Time Off 2019: Part 3 of 4 of Social Media Sabbaticals (No Time for Four)

If you’ve followed along with the previous articles this year, you’ll notice that I didn’t actually take time off each quarter.

  1. Time Off 2019: Part 1 of 4 of Social Media Sabbaticals
  2. Time Off 2019: Part 2 of 4 of Social Media Sabbaticals

As I head into December of this year, this will be the final – and obviously the third – time I take off the social web for the remainder of the year. At least that’s the plan. I’m thinking of doing it a little bit differently this year.

For those of you who haven’t read about my doing this in years past, check out:

  1. The First Social Media Sabbatical of 2018
  2. The Second Social Media Sabbatical of 2018
  3. The Third Social Media Sabbatical of 2018

Though I don’t really do year in review posts, going back to read these and see how things have panned out over the years is always fun and is as close to retrospectives as I get.

With all of that said, I’d summarize the entire year by saying: It’s been a year, if nothing else. Some ways bad, some was fantastic.

Time Off in 2019: Part 3

The last time I did a post like this, I was planning to:

  • Do deep dives into JavaScript and React
  • Start using and learning more about Gutenberg
  • Return to running after months of HIIT working out
  • Listening to Apollo 11: What We Saw, Behind Scenes: Stranger Things 3,
  • Reading several nonfiction and fiction books,
  • And preparing for our third kiddo to arrive.

For the most part, all of the above ended up working out. Not everything, but most of it.

  • ⚠️ I did put together a comprehensive list of JavaScript and React resources for my colleagues and myself to follow at WDS but during the work I’ve done this year and with the update to PHP to 7.4, I feel a much stronger desire to continue focusing my efforts on backend engineering.
  • ✅ I have started using Gutenberg both in blogging and in my day-to-day work and I’ve been following its development more closely. I’m particularly excited to see the server-side functionality that’s been added.
  • ✅ I thoroughly enjoyed the podcasts that I was listening to at the time of the last post (Apollo 11 especially, but I’ve always been a fan of NASA ever since I was a kid).
  • ✅ I read a couple of non-fiction books but have been heavily into the Odd Thomas series. I’m almost done with (that is, I have two books left) that I’m looking to complete by the end of the year.
  • ✅ And finally, our third daughter arrived and she’s been absolutely amazing. There was a lot of work we had to do in the house to prepare for another kid but it was worth it, of course, and seeing my two oldest fawn all over her is pretty cute.

With that said, there’s obviously stuff on deck for the remainder of the year and what I want to do in 2020, as well. So here’s a look back at what I’ve done and what I want to do.

Work

As noted in a previous post, I started working for WDS earlier this year and it’s been nothing short of a fantastic experience.

I’ve had a chance to work with some incredibly smart people on very fun, interesting, and challenging projects. This is exactly what I looking for when moving out of self-employment and it’s something that’s absolutely helping me further the goals of software engineering in the context of WordPress.

The thing is, it’s not just about the engineers – it’s about the entire organization.

Fitness

Picking up from the last post I wrote about this, I’ve been doing nothing but running for the past few months. The distance varies from any where between 2.5 miles to 4.5 miles.

I’d love to say that I was doing both 5K’s and 10K’s but I’m a at a stage of life right now that doesn’t really allow for it. And that’s okay, I wouldn’t have it any other way given all that’s going on.

In fact, some days I simply go for a walk. I’ve probably walked more this past quarter than I have any other quarter during the time I’ve been doing this. Sometimes it’s nice to take a break from the standard pace.

Starting in January, I’m looking to start incorporating more body-weight only exercises on some days, a little bit of weight training on some days, and then some running. One of the things I’ve been eye’ing are weighted jump ropes so I’m looking to start incorporating that, too.

We’ll see.

I don’t have a goal I’m trying to reach in terms of weight or a goal in which I’m trying to reach in terms of lifting. Generally, at this point, I want to stay in shape and keep up with my kids so that’s the primary way in which I determine the work I’m doing.

I’d like to also take the moment to do an unsponsored plug for Hevy. It’s been arguably the best app I’ve ever used for logging workouts. From its library of workouts, to the community, to how easy it is to track everything that you do. If you’re looking to get into logging what you’re doing, I recommend it.

That is, if this will help me remain healthy for my family and myself and it’s something I enjoy doing, then do it.

Social Media

Around this time of year, I usually go completely dark on social media but I’m going to try to do something a little bit different.

First, I’m still removing Twitter from my phone. I’ll only be using it when I’m at my desk. during the work day (and sporadically at that). I’m still a fan of Buffer, I’ve practically stopped using direct messages on Twitter, I like following who I do, and responding to whatever interesting tweets I see and those that come my way.

As far as Instagram is concerned, I’ve decided to say on it during December because I really like seeing what everyone is sharing during the holidays. I’ve also grown to really like stories people share (and if you’re not watching my Internet Things which is nothing more than a periodic story of dank memes, then why are you even on Instagram?).

I noticed that I used Instagram less this year than last, and less than the year before. I don’t know if the trend will continue or not. I don’t really know what I want to do with it (and that probably go goes for most social media aside from Twitter).

So that’s really a long way of saying I’ll be around, sort of.

Really, though, I’m restricting myself through using Moment. iOS Screen Time’s feature is nice but it’s too restrictive if you want to, say, browse the web. So I’ve opted to return to Moment as a way to manage screen time.

I used it years ago and it’s come a long way sense then. It gives all the insight I want all the while reminding me when I’m getting close to certain metrics.

I’m a fan.

Also, I talked about Day One earlier this year, and I’ve been using it much, much more and really like it especially now that it has native video embeds. Not only do I like it for journaling purposes, but I also like the ability to do “check-ins” via the Apple Watch without outsourcing it so some other social service.

Time Off in 2019, Part 1: Day One

On top of that, it’s been a neat exercise to ask myself, whenever I want to post on social media, “Is this something I can just as easily post in Day One, instead?” So it’s definitely helped break some habits.

Reading

This year, as I mentioned earlier in this post, I’ve done a lot of reading. For the remainder of the year, though, the plan is to finish out the Odd Thomas series. I’ve never seen the movie but it looks like it could be a decent adaptation of the book.

When I opted to start, I had no idea it was a series of books. I’ve two books left at the time of this writing. Initially, my plan was to read the entire series by the end of the year but I’ll likely be into January before I finish the last two books.

I don’t plan to do much reading beyond those books here at the end of the year though I’m making plans for what I want to read in 2020 but that’s content for another post.

Watching

In terms of what I’m watching, here’s a run down of some of the stuff I’m really liking (in no particular order):

  • The Mandalorian. Then again, so is over half the Internet.
  • Servant. I started with a plan to watch one episode and was up until 2am binging what was available. A mistake for sleep, sure, but I’m really liking it.
  • The World According to Jeff Goldblum. If you know Jeff Goldblum, this is exactly what you’d expect and it’s great.
  • Mr. Robot. I’ve been watching since the first season and continue to really enjoy it. This final (😢) season is strong and I’m eager to see how it plays out.
  • Castle Rock. The first season was good but I’ve really enjoyed the second season. I don’t know if it’s because it’s incorporating more characters from Stephen King’s universe, if it’s because I’ve read more books of his since Season 1, or both. Probably both.
  • Jack Ryan, Season 2. I liked Season 1, but Season 2 really leveled up the action. We finished it in about three days (which, if you have young kids, know that’s saying something 🙂).
  • The Walking Dead. I’ve been with the show since Season 1 and I’ve read the comics from beginning to end. Yes, there were some absolutely rough periods but I’ve been digging the direction the show has taken since getting a new show runner even with a change up in the cast. At this point, I also think I’m too far in not to finish it.

There are other shows, but they aren’t really worth mentioning, you know? Sure, I like ’em but what’s the purpose of sharing everything I’m watching (like who wants to see everything I listen to, as well, you know?).

Until 2020

As we head into the end of the decade (that’s still weird to say especially when I vividly remember “the turn of the century”), that’s what I’ve done and what I’ll be doing.

Now that I’ve simplified much of the things on this blog (from retiring the newsletter, memberships, etc.), I’m hoping to get back in the habit of focusing on regular writing because, as is evident, this year was under par for the first time in a long time.

As usual, I’ll continue to have content buffered via Twitter (and I’ll periodically be checking for replies or lurking to see what’s up), but I’m going to be focused on other things.

You can, however, email me at any time. ✌🏻