It’s been a while since I’ve written one of these year end, year beginning posts, but this is a significant year as the 2010’s draw to a close and the 2020’s have begun. So I figured it be a good exercise to reflect and predict. Let’s start with reflect:
I’m going to group things by Personal, Career, and General. Personal will be things that have happened in my family, and life more close to home. Career will be things that have happened in my work life. General is just general observations about the world as a whole.
This past decade has been a pretty interesting one personally. Looking back at a post I wrote in January 2010 was a reminder of just how much has changed in mine and my family’s life. Here’s short list (there’s some overlap with career changes so I’m going to try to keep the career stuff for the next section):
- My kids are 10 years older. Going into the decade they were 10, 8, and 6 (twins). Now our oldest son is 20 and in his last year of college (Owen Sound – studying to be a police officer), engaged to be married. Our oldest daughter is 18 and in her first year of University (Guelph – majoring in Psychology and minoring in Criminology). Our two youngest in their second last year of high school at 16.
- All our kids are now drivers.
- Multiple family vacations to our annual cottage rental (switching from Chesley Lake to Clear Lake), and finishing up our last one this past year.
- A family vacation taking us on a 7 day cruise in the Caribbean.
- A move to a new house about a 5 minute drive from the old one. We’ve already been in this house over 5 years. Crazy!
- A dog. Sherlock is now 6 years old.
- At the beginning of 2010, we were a little over 1.5 years into a fresh move to Waterloo (having moved from the small town of Hanover, Ontario to the big town of Waterloo, Ontario) and a new school for the kids.
- I started tracking books I read during this decade using different online services, finally settled on goodreads.com. Conservatively I think I’ve read at least 42 books in the last 10 years. That’s definitely a lot lower than I thought it’d be but I know my reading shifted a lot from books to online articles and blogs in the last decade so makes sense. Recently, I’ve been shifting back to books so I expect this number to go up the next decade.
- I started the decade averaging 210 pounds and ended averaging 220 pounds. So I definitely have some work to do on improving my weight (and thus overall health).
- Experienced a number of deaths in the family including both my grandparents, my Aunt, my wife lost a couple Aunts, cousins, and niece. There’s been a never-ending reminder of how precious and short our life is.
- I’ve been fortunate to travel to lot’s of different places in the past decade: Edmonton, Malawi, multiple trips to Ukraine, WordCamp San Francisco (2014), 2 trips to Florida, a cruise in the Caribbean and recently hitting WordCamp US in St. Louis (October this past year).
- I nearly died from Malaria which I contracted from my trip to Malawi in 2011. The symptoms surfaced on my return to Canada and I spent 2 weeks in the hospital. Not fun.
- Financially, we both eliminated debt (at one point all we had was a mortgage) and accumulated debt. I feel like our family is in a financially stable position but we’re also entering into what could be the most expensive years of our life. Yikes!
Lot’s has happened externally but internally I also have a few observations:
- My faith journey has shifted. I admit, I’ve become a bit jaded with the shape of evangelicalism and the state of the Western church in the last decade. I probably should write on this more. Rather than being in the world but not of the world, it seems more and more to me that the churches are either out of touch with the world and have little to no impact, or are virtually indistinguishable from the world, have some impact but are drawing people to a form of consumerist based Christianity that has little in common with the life change Christ calls people to.
- I’ve also shifted a bit in my dogmatism. There’s a lot more nuances to the teachings of scripture than the “black and white” view I held a decade ago.
- I still firmly believe in the promise and hope of Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour. My faith and life is still being shaped and molded by his teachings especially as they intersect with the world I see and live in every day.
- I feel I’ve done a terrible job as a father and husband this past decade. There’s so much I’d lecture my younger self about if I had the chance to go back.
- I hated transitioning to my 40’s. I felt like it came too fast. At the same time, now that I’m in the latter half of my 40’s I feel like I’m heading into the best years of my life.
- I’ve come to realize that cultivating close friendships is super hard. Unless you make an effort, it won’t happen. My circle of close friends has definitely narrowed over the past decade while my circle of acquaintances has definitely broadened.
- It’s true what they say, the older you get the more fast time goes. This has to be some sort of organic relativity thing.
- I gasp at the thought of what the past decade would have been like without my family and in particular my wife. It’s hard to believe we’re on the verge of 25 years together (2021 is the year for that).
- I realize more and more that it’s not always true wisdom comes with age, but it is true that wisdom comes with learning + experience. The experiences I’ve had over the past decade have both enriched me and stained me.
The past decade has definitely seen some of the most pronounced changes in terms of career! I transitioned from being in full-time ministry as a Pastor, to being a full-time freelance web-developer owning my own business, to being a full-time software engineer working for one of the top tech companies in the world. There’s no way I could have predicted the trajectory of my work life 10 years ago!
Back in February 2011, I announced my resignation from Waterloo Pentecostal Church as their Assistant Pastor. This was a tumultuous time for me as I wrestled with the reality that my passions didn’t quite align with what I thought might be a life-long calling. So after 17 years as a pastor, in May of that year I made a significant career shift (and huge risk!) in going full-time as a freelance web-developer.
While I was already working with a few different clients that helped with bringing in income, I was super fortunate to start what would be an awesome long-term contract with Event Espresso. I ended up spending just over 8 years with this incredible team and they definitely contributed to levelling up my development skills!
Then in July of this year, this happened:
I still have yet to write more about this change but so far it’s been a really great experience working for Automattic. I’m currently the engineering lead for a squad working on various next generation stuff for WooCommerce.
There’s absolutely no way I would have been able to predict the course of my career back in 2010 but I distinctly remember wondering back then what it would be like to work for a company like Automattic! Well, now I know.
For this last section of my reflection on the past decade, I thought I’d just try recalling a random assortment of things in the world. Without spending a lot of effort, what immediately comes to mind? I think this gives a snapshot into the impressionable moments that have stuck with me (and surface what bubble(s) I might be living in).
- Climate change seems to be a real thing. An increase in wildfires and worldwide temperatures all point to the impact mankind is happening on our home. I do think some of this is cyclical, but anyone who denies the changes as having been accelerated by man has their head in the sand.
- We’re living in the age of offense. People seem to get offended by anything these days. Some seems legitimate, but so much of it seems unnecessary. As the decade comes to a close, offense is being normalized.
- We’re living in an age of extremes. Extreme political edges, extreme sports, extreme weather, extreme stunts, extreme silliness, extreme trends, extreme violence, extreme trolls, extreme addictions. Some of this is fun, some of it is scary.
- While the gulf between the haves and have nots has grown larger, the good news is extreme poverty has taken a hit and things have improved (if only marginally in some parts of the world) for the poorest in the world.
- Good leadership has taken a real hit. Somehow, the moral integrity of a leader is less important than the side they claim to be on.
- The younglings are fed up with the oldlings. Part of the problem is that generational boundaries are blurred.
- Tolerance is feeding intolerance. Instead of eliminating it.
- Things that have long been swept under the rug, are being exposed. There’s a whole lot of good happening because of this, but in line with the rise of extremes, I’m wary of the hit justice is taking as the pendulum swings too far in the opposite direction.
- Big corporations are taking over the world. Mergers and acquisitions have been aplenty. The impact of this is not lost on the traditional governmental power structures of the world.
- The space race has gotten a whole lot more interesting. Seriously, a rocket can now bring itself back to earth and land on a platform in the middle of the ocean?
- The world as I knew it has been shaken up. America is losing relevance in the world, Europe is is fractured, Asia is rising.
- Technology powers our lives. Frighteningly and excitedly so. I can talk to my computer and phone, immerse myself in virtual worlds, and even layer the real world with the imaginary. Crazy.
- Advertising has been replaced by subscriptions.
- Lifelong careers are a thing of the past.
- We live in a gig economy.
- Schools are increasingly irrelevant.
- You can learn whatever you want as long as you can get internet access.
- The internet has become more centralized and closed.
- Newspapers, and News shows and journalism in general has become more biased and polarized. This has been one of the most troubling things for me.
- Truth is a commodity. Perception is king. The ability to discern truth from falsehood in today’s world is becoming increasingly difficult and irrelevant.
- The cultural and societal landscape of our world is shifting on a shorter and shorter timescale.
- Long term thinking seems to be dying. On the other hand, long form content seems to be entering a time of renaissance.
In this section of this post, I’m going to spend a bit of time making some predictions about the next decade. Of course, it’s impossible for anyone to really know what the future holds and it’s becoming even more apparent that even predicting the next year is an impossible task.
Things are changing incredibly fast in our world and I laugh thinking about some of the things I thought would happen in the past decade that didn’t. Yet, there’s something that consistently draws me to “big picture” thinking and looking at that long view over 10 years definitely fits the bill.
So, following the same pattern I took with my reflections over the past 10 years, I’m going to take a journey into the next 10 years and predict what I think will happen in my personal life, in my career and in general.
When the clock rolls around to midnight January 1st, 2030, I will be 56 years old. Ugh, even the thought of being 4 years away from 60 is pretty scary for me. It’s an obtuse reminder of just how quickly the sands of time are dwindling away in my life.
In these predictions, I’m choosing to be a bit optimistic. So viewing the next 10 years through the lens of hope, this is what I see:
- My wife and I will probably have a few grandchildren to dote on. In a way this is sobering, but also something I look forward to.
- My oldest son and his wife to be will have been married just short of 10 years. They’ll either be still living in Ontario or out East in the New Brunswick area and both will be involved in policing in some form. He’ll be 30!
- My oldest daughter will either be travelling the world with her partner or married and doing something related to psychology or sociology. I can also see her being involved in some sort of activist movement. I could also see her married with her first child on the way (she’ll be 28!)
- My other daughter, one of the twins will be 26. I think she’ll be married by then too and living with her husband in some small town involved significantly in their home church (possibly even with my daughter pastoring). I could totally see her having at least 2 children by then.
- I could see my other son, the other twin (so also 26!) married and living in the country. He’ll either be doing some sort of trade for a company or have his own business. He and his wife will have at least one child by then. I could also see him potentially being involved in the travel industry somehow.
- I don’t think my wife and I will still be living in our current house. I think we’ll have a small home as a home base somewhere in Ontario and will be travelling in a motor home throughout the year. While I think I’ll still be working and coding, I think much of our time will be taken up with travelling.
- I will have read at least 100 books in the next decade and have spoken at a number of WordCamps and developer conferences, passing on things I’ve learned while working as a part of the Gutenberg project and helping build the new WooCommerce interfaces.
- Financially, my wife and I will be in a good place and will have the freedom to bless our kids, travel, and give to the things that matter to us.
- By the end of the decade I hope I will be using a new type of hearing aid that runs on solar power and integrates with the augmented contact lenses I have as it provides much of the computing power for the heads up display. Hey, let me geek out a little!
- Health wise, I’ll be hovering around 190 lbs average weight – not having reached my goal of 180 lbs but oh so close.
- For my faith journey, I think I’ll have written more spiritual theme articles and posts and will be involved in some way at my local church (when we’re in town) teaching and leading. I think my wife and I will have done at least two or three missions trips over the next decade.
- I think the way “church” is done will have changed dramatically. The Sunday service as we know it will have virtually vanished and in its place will be weekly gatherings involving more doing and less spectating.
- I will find transitioning into my 50’s hard, but that will be offset by the stage of life my wife and I are at as we start travelling and doing more together.
- At some point, I will own at least one Tesla vehicle.
- Career wise, I think the major shift I’ll see in what I do for work will be less hands on coding and moving into more of a leadership type role in whatever company I’m with.
- I’ve always been a long term kind of guy. So I could totally see myself still working for Automattic in the next 10 years. If not, it will be with a company where I can continue working remotely (and probably some sort of startup).
- I think WordPress will still be around in 10 years and I’ll still be involved in some way with the project. I hope to have led at least one release for the project.
- I anticipate becoming a bit more involved in various developer conferences and WordCamps as a speaker.
Here’s a few predictions I have about how the world in general will change in the next decade. Most are just wild guesses. Some of it I hope doesn’t happen at all!
- Parts of the world will be uninhabitable by 2030 leading to a crisis of refugees from parts of the world that are affected by the accelerating climate change. The lower Florida panhandle will be mostly underwater but some cities will be transitioning to artificial islands. Where I live now will be seeing nearly no snow during the winters.
- Carbon recapture will be big business.
- Micro reactors and solar power will be the next wave of energy resource.
- The first mining of asteroids will have begun.
- The moon will have a permanent base.
- The first manned mission to Mars will be queued up to launch in 2031.
- Gasoline powered vehicles will be a rarity, only collectors will have them.
- The only place you will see people driving themselves will be outside of cities. There will be cities where you must hand over control of your vehicle to the autonomous network once you enter the city boundaries. Nations will be starting to experiment with nation-wide autonomous networks.
- Transactions will be device based and credit cards and cash (though not credit) will be a thing of the past.
- Nations will be more isolationist, and the UN will have become increasingly irrelevant.
- The ultra rich will be involved in bailing out bankrupt governments and nations that will result in corporations financing governments.
- There will be a battle between a new decentralized internet 2.0 and the existing centralized internet.
- Quantum computing will start getting used in more and more applications near the end of the decade. It still won’t be “main stream” but will be powering a large part of the machine learning nearly every major company uses to drive it’s profits and innovation.
- Democracy and capitalism as we know it today, will have changed.
- Augmented reality will be entrenched in nearly everything. The physical world will be designed to support the augmented world.
- Virtual reality will be used to power long distance communication, gaming, and learning environments.
- There will be a crisis at some point over the next decade as aging infrastructure deteriorates rapidly.
- Wireless power transfer will start to gain penetration.
- Micro transactions will be huge. On demand services and products will be available with a tap or click.
- Everyone will have an identity tied to a blockchain.
- Meat will be a delicacy and the world will have largely transitioned to a plant based diet.
- Zoos as we know them will be much different. A few research related centers will still have live animals but most zoos will have been converted to augmented reality based environments where it looks and feels like you’re right there with the animals, but they are all digitally created.
- Land reclamation projects will be a significant work of coastlines around the world as sea-levels rise dramatically. Artificial islands and floating cities will be on the drawing boards.
- Intercontinental travel will routinely involve briefly going into space.
Well that’s a wrap for what turned out to be a much longer post than I originally planned. I’d love to hear some thoughts on what I’ve written here!