As the sayings goes: “Today is the first day of the rest of my life”. Today is also the last day of 2019. Unless you live on the other side of the International Date Line, then today is actually tomorrow, which is also the first day of 2020. But alas, we are stuck in the past, so we might as well look back and see how the last twelve months have gone!


Employment

To start our review, we’ll grab the low-hanging fruit, and discuss how employment has gone for me over the last twelve months.

If you’re connected with me on LinkedIn, you’ll know that I’m currently a UI Developer II at United Shore / United Wholesale Mortgage (the #1 Wholesale Mortgage Lender in the US for 5 years and counting – not that we’re bragging or anything).

During the past year, I have been fortunate enough to work on some pretty great projects that have really made an impact on the Mortgage Brokers we serve. For more information, view my Professional Projects repository on GitHub.

Looking for a job? We’re always hiring!

This is the first year since 2015 that I’ve spent an entire year with only one company, which is pretty exciting. I feel like I’ve been able to grow, and learn a lot in my current position, and look forward to another successful year of employment in 2020.


Education

2019 was the year I decided to go back to school. Well, for a little while at least. I managed to take two classes during the Summer Semester (with massive success, I might add – earning an A- in the first, and an A in the second, all while continuing to work full time), and was slated to take two more classes during the Fall Semester. Unfortunately, medical issues caused me to have to drop those classes, and put my educational pursuits temporarily on hold. I am planning to pick classes back up during the 2020 Summer Semester, if my health holds up, *fingers crossed*.


Side Projects

During the second of the two classes I took over the Summer, I was required to write a research paper on a topic of my choosing. There were a few topics I was interested in researching, but with the tight timeline that comes with Summer classes, and this being our final project, I knew I needed to pick something that was already a bit in my wheelhouse. I decided on researching the need for Web Accessibility regulations.

What started off as a 12-page college paper (you can read it here), turned into a proper, full-on passion. In the months since writing the paper, which I turned in and presented on in early August, I have dove head-first into continuing that research, and writing about it from time to time here on the blog (See: Web Accessibility from August, “The Importance of Website Accessibility in an Increasingly Digital Society”, Revisited from October, Read the Original Essay from November, and Addressing and Learning from My Mistake also from November).

You see, even though Web Accessibility is something I have always been aware of, and familiar with (at, what I can now see was, a high level), I found through my research that there really is a lot that I didn’t know, or hadn’t taken into consideration. In 2020, I plan to continue my work with advocating for Accessible Web experiences, and continue to document my journey here on the blog.

Aside from Web Accessibility, I haven’t had a lot of time to focus on side projects. As with every year, I wanted 2019 to be the year that I finally redeveloped my website. While this blog is a great home base, and allows me to have a place where my content can live, I want to eventually have a more full-featured website (and one that, of course, is also fully accessible, which this blog currently is not). I will be moving this project to my goals list for 2020, and will be sure to keep you posted.


Personal Life

2019 was an interesting year from a personal perspective. I started the year having to be put back into Physical Therapy after falling down the stairs in my house, and re-injuring my lower back. After a few months of therapy I started having another issue: gallstones. I said goodbye to my gallbladder at the end of April, but managed to heal enough to start attending classes in May.

Summer went well, with May through August being filled with afternoon classes two days a week, on top of an increasingly busy schedule at work, going into our busiest time of year for IT projects.

In September I started to suffer from anxiety attacks, and was eventually in such a bad place that I was forced to drop the classes I was taking, and couldn’t even go into the office to work. I had to actively deter myself from going to the Emergency Room every time an attack hit – luckily, I only took one ambulance ride.

I stayed home, and worked remotely, mostly confined to my bed, until the beginning of December, when I finally returned to the office for work. The last few weeks have been incredible tough, but I’ve managed to make it though. Here is hoping that 2020 brings me better health.


Overall, I would consider 2019 to be more of a “meh” year than anything.

The year wasn’t incredibly bad. I was able to take classes again, which had been a goal of mine for quite a while (and continues to be). Work was stable and productive, and family life was enjoyable. However, I was plagued by some crazy health issues peppered throughout the year, and near the end of the year (the day I went back to work, actually) my grandmother fell down the same stairs that got me in January, and one upped my injury by actually managing to break her back (don’t worry – she’s recovering nicely). Side projects and continued education (specifically relating to my job – not the classes I was taking) also suffered, with both noticeably lacking throughout the year.

I’d call it a draw and say the year turned out average. But hey, at least it wasn’t all bad.

Here is to an amazing, productive new year, and new decade!


Year in Review? How about a Decade in Review?!
Read “Decade in Review: 2010s” to see how the last 10 years have gone!


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