2020, it’s been a year. It’s been tough on a lot of folks. I’m a pretty upbeat person, but even I succumbed to the dumpster fire of a year that is 2020. I really don’t talk about personal stuff on social media or blog about it, but so many folks have been pretty open this year in regards to all that’s happened to them in 2020, that I thought it would be good to share.
I didn’t get COVID-19, but I did have something quite serious happen to me. The pandemic hit and we went into lockdown in Montreal in March. I didn’t think about it at the time, but whenever I would take a work break, I was always lying down for breaks. I just thought it was pandemic blues, but then all kinds of other weird symptoms started happening. Night sweats, calves seizing, just plain weird stuff.
During a pandemic, you don’t really want to bug your doctor unless it’s an emergency. Eventually I called the doctor, I explained some of my symptoms and they ordered me to get some blood tests. When they got the results, they said to go to emergency at the hospital right away because the levels in my blood were way off.
I was in the hospital for about three weeks and took every test on the planet. It took them a long time to figure out what was wrong with me. In the end it turned out that I had bacteria in my blood and it was running through my veins polluting my body and attacking my heart. I was literally dying on the inside. Fun stuff.
Once they figured it out, I was put on antibiotics for a month and a half. Because it was a pandemic and logistically it made no sense to go to a clinic every day, I got to inject the antibiotics myself every day. It was annoying having an IV in my arm for almost 2 months, but I noticed a changed almost immediately.
I finished the antibiotics and then had to wait to have more tests to confirm my blood was all good. I finally got cleared in November, but it was quite the scare.
And you know what the kicker was about all this? The doctors said I was just unlucky to have got this. Bad luck. Thanks 2020.
Thinking back to it now, the symptoms probably started in November 2019, but I attributed it to other things, like the end of the year, or maybe not sleeping enough. Anyways, I’m glad I’m all good now. Thank you Canada for free health care. It’s not perfect, but thank you.
Alright, now let’s get to some positives, because there are some big ones for me.
Joined DEV (now Forem) Team!
The first one is, I joined the Forem team, a.k.a. the artists formerly known as the DEV team! I won’t go into it too much here as I’ve already written about it which I’ll link. In a nutshell, I’d been a fan of DEV for a few years before I joined the team. I was actually the first external contributor and made a lot of contributions prior to joining the team.
I was so excited to join the team as it checked off so many things for me. It truly is my first dream job. I have amazing coworkers, work remote, have stellar working conditions, and I work on a product that I use and love.
I joined a virtual coffee group which was the second best thing that happened to me in 2020. I’m a sociable person and typically will head out with friends, but given the current pandemic, not really an option. I came across a tweet from my now friend Bekah where she dropped a Tweet about virtual coffee. I'm not positive, but I think this is the Tweet that got me to DM her and to join virtual Coffee.
From there it became a regular thing for me and all of a sudden, I had some Internet friends, something I’ve never had. Everyone has always been just folks I follow on Twitter. Bekah, thanks again so much for creating this.
If you want to learn more about Virtual Coffee, come join us on a Zoom call and maybe eventually join the community!
Another thing I started this year was live coding on Twitch.
I started this for a few reasons. Others were doing it, I wanted to learn in public through a different medium, and it was a pandemic, so YOLO. This was inspired by swyx, a.k.a. Shawn Wang, who is a big proponent of learning in public.
As well, I really enjoyed watching Jason Lengstorf’s live stream (still do), so I took some inspiration from there too, although my production quality is not quite where his is at… yet. 😎
When Hacktoberfest rolled around, I got to work with my awesome coworker Christina Gorton (@coffeecraftcode). We were doing all kinds of streams on the DEV Twitch stream. Walkthrough Wednesdays, a gratitude stream dedicated to our contributors, live coding pairing sessions with community members, as well as joining the raise.dev stream.
It's been really great as I've been able to meet so many wonderful people in the community.
I gave two talks in 2020 that I was proud of. One was for Hacktoberfest on the Digital Ocean community titled, Getting the Most Out of Open Source. The other was a lightning talk I gave at my Virtual Coffee group's lightning talks titled, Words Matter: Conventional Comments.
Getting Back in Shape
I was in pretty tip top shape at the end of 2019, but then my health scare derailed all that.
Being an athlete, getting back into shape is always doable, because your body remembers. As well, when you’ve been busted up enough, mentally you know you can do it, because you’ve had to do it so many times before. All that to say, I got back into training pretty seriously in November post health scare.
Since everything is locked down, I’ve been doing Zoom group sessions with a personal trainer I know. I love these sessions. They are at 7am on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Getting it out of the way early in the day prevents me from making excuses to not workout, and I like the good social pressure of showing up because others are expecting you to be there. Also, it would be a big waste of money if I didn’t show up, or empty the tank during a session.
Maybe I'm Handy
Other things I’ve been proud of this year are, I’ve become slightly more handy thanks to the pandemic. I’m still not great, but doing better. The one thing that folks seem to be impressed by is I built a skating rink in my backyard.
My personal site got an upgrade/refresh just this week. I'd been looking to move to 11ty for a while, but it was low on my priority list in terms of stuff I had to do. I started the move on December 10th and then when the holidays came around, I finally had some time to finish it.
I went with the Hylia template from Andy Bell (@hankchizljaw) for a few reasons. It's 100% all around on lighthouse, I liked the look of it, and I honestly didn't have time to design my whole site. My goal of my site is to provide content.
I also found working with Eleventy not hard on the brain at all. I was able to make some customizations and it wasn't that complicated. I'll have a post about my move to Eleventy in the new year.
I said it before on Twitter, but saying it again here. Thanks Andy!
We’ll see what 2021 brings, but regardless I know I’ll still be pumped to keep training, live stream, blog, and continue to build out Forem with my awesome team. Peace folks!