A 2023 retrospective

Now that 2023 is officially in the past, I felt like a good idea to document some of my personal highlights of the year.

  1. A New Job – This year started with me taking a new role at 10up, which allowed me to contribute full time to the WordPress Performance Team. After several years focused mainly on client services work, it has been nice to get to collaborate again with old WordPress friends and colleagues, as well as several new ones, with the objective of improving the performance of sites that are using the software. I am very proud of the progress we made this year, and am looking forward to continuing this work in 2024.
  2. Cycling Accident – In early March, I had an unfortunate cycling accident while on a Saturday training ride with Velo Force, the local racing team I’ve been riding with for the past few years. We were going downhill at a pretty quick pace, when my friend, Eric, lost traction in front of me and we both ended up in the hospital. I fractured my orbital socket, had a minor brain injury 😬, and broke my collar bone. The head injuries healed pretty quickly, but I spent the following 6 weeks in a sling, which was quite annoying. I’m pretty lucky that my injuries weren’t worse.
  3. Italia, mi amore – The day after getting released from wearing the sling, Kelli and I boarded a plane for a 10-day trip in Italy to celebrate our 20th anniversary. After a few days in Rome, we took a cruise that took us around the southern tip of the country and back up to Venice. After un viaggio meraviglioso, I arrived back at home and promptly tested positive for Covid. A lovely souvenir, indeed.
  4. Iceland – At the beginning of May, I got to travel to Iceland for the first all-hands summit that 10up has been able to hold since the pandemic started in 2020. I feel very fortunate to have gotten the opportunity to come along for this trip after having newly joined the company. As a long-time remote employee, I have a deep appreciation for in-person time with colleagues who normally live many timezones apart.
  5. STL City SC – The biggest unexpected joy this year came from the inaugural season of the new MLS team in St. Louis. The entire city was excited for the season to start, and we also got swept up into the celebration. Watching the games ended up becoming a central activity that our family enjoyed together. The team had a great first year—obliterating expectations by winning their division—and the ritual of having my girls (and often their boyfriends) all crowded into our living room to watch the games together will be a memory I’ll be forever grateful for.
  6. Tay – Yes. I am that dad who stayed on the Ticket Master website all day so I could spend ridiculously too much money on concert tickets as an excuse to have a weekend road trip with my 13 year old daughter before she’s too cool to hang out with her parents. Worth. Every. Penny. The show itself was the most phenomenal spectacle I’ve ever witnessed. Sharing the experience with P was beyond my wildest dreams.
  7. WordCamp US – Each year, one of the highlights on my calendar is getting to meet up with old and new friends from across the globe at this annual WordPress conference. In August, this year’s conference was held near Washington DC. While I didn’t get much time to visit the city while I was there, I always cherish the time I get to catch up with people and collaborate in person for a few days during the year. Over the years, some of my most favorite people are the ones I’ve gotten to know by being a part of this little software project called WordPress.
  8. College Visits – In autumn, Kelli and I began our new roles as consultants and travel agents for my daughter’s college selection process. We took a couple of trips to visit schools that she is interested in and to which she has applied—setting us up for what will surely be one of the big McGill family story lines of 2024. Can’t believe we got here so quickly, but I also think we all feel ready for this next chapter 🤞🏻
  9. CX Season – I had a successful summer recovering from my early season cycling injuries by putting a lot of road miles on my new bike (my old one was totaled in the crash). So in September I decided to try a cycling discipline that was brand new to me. Cyclocross (or CX) is kind of a hybrid between road riding and mountain biking. St. Louis has a yearly racing series where windy semi-technical racing courses get set up in different parks around the area each week and folks show up to play around on bikes. It was challenging—and sometimes not very fun to be a beginner at something—but overall I really enjoyed the season and the community that came together for these races and am looking forward to hopefully having some more success racing next year.
  10. In Person Friends – As a remote worker whose interactions with other humans are very often conducted over video calls or chat rooms, time spent with the people Kelli and I are lucky to have in our lives is so very meaningful to me. Whether it be the friends for decades with whom we get to celebrate kid’s graduations and weddings with, or getting together for a meal with the new neighborhood pals we’ve made within the past few years, I am very grateful for the time I get to deepen these relationships and be part of each other’s lives. I’m hopeful that 2024 will allow even more.