Justin Tadlock

The year my life changed

2007.

It’s almost over. I suppose I should try to come up with some catchy phrase to end this year, but simple words would only undervalue the whirlwind of a ride my life and this blog have taken in the last 365 revolutions of Earth. I’ll try to sum up, the best I can, the things that’ve happened this year.

Life

Here are a few of the things about my life outside of the digital world that happened this year.

  • Spring semester 2007 & worries I began my last semester of college.
  • The Singularity is Near Soon after, I wrote a rather small review for a book that completely changed my life. I’m not a full-blown transhumanist, but Ray Kurzweil introduced me to a world that I didn’t know existed.
  • Amy on American Idol’s photo page My sister appeared on American Idol’s photo page, but failed to make it anywhere in the actual competition.
  • I am morally without sin I witnessed a preacher on a rampage in February. That post became one of my most popular ever, at least at that time.
  • Changing my life again Decided to change my life.
  • Unitarian Universalist Was told that I am a Unitarian Universalist by some belief quiz. I’m still not sure what that is.
  • The captain of my soul Decided to change my life again.
  • Guidebook to Dating My Best Friend Wrote the ultimate guidebook There were some mixed reviews amongst friends and their girlfriends.
  • My last day of class Finished my last college class, but I still hope to go back someday.
  • Life at 23 I turned 23 years old. Nearly 1/3 of my life is now gone.
  • A life-changing bookshelf Pondered over the meaning of life and books.
  • Post-graduation week Spent a week being lazy after graduation. Those days seem so far away now.
  • Seoul-bound Moved to South Korea. Yeah, that’s a big change.
  • Fukuoka, Japan Spent two days in Fukuoka, Japan. It looks as if someone mops the streets every day. I’m fairly certain I could eat off the ground there.
  • The milk challenge Tried to drink a gallon of milk in 15 minutes. Do not attempt this unless you are a trained professional.
  • Wedding war cry Saw a Korean wedding. Now, if only American weddings were this eerily passionate would I start believing in the power of love again.
  • I spent my first Thanksgiving, Iron Bowl (Auburn vs. Alabama football game), and Christmas away from home.

To really sum all this up for you, so you won’t have to read all those posts I’ve listed, I began the year as a lost college student in Auburn, Alabama, and am ending the year as a lost teacher in South Korea. I’ve reevaluated my life several times and have come to the conclusion that it would be much better to be a kid again. Well, a kid that could drive to Wal-Mart at 4 a.m. for ice cream whenever he wants.

Blogging

This blog has undergone quite a few changes throughout the year too. I’m sure most of you reading this post wouldn’t have been reading it in January.

  • Time to leave Yahoo? Took the first steps toward leaving the crappy Web services offered by Yahoo, but I’m still contemplating another move in the future.
  • Make your MySpace profile look like Facebook Became tired of the ugliness that MySpace had to offer, so I created a theme that made MySpace look like the much more beautiful Facebook. It’s still one of my most daily visited posts.
  • Dark Sunflower: WordPress theme Released my first publicly available WordPress theme. Unfortunately, and for good reason, it was not very popular.
  • List subpages with descriptions: WordPress plugin Released my first WordPress plugin. It was nothing special, but it is still my favorite plugin because it’s the most functional plugin I use on my site now. Of course, my version is heavily modified for personal use.
  • New directions: Which path should my blog wander down? Decided to change the direction of my blog. I went from an purely personal blog to a blog about life, blogging, and WordPress and haven’t looked back.
  • Using WordPress custom fields Began a tutorial series on using WordPress’ least-documented, yet most powerful, feature — custom fields.
  • Visionary: WordPress theme No yearly roundup post would be complete without mentioning the theme that put me on the WordPress-o-sphere map. Visionary is still my most downloaded theme and pulls in hundreds of visitors daily.
  • The ABCs of Writing My second tutorial series. This time on writing. I figured I might as well do something useful with that English degree I received earlier in the year.
  • Structure: WordPress theme After completing the Visionary theme, I was a little unsatisfied with the results. So, I set out to make a theme that was much more powerful. I don’t think it will be long before this becomes my most downloaded theme ever. This theme has also landed me several paid jobs (yes, people are willing to give me money for custom work now).

Overall, 2007 has been a great year for this blog. I’m now ranked in the Technorati 3k. I’m fairly certain I wasn’t in the top 50k when the year began. I’ve also went from a Google PageRank of 0 to 4 in the last 12 months. I’ve made many friends online, and others have presented me with some exciting opportunities and projects.

What’s happening in 2008?

I’ll spend my first birthday and many other holidays away from home. I hope to visit a few more Asian countries. My sister should visit me in March; she’ll be the first family member I’ve seen since August. I’m not sure where life will take me. I might even find that soulmate I’ve been waiting on for 23 years.

As far as the blog is concerned, there’ll be plenty of changes in the new year. I can’t reveal every detail of each project I’m working on at the moment because I want them to be a bit of a surprise when I publicly announce them. Here are a few things you can look forward to though:

  • WordPress themes I’ve got quite a few themes ready for launch sometime in the coming months. I’ve revised my previous plan to release two free themes a month down to one. I’d rather release at least one quality theme a month than two mediocre themes.
  • Tutorials I want to write more tutorials. Of course, I’ll continue my current tutorial series on writing well and using WordPress custom fields, but I’ve got a few more ideas about to fall out my sleeve.
  • E-book I’m working on an e-book about writing for the Internet. It’s based off my current writing series, but will have plenty of extras in the finished version.
  • Custom Design I’ve been working on several custom WordPress designs in the last couple of months. I hope to continue building on this and have a definite business model built on this in the coming year. My goal is to have enough of a steady income to work from home after I leave Korea. This way, I can go back to school and get another degree or do a little more traveling. I don’t want to get ahead of myself though. I’ll just have to see where this goes in the next eight months.
  • Project M The ultimately-unbelievably-secretly-mind-boggling project I’m working on. No. I can’t tell you what it is just yet, but you can look forward to it in the next couple of months. Hint: It has something to do with WordPress.

Conclusion

That’s been my life in the last year. I’m frighteningly peaceful at the moment and haven’t felt this way in a long time. I’m excited about the year to come. I know life will toss me and throw me and spook me in ways I cannot imagine, but I’m ready for the challenges and experiences ahead.

To all my readers, I hope you’ve had a wonderful year in 2007 and that it only continues to get better for you next year. I look forward to the journey of 2008 and ask you to travel along with me.

Until 2008…