2018: A Year in the Life
It seems like 2018 just started, yet here we are – about to enter 2019.
My 2017 was probably the hardest year I’ve ever had. I lost my mom )(not to mention my cat). I also had to cope with, and come to terms with my deformed feet. This was something I put off for way too long – mainly because a cure for my deformity does not exist. Still – I had to do something, as some of the symptoms were out of hand. So yeah – despite all the good things that happened in 2017, and there were a few good things, 2017 really took its toll on me. I remember sitting at a party on New Year’s Eve, and thinking “So long 2017, don’t let the door hit you in the (bleep) on the way out.”
Comparing 2018 to 2017 really is comparing apples to oranges. While both years have a defining and sad event, 2018 was not overshadowed by this event. In fact, while 2018 has been a year of sorrow in some instances, 2018 was also a year of rebuilding. A LOT happened and thus I feel the need to reflect upon the major, and maybe some of the minor things that happened to me in 2018.
I got this website back up and running (and kicked GoDaddy to the curb).
If you had pulled this website up on January 1st, you would have seen an error message. I won’t go into the details – but essentially GoDaddy switched some server addresses, didn’t tell me, and my firewall plugin, as well as some databases went boom. This happened in November of 2017, and I was just too busy with work and with my mom’s death to do anything until January.
After two months of down time, I got my website back up. This also gave me the motivation to kick GoDaddy to the curb. I constantly got “we think your files are infected” alerts from GoDaddy (even though my files were, and still are, clean). I was also not getting upgrades or support for the latest versions of php. It was clear to me that they no longer wanted me as a customer. But I’ve talked about this before.
One day in January, I finally made the switch to A2 Hosting (which I highly recommend and no they are not paying me to say this). Switching hosts was a major move for me – I used GoDaddy for ten years. This website was born on their servers. I will say that when I started this site, GoDaddy was awesome! (sidenote – look at the little baby website – isn’t it ugly?) But now they’ve grown to a behemoth that just doesn’t care anymore. Also, their CEO kills elephants. Shame on them!
Switching hosts was also technologically challenging. I probably took two weeks to migrate all the files, databases, and take care of all the back end business. But the really important thing – through it all I learned a lot! And again, I love my new hosting so much more than my old hosting company.
I decided to spend more time working on my website – and on my writing.
Having a new hosting server and access to a bevy of new tools gave me the inspiration to make this site better. I also felt the need to write more. I came up with a few segments that I would do monthly. Instead of publishing just one article a month on this website, I planned on publishing at least three. To top it off, I put ads on my humble little website (I took them down a couple months later – too spammy). Of course, I also gave this site a bunch of behind the scenes tune ups, tools, and whatnot. Aaronjedwards.com was going to be big in 2018!
I launched AudioPerfecta.com!
I realized most of my new and improved website would talk about music. That’s not a bad thing per se – but I knew that I should probably separate the music section. I thought about making a music.aaronjedwards.com section – but then I realized my hosting offers “unlimited websites, so it just made sense to launch another site. A few days later, Audioperfecta.com was born, complete with social media pages. I even got business cards and stickers!
Sidenote – my initial name for the site was going to be “Van Ride Music.” I kind of pictured a 70s feel to the site graphics. The site would celebrate all the music of both now and yesterday you listened to on the van ride to work, school, or wherever. Then a coworker said it sounded creepy, like a free candy sort of van ride. Yeah – I tossed it really quickly. I feel like AudioPerfecta is a way better name anyway. I’m just shocked no one took audioperfecta.com before me!
My writing on this site became more personal – and better!
If you look through the archives on this site, you’ll see a lot of listicles and a lot of nonsense articles. Part of that had to do with the amount of time I spent on sites like Cracked.com, but part of that had to do with the fact that I used to sit down to write – but not actually know what I was going to write. I’d go set up at a cafe, and just pull something out of my head. Sometimes it would be great, sometimes it would be things like “The Slug Bug is Dead!”
I’m not saying my writing was bad – but it could have been better. I realized that in 2018, and decided that this site should be more about personal experiences, advice, life lessons, – things like that.
I also decided this site should be about what I want to write (as opposed to trying to appeal to a larger audience). Some of you are probably wondering why I’m writing this very article. The reason – because I want to. I need to get this out. Though I do want you and a million friends to read this – I don’t need you to. Aaronjedwards.com is about me and who I am. Regardless – I feel some of my favorite, and some of my best pieces on this site came from this year.
I got laid off…
One day in June, I walked into work to find a cryptic sounding email from my boss. The email was asking for a meeting with my supervisor and myself the next day. I tried to get some answers – what this was about. My supervisor didn’t know – and my boss was being hush hush. I thought for sure I was getting fired, so I freaked out for the next 24 hours.
Turns out, I wasn’t getting fired – but I was getting laid off. Crap. Honestly – I kind of thought my position was secure as my role was vital to the operation of the organization (they took my responsibilities and gave them to other people).
I’m still unemployed – and it stings that I got laid off from a position I held for eight years, and from an organization I was part of for ten years. Regardless, I know something good will come up. Besides – it’s given me a lot of time to focus on my writing! But if you know of any jobs someone like me might be interested in – let me know! Seriously….
I saw a metric ton of live music in 2018
With all this time on my hands, I decided to see all the music I could. In 2018, I saw Weird Al, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Against Me, The Offspring, The Church, Stone Temple Pilots, Bush, The Cult, Alice In Chains, Stryper, Cake, Logic, Screaming Females, Belle and Sebastian – and a bevy of other artists. Wow. What an amazing year for live music.
A few shows that stand out to me: Weird Al. This was the stripped down tour focusing more on his original material and less on his parodies. It was an intimate show and just a special time. Oh – he did a cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Rock and Roll” that freaked my socks off!
Logic / NF. My attendance to this show was kind of a fluke. I knew next to nothing about either of these rappers, but my girlfriend landed tickets at the last minute for free. So….we went and decided to have an adventure. And wow. While I’m not a fan of Logic, I had so much fun. One particularly fun thing to see – the kids react to these so called “positive rappers.” I loved looking over to the crowd behind me while NF performed and watching a teen shout with the music “I’m just fulfilling my Destiny.” You go, kid! You go!
Alice in Chains / Bush / The Cult / Stone Temple Pilots. Yes all four of these bands played that night – along with a couple smaller unknowns (who were really good themselves). I really wasn’t interested in going, but my girlfriend wanted to – so I was like…ok. One thing I discovered that night: I’m an Alice in Chains fan, but I didn’t’ realize it until that night. I knew they did “Would” and “Rooster,” but they did a bunch other songs I know and love – I just didn’t realize they were AIC songs. And I call myself a music nerd. Sheesh.
I learned a lot about websites, blogging, etc…
As my writing is intertwined with my websites – I took every opportunity to learn as much about website development, blogging, and what not. I’ve already talked about the back end website stuff I’ve had to learn to keep this, and my two other sites operational but I learned a few other things as well.
The very first thing I dove into – even before my lay off – SEO. Sure – it’s been a rough ride, and I’ve even made fun of SEO, but I’ve learned enough about SEO that I’ve even put it on my resume under skills.
I’ve learned a lot about writing and blogging in general. Most of this comes from the several facebook groups, subreddits, Medium articles, and the like that I read and participate in regularly.
I’ve learned a lot about marketing myself. I still have a long way to go mind you – but I’ve learned how to promote my “brand” on social media. There’s a few tips like; mention a lesser known band that has a loyal following. I’ve even learned how to crowdsource research!
I learned so many other things – but this section bores me now. Next!
I started a third website…
I decided I need to write more fiction, so I started fictionalpdx.com. It’s a historical fiction site, specific to Portland, Oregon. I’ve only got a couple articles up right now – but I have the feeling this one will take off! Even if this site doesn’t take off, it feels good to make room for fictional writing in my life. Fiction is good for the soul and imagination.
One thing that really made me step back and take pride with fictionalpdx.com – the set up was so much easier than it was with audioperfecta.com. I knew exactly what to do. Again – I really did learn a lot this year.
I became a Mac OSX person.
This was a long time coming mind you. I worked in an all Mac office, so I slowly learned to love OSX. Still, in 2018 I finally ended up with my very own MacBook Pro – and dang I love this machine. My windows machine is so much slower and bulkier.
I also love how I got this machine. This was actually my work laptop, and they had just bought it for me a few months before they found out about the budget shortfall (the one that led to my layoff). I was kind of sad that I wouldn’t get to use the MacBook anymore.
Well, The severance package my old job offered me wasn’t what I deserved, so I made a counter offer. More money and I get to keep the Macbook. My former boss agreed to the latter, but not the former. You win some, you lose some.
Why does this matter? Because a) I never thought I’d be a Mac person, and b) I was really proud of my negotiating skills.
I’ve never been an overly social person, and as my tenure at my former work came to a close, I realized I leaned on those relationships a lot more than I knew. I was sad to know I wouldn’t see these people everyday anymore.
Still – I do feel the relationships that have remained have gotten stronger. I feel my girlfriend and I are closer than ever. I also feel her family welcomes me a little more everyday. Even some former coworkers do make an attempt to say hi, or make a snarky comments on my Facebook from time to time.
I’m picking up the pieces – slowly
This holiday season is hard on me. Technically, Christmas of 2017 was the first Christmas without my mom, but my dad and I were still pretty shell shocked at that point. We kind of just did what we had to last year and called it a day.
This Christmas season has been hard – because there’s more expectations to participate. But I still have to do it without my mom. I kind of break out into micro tears here and there just thinking about it. It’s kind of embarrassing.
Add to that – all the anniversaries and special days. Birthdays, Mothers Day, the anniversary of her death. These were all rough days.
It’s also rough losing a job of ten years. Unemployment is rough as well. I get rejections almost every week, and very few interested employers. Honestly – it sucks, hard.
Still, I know good things will come soon. Like I’ve shown – I’ve made the most of my time off. I kind of refer to it as a the great sabbatical of 2018. I’ve really been able to dive into my passions, and been able to figure out what’s important to me.
As far as my mom – I’ll always miss her, but every year that passes will be a little easier. I have confidence in this.
By the way – my dad has taken up ballroom dancing in 2018. I never expected this to happen. But he loves it, so more power to him!
What will 2019 hold for me?
A lot! I mean – I better have a freaking job, soon. I hope it’s something that pays well and that I love. Regardless – I’m sure I’ll have a job by the end of the year….maybe even by the end of January. I know a lot of new positions come about at the beginning of the year.
I will get to visit new places! I’m traveling to Texas with my girlfriend to meet her cousins and go to a wedding. That’s exciting – even though I am probably the opposite personality of your average San Antonian.
I’ve got a handful of surprises and schemes planned, some bigger, some smaller. Regardless, they’ll be good.
Anyways – if you’ve read all of this – I applaud and thank you. May 2019 be a good year for both you and I.
Happy New Year. I am going to make it through this year!