2022: Year in Review

It seems that nearly every time I’ve sat down to write here on the ol’ blog in the last couple of months, something has gotten in the way. I have untouched ideas and unfinished drafts that I hope to get to at some point. But, it has been a busy year and an even busier last couple of months.

OK, well, if I’m being honest, today is Day 10 of a 12-day vacation, and I’ve mostly been taking it easy for the last week and a half. This is the longest vacation I’ve had since the summer break between graduating high school and my first semester of college. I believe I had a month off before I finally landed a late-summer job. That was 20 years ago.

I think it’s safe to say that I needed a bit of time away from work to clear my head. I’m fortunate to work for a company that has provided me with this type of break.

I haven’t just been sitting around and watching TV the entire time. I finally finished putting new shelf-liners in the top cabinets in my kitchen, which was getting dangerously close to becoming a two-year project. I also did some reorganizing of the space and a little cleaning.

Wooden cabinet with three shelves of canned and jarred foods.
Organized kitchen cabinet.

Of course, I made sure to enjoy a few holiday dinners. This was the second year that I’ve hosted a Christmas gathering at my house. It was a lot of fun, and it seems that Christmas tacos are quickly becoming a tradition for that event.

I’ve always wanted to have a big Christmas dinner every year and really enjoy the holiday. I’m thankful that I’ve been able to do this for two years now. Plus, I managed to find a 6-8 person dining table for $150 this year at an estate sale. So, I got to break out the “good plates” and have everyone around the dinner table instead of scattered about on couches.

Bottom of Christmas tree with a cat lying on the tree skirt, surrounded by gifts.
Twinkle relaxing under the tree.

Mostly, I’ve used the past week or so to reflect on some big changes in my life. I also used it as an opportunity to hit the reset button in some areas.

Going into my vacation, I had a few projects planned, but I didn’t get around to most of them. And, I believe that was a good thing. I needed to learn to simply let myself just be for just a little while. I tend to find work even when I’m not actually working (like reorganizing the kitchen). Taking some actual relaxation time was an activity that I needed to reacquaint myself with. I still don’t think I’m particularly great at doing that, but it’s a process. It’s certainly the most I’ve relaxed in a long, long time. So, that’s got to count for something.

Changes in 2022

There were a couple of major changes in my life this year, so let’s just dive right into them.

In May, I took a new job as a developer relations advocate with Automattic. I enjoyed my previous job with WP Tavern as a full-time writer, but I also wanted to be more involved with the development side of WordPress. Through a series of unexpected events and talks, I landed on an awesome team that gets to work directly on the WordPress project and help community developers. How cool is that?

The company held our division meetup in Denver, Colorado this year, which included a trip to Meow Wolf:

Handwritten notes hanging on a wall as part of an art exhibit.
Exhibit at Meow Wolf.

I also rededicated myself to my journey toward financial independence and even started blogging about it. Over the previous two or three years, I had done “well enough” with personal finance, but also needed to do a major reset and refocus my efforts. I didn’t take long before I had my car paid off and became a first-time hundred thousandaire. Since then, I’ve built a healthy emergency fund while also paying for ear surgery on one of my cats without any worries.

I also learned how to fix a leaky pipe in the yard over my Thanksgiving break. Fortunately, my dad brought over his tractor and did most of the digging:

Older gentleman driving an orange tractor.
My dad on the tractor.

Hitting/Missing 2022 Goals

As always, I try to give myself a few goals to hit for the year. 2022 was no different. I rarely manage to check each item off the list, and priorities often change throughout the year. But, I still enjoy the pursuit.

Gardening / Food Forest

I didn’t have much of a garden this year other than a few tomato plants, some peppers next to my driveway, and basil sitting in a pot next to the kitchen door. But, the veggie garden wasn’t a primary goal this year.

Instead, I wanted to continue focusing on the foundations of a food forest. I had three new items I wanted to add:

  • 2 peach trees
  • 4 plum trees
  • Muscadine vines
Young fruit trees newly planted.
New peach and plum trees after planting.

While I planted the trees, I didn’t get the muscadines in. In part, this was because I had tried planting some cuttings from my dad’s grapes instead. However, those did not make it.

I would still call this a win, though. I now have one pear, two fig, four peach, and four plum trees, which should make fruit for years to come. I also managed to snag a couple of pecan trees at a cheap price and get them established. I still have a long way to go, but the food forest is coming along.


My goal for 2022 was to finish a complete first draft of a novel manuscript. I didn’t quite get that far.

However, I did eek out 50,000 words for my third NaNoWriMo win. I also did that while on a work trip for one of the weeks in November.

While I technically failed when judging against the exact goal, I now have more writing experience under my belt. The pursuit is what matters. I know that I just need to keep plugging away at it and I’ll eventually have something that might be worthy of publishing.


On December 3, I hit my four-year reading anniversary. This is a lifelong challenge that I have given myself to read every day. I have not wavered a bit on this goal. It’s simply become a habit at this point.

However, I did fall short of reading 24 books on my Goodreads challenge this year. While I managed to read every day, my reading time was a bit more erratic than in the past. I need to carve out some dedicated time each day going forward.