Let’s talk about the good things.
In January, after two years (!) of waiting, my green card was approved. In February it was mailed out and in March it was finally in my hands. I let the process take up way too much of my mental space for far too long. I’m so glad to have it and to put this chapter behind me.
Code + AI
In 2023 I picked up more frontend skills and coded more than any year before. I did this by taking courses, watching YouTube videos, and working on side projects. Plus I used AI to help me learn and get unstuck.
The combination of some base of knowledge plus a little help from AI has given me a kind of leverage I didn’t have before. And it feels pretty great.
Next.js Pages Router · Next.js App Router and Server Components · React hooks like useState, useEffect, useRef, useId, useMemo and cache, createContext and useContext · Data Binding and Controled Inputs · Async/Await · Fetch API · TypeScript · Tailwind · Framer Motion · IntersectionObserver API · Figma Plugins API · Figma Variables API
Some things I made:
- Switched my site from Gatsby to Next.js pages router
- Used IntersectionObserver to animate on scroll and animate when in view
- Dark mode and theming using CSS variables
- Created an Interactive Grid and blog post
- Wrote Figma plugins to generate Figma variables and draw/populate frames and components on the canvas
Courses and resources I learned from:
- Josh Comeau’s The Joy of React course
- Build UI and Sam Selikoff’s YouTube channel
- ByteGrad’s YouTube channel
- Kevin Powell’s YouTube channel
I traveled a lot in 2023. I think there were only three months when I didn’t have a trip, and some months had multiple trips. I also generally did more things and spent more money on entertainment, food, and drinks. I think 2023 was the first year post-pandemic where things felt fully open and free of restrictions or uneasiness.
Mexico City · Rio de Janeiro · Fire Island · Sicily · Paris · San Francisco · Miami 4x · Hometown 3x
The Brass Factory
One of my goals for 2023 was to spend as little time in my apartment as possible. After three years of working from the same low-lit room, I had to get out.
To that end, I rented a desk at a co-working space that has lots of natural light and lots of plants. It turned out to be absolutely worth it for my mental health and general quality of life.
In July I left Capsule and joined OpenStore to work on their design system. I’m excited to be working on a multi-brand design system and to be bridging the gap between design and engineering. It’s been fun going deep on things like Figma variables and plugins, theming, and component libraries.
I consolidated my investments and leveled up how I track my finances. At any given time I now know my asset allocation, spending rate, savings rate, tax rate, inflation rate, investment growth and rate of return, and net worth. This actually took me a lot of time to set up and get right. But now that it’s done, it’s fairly easy to maintain, and I should continue to benefit from it.
Now, something that wasn’t so great...
In January many people I worked with were let go, and for the first time ever I had to personally deliver the news. It fucking sucked. And it set the tone for the next few months and if I’m being honest for the rest of the year.
I’m grateful I wasn’t let go and that I have a job.
But still... it’s been a weird year for me and I think for a lot of people in tech. It feels like a big balloon popped in 2022 and it’s still deflating. Vibes feel off. Fear and malaise seem to be in the air, and it’s hard to shake the feeling that things just aren’t as good as they used to be.
I’ll close out with some advice for myself to follow in the new year.
- Start at the end with the story you want to be able to tell and work backwards from there. Also be clear on who you want to tell your story to.
- Make more things for yourself
- Share what you make
- Work on things that compound and build up over time