2014 – Random reflections

I get to the end of the year and wonder what happened and then I feel like I didn’t actually do anything much over the year. This time I thought I’d put some effort in to reflect on what I inflicted on the universe for the year.

Family

Starting with the most important part of my life. Life with George was again fantastic. He’s growing up into a wonderful human being. He’s so polite, so kind, so generous and just delightful to be with. I completely miss him when he’s not around. The best thing that happened in 2014 was a re-negotiation of our custody arrangements which gives me 6/14 (6 days out of 14) during the school year, and 7/14 during holidays. A great step forward, maybe 50/50 in the near future.

We have a good relationship. We’re both honest with each other about how we feel, and how we want to be treated. This leads to a few tough conversations at times, but they get easier, and pretty much all disagreements end very fast, and normally with lots of cuddles and “sorry how I behaved” – on both sides of the fence. He’s not the only one that has bad days, and it’s important to me that he knows that just a part of life and dealing with it as a family is crucial.

We have a house that we both love, his school is nice and close and we spend many, many hours a week playing cricket when we’re together. If we’re not off finding some nets, we’re playing keeping in the back yard, or watching it on TV. George loves cricket, and that’s been reflected by his achievements in playing with his new club. He plays in the under -10s, manages an average of about 20, top score of 40 (off 4 overs) and best bowling of 2/1 (off 2 overs). He’s only been dismissed once, and that was an overenthusiastic pull shot that ended up destroying the stumps. Oops. Pretty handy in the field and likes to keep as well. It’s great to see him doing well at something that he enjoys.

He’s going great at school, he works hard and enjoys turning up and doing different things with his friends. He’s a good little man.

Health

Nothing really to report here. Both of us have avoided most of the really terrible coughs and colds, and despite both of our best efforts neither have managed to end up hospitalised for our recreational (mis)adventures. I’m fit and healthy, and after spending 5+ years being completely obsessed about riding bikes I’ve started to broaden my horizons to other activities.

I was finding it harder and harder to get consistently onto the bike looking while also looking after George. I’d need to spend a good 3-4 hours in the hills to get a solid workout, and that just wasn’t possible for much of the time. So after Amy’s Ride this year decided to take a break from riding for a while (to and from work doesn’t count) and in late October/early November started to look at running. Now, I’d not done any serious running for about 20¬†years when I used to run in 10km fun runs. The good news is that my cardio fitness base is solid, the bad news is that I’m missing a lot of muscle development for running.

At this stage, I’m pleased with my progress, getting to 4:30 min pace for 5km and 5:30 pace for 10km. Only time will tell how the body will handle it, as I’m already noticing a few niggles. Hopefully just related to lack of muscle development in those areas.

From a mental health perspective, I’m probably in as good a shape as I’m likely to ever get. Most of the anxiety and the pretty severe dent my self-worth took during the later parts of the marriage have been repaired. I’m still pretty nervous about what relationships might mean in the future – but I’ll cross that bridge when it happens. Soon, I hope.

Friends

This was a really big year for friends. Some moved within Melbourne, some moved to another country (I miss you Rup!) and some had some bad news. The best thing for me was meeting up with friends I’ve known for close to 10 years. I was able to travel to Blizzcon in November and got to hang out for a week with the most awesome group of people from all walks of life. It would be pretty safe to say that I really didn’t want that week to end, with geeking out about computers, gaming and drinking far too many beers.

Work

There were 2 great things about work this year. The first was that REA started their graduate recruitment program, and I got to play a significant part in forming it, and getting the graduates on board and working with them. The second was that we finally managed to fill all the open roles in the Group Architecture team, and I can spend more time working with a team rather than trying to create it.

It’s fascinating working in the role that I have at REA, and it’s always challenging – most of these are people challenges, not technical ones – and I’m constantly left open mouthed at how some people react to change. I’ve blogged about my work a few times this year, I hope to do it a bit more next year.

Personal Achievements

It was a pretty good year on this front. I’ve been working on an open source project for a very long time, it’s almost part of the furniture in my life and I don’t give it much thought. It then pops up at unlikely times to make me re-evaluate what reach my software has had. The software in question is BouncyCastle. A Java cryptographic library.

  • It’s been shipped in over a billion devices as part of the Android operating system in 2014 alone (3bn total)
  • It’s being¬†used by 12m people creating virtual environments in Minecraft
  • It seems that a large book selling and cloud computing company may also be using it for various things internally (unconfirmed)

So, at this stage there’s few people electronically connected that haven’t been directly or indirectly using software that I’ve written. That’s kinda cool and makes me feel pretty good.

I also managed to get back and do some conference speaking. Something I enjoyed doing years ago (pre-George) and thanks to Evan, Beth and the YOW! crew it was a great experience to do it again.

So?

2014 was a good year. Probably one of the best I’ve had in recent memory. I’m feeling more balanced as a person and more comfortable in my role as a parent. I’d like to spend a bit more time on my personal projects as I feel my software skills are deteriorating below where I’d like.

Life is good. I’m very lucky.