Like a lot of folks I'm kicking off 2023 looking back at the year past and planning for the next.
Like a lot of folks I'm kicking off 2023 looking back at the year past and planning for the next. Generally speaking I've always found any kind of self reflection a massive slog and hugely draining but I do see the benefit of getting any thoughts out of my head and down on digital paper, so here goes.
Life at Checkout.com
I can define this past year with one word: "rollercoaster". The backdrop of *gestures vaguely around* this — specifically our economic and global issues — have left their mark. General feelings of deflatedness, low morale and "meh" have hit me (and I'm sure a lot of people) a few times this year. Thankfully I've been surrounded by a lot of amazing and inspiring folks, which has really helped. I'm hoping 2023 will fare better for everyone.
Getting to know fintech as an industry has been a ride. I've picked up a lot of acronyms and terminology to last me a lifetime (no, you're a network token). The technical complexity of making a payment — from the moment you make a payment online through to a business receiving it and available on a dashboard — is something I underestimated but after a lot of deep work I feel I could sit in on a meeting and get the jist.
It has also been great to be able to ship regularly this past year. I've been lucky enough to lead design on some heavy hitting areas of our products while spending some of my time in the latter half of the year helping to ramp up a community-driven design system (Hoping to write more about this in the future). We've shipped a lot though this last year so 2023 I'm looking to focus on iteration, specifically getting value out in to the wild early and building on that experience.
I've explored a lot of 11ty this past year and focussed on general optimisation for this site. It was a pleasant surprise to see kevhealy.com reach number 20 when submitting to the 11ty speedlify leaderboards (although this has since dropped to #30). There are a couple of things I want to explore further like moving all images out of Cloudinary (which I use primarily for responsive transformations) and leveraging the 11ty image utilityto handle all of this instead. 2023 I aim to share and be open with my projects (less of the private repos).
2022 has also seen my role with design systems shifting to a core facilitator and contributor, so I've also spent a lot of time researching design systems frameworks and patterns while also keeping tabs on what is coming around the corner. One highlight which I really love is the standardisation work being proposed by the DTCG — I'm looking forward to digging deeper in to this in 2023.
2022 I've mainly been listening to podcasts, specifically The Adam Buxton Podcast, Athletico Mince (probably the best Bob Mortimer comedy I've heard) and The Moon Under the Water with John Robins (great beer chat in this). There have been a couple of albums I've had on loop from 2022: Lucifer on the Sofa by Spoon and Ultra Truth by Daniel Avery, both I've picked up on vinyl and love to bits.
Honestly, this year the less said the better. My bike is finally out of storage and residing at my in-laws for the moment, so I'm keen to get more meaningful and longer road rides when spring hits.
I got my hands on a Sony A7RIII with a 35mm prime lens and a 70-300 zoom lens which I've really enjoyed using. I've not published my photos in any meaningful way so I'm looking to get those out in the wild this year.
A new chapter as a Healy-Clarke
2022 has been a year of life milestones and I feel super privilaged to be able to have done all of this, especially after the last few years we have all gone through. We celebrated our wedding with friends and family after getting married in lockdown 2021, both changed our surnames (the sheer pain of updating all of our records to reflect this has been absolutely ridiculous and something I never want to go through again!), visited Canada for our honeymoon and moved out of the city and in to the Kent countryside.
We've fit a lot in to 2022 and looking forward to seeing what 2023 brings!
I'm not one for resolutions but I will try to frame 2023 in to one sentence to use as a guiding light:
Focus on small and meaningful things which come together as a bigger whole. Communicate early and often, keep an open mind. Don't be too hard on yourself.
See you in 2023!