Eastern Religions
- Get in touch with my beliefs, and define them
- Use meditation and mindfulness as regular practices on my spiritual journey
I am looking forward to 2020, and the new decade it brings. I am looking forward to digging deeper within myself, looking inward, and finding out who I am. I am looking forward to learning, and growing, and sharing these things with you. I hope you come along for the journey, and enjoy the content I produce on the blog.
Until next time – have a great year. Now I’m off to go try filming a vlog!
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