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My 2021 — A Year In Review — Looking Back and Looking Forwards

2021 is almost over and with that comes a new year. Whether you set goals at the start of a new year or throughout, the end of a year is always a good reflection point.

To look back at what went right, and where you’d like to improve for next year. Professionally, personally or both. 

I don’t know about you but my 2021 was jam packed both personally and professionally. 

First let’s take a look at some of the big events and then dive into what the next year entails.

My Personal 2021

After moving to Portugal in 2020 and getting married, it was a bumper year full of everything new. 

We always planned on at some point returning to London and it just so happened that a whirlwind was about to hit us. 

Early in January 2021 we were looking around for a new property to move to in Lisbon. 

At the same time we applied for the EUSS scheme which allows spouses of British Citizens a visa to return to the UK if the couple had lived together overseas in a European country. 

We never expected it to get approved so carried on with our lives, apartment hunting. 

Here’s where I’m about to make a €30,000+ euro mistake.  

We found the perfect apartment. Paid a large deposit as we were new to Portugal (we’re talking €12,000+ euros) and we’re buying new furniture to move in. 

It’d at this point been 4 months since we submitted the application for my wife and we’d almost forgotten about it and like I said earlier we assumed it would be refused.

A couple of weeks later as we move in using our mini as the transport vehicle and going back 9 times between our old place and new place I got an email…

Expecting a refusal I opened it, yet it read that a decision had been made and the passport was being returned to us. 

A few moments later I got a tracking email from DHL…

Remember that 30,000 euros? Yep it’s about to go wrong or right depending on your point of view. 

The next day while on a meeting the DHL driver delivers my wife’s passport with her visa attached. 

Honestly? We’re excited, shocked and panicked. 

We just paid out all this money, had just moved all our things and were 2 days away from moving in. 

What do we do? We have no family in Portugal, no one we know and for various reasons neither of us were super excited about staying in the country. 

Decision made! We’re going back to London, England. 

What pursues is moving all our stuff out of the new apartment and back to the old one so we can cancel the new three year contract, paying a huge termination fee and then packing up our things for the UK. 

With such a tight timeline we didn’t have time to sell things, arrange transport companies and the like. 

Instead in the spirit of giving those who need it, we gave away everything. 

Brand new beds, sofas, dining table, kitchen supplies, living room decorations, everything. Estimated value? €10,000+ euros. 

We returned to London in July 2021 and couldn’t be happier to be back in the place we love.  

Catching up and visiting family and friends we hadn’t seen in almost a year and settling back in to London. 

My Professional 2021

Much like my personal 2021, my professional 2021 was jam packed. 

I released numerous plugins for my Immerseus brand which offered add-ons for the LearnDash LMS plugin. In the middle of 2021 I sold Immerseus to Easily Amused Inc under their HonorsWP brand. 

Shortly thereafter in September 2021 something big took place. LearnDash (where I’m Product Manager) was acquired by Liquid Web as part of their StellarWP brand (the WordPress brand that houses all Liquid Web WordPress related things). 

Like any acquisition it was a time of change. New faces, new ways, and what a ride it has been so far. 

Chris Lema joined as General Manager, and already I’ve learned so much from him and look forward to 2022 under his experienced leadership. 

We’ve expanded the team with new developers joining the fore, and that’s without even mentioning how perfect it is to be able to collaborate cross team with brilliant minds in the WordPress and Hosting Space.

Reflecting on 2021

I have a lot to be thankful for in 2021, and yet there is one thing that nagged me the entire year. 

Working too much. It was almost like an in-joke with colleagues and friends. Where’s Jack? Working. That isn’t to say I don’t like work or what I do, far from it, but as you get older (saying that at an old age of 27 ha). And have a wife, family, there’s more than just being online until midnight. 

At one point in 2021 I felt pretty burned out. I was just working too much, and while there was a lot of personal and professional success, my health slipped and I’m at the heaviest weight I’ve been in a very long time. 

I’ve already written about it a bit on this blog, but I’m slowly introducing new boundaries and trying to structure my day better. Which leads me onto the next chapter. 

Goals of 2022

I’m not a big fan of New Years Resolutions, setting arbitrary goals just because it’s a new year. Yet here I am setting goals, but they are actionable goals. 

  1. Lose 35KG, this is the biggest one. That’ll require the strongest level of commitment, but breaking it down it’s something like 0.60KG/week. Makes it look a lot more manageable, no? 
  2. Be more present. Tune out of the work day when I finish work, very rarely is something so important it needs me then and there, 99.999% of the time it can wait until the next day. 

I have other goals, but these are the biggest two and for both I’m already taking action. For instance goal number 2 I recently purchased another MacBook Air, exactly the same as what I use for work. 

The difference being one is going to be a strictly work machine, the other will act as my personal MacBook, no work apps (slack), no social media, and no work email accounts. Only apps that I use in my downtime. 

It’s the way I’ll be making an important connection (or disconnection if you want) of when the work day starts and finishes which can often be difficult to clearly define when working remotely. 

Here’s looking forward to 2022, and I hope everything you desire comes true and you work towards crushing your own goals

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