Yes, you read it right. I’m writing my recap for 2018 on the third day of 2020.

The thing is that I took a few days off by the end of 2018 and decided to stay away from computers, meaning I didn’t have the opportunity to write the recap before 2019. Then 2019 started and it was a hell of a crazy year right from the beginning, resulting in me struggling with finding the time to write the post.

As I was about to write the 2019 recap, it occurred to me that I could do that for 2018 as well. I definitely won’t be able to remember all the details, but I can at least mention some highlights and check if I did any progress on the goals I’ve mentioned on the 2017 recap. So, let’s see how this goes.

Personal Life

On my previous recap, I’ve mentioned that my lack of time for reading was bothering me. I’m happy to say that I was able to improve on that. To help me with this, I created a reading challenge of 15 books on Good Reads. It turns out I almost hit the target, having read 14 books/comics in 2018! It’s certainly not a lot, but way better than what I’ve achieved in the previous years. Also, it felt really good to finally mark some books and comics I’ve bought years ago as read. If you’re curious to know which books are these, check my reading list on Good Reads: 2018 reading list.

I’ve also tried to create a new habit of writing a review for every book I read. Unfortunately, this didn’t work out very well and I ended up only writing one review for Modernizing Legacy Applications in PHP.

Besides finding more time for reading, I also found some time for playing video games. I got really excited about the new Spider-man game for the PS4 and ended up buying the console just so I could play it. It was totally worth. The game is amazing and I even got my first platinum trophy! After that, I also finished Just Cause 3.

Besides finding time for hobbies, I also managed to find time for taking care of my health and started doing Pilates. After a few months, I really could see some improvements in my resistance and strength.

The way I found time for all this was simply by watching less TV. I realized I was spending quite a lot of time watching series that were actually really boring and not interesting anymore, just because I had hope for them to get better. The truth is, they won’t, so I simply stopped.

Another goal for 2018 was to improve my English skills, perhaps, by hiring a private teacher. Well, I didn’t hire one nor did anything specific like taking classes, but I did feel like I achieved some improvement. It turns out that in 2018, due to my new responsibilities at work, I ended up having to communicate (written and verbally) a lot more than before and this alone served as a way to practice and get better.

While I didn’t take the English classes I was planning, I did enroll in a Japanese course. Learning Japanese has always been a dream of mine since I was a kid and I found a very interesting online course, so I decided to give it a chance. It all went well at first, and for the first few months, it really felt like I was a making good progress. I was able to learn Hiragana and Katana without any difficulties as well as the basic structures of the language. I was even starting to be able to read some basic texts! However, things became completely different when Kanjis were introduced. It would take me days to memorize a simple kanji and I started getting really frustrated. I kept trying for a few more weeks, but I wasn’t seeing much progress, so I gave up. Learning Japanese was supposed to be a fun thing for me to do in my free time, but it was becoming a source of frustration and I really didn’t want that. Maybe in the future, once I have more free time and not so many things going on at the same time, I will try it again.

Finally, still on the language-learning topic, I’ve reached a 1000 days streak on Duolingo in 2018.

I guess these are all the highlights from my personal life in 2018. Now, let’s see the professional life ones.

Professional Life

There are mainly two things I can highlight in my professional life in 2018. First, I kept on getting more used to and comfortable with my new role, meaning I started coding less and talking more to people. This meant a lot more meetings (sometimes more than the necessary, I would say) which, as I said before, gave me the opportunity to improve my English skills. Most of my work this year was getting involved in planning, coordinating releases and reviewing work from other devs.

In the second half of the year, we started discussing a lot of updates and new features for one of our products, which took a lot of time and made us rethink a lot of past decisions and check if they still make sense or not. We actually started putting this into practice in 2019, so check that recap for more details.

The interesting thing about this is that it’s easy to visualize the impact of these changes by looking at my Contribution graph on Github:

Contributions in 2017

Contributions in 2018

What’s next?

Since I’m writing this in 2020 already, there’s no point in setting any goals. Go check the 2019 recap out to see what happened next!