Most people wrote their “year-in-review” and “look-ahead” posts over a month ago. But I’ve never been accused of being like most people, so I’m publishing my look back at 2016 and my look ahead at 2017 near the end of January. Thank you for indulging me…
In 2016 I jumped wholeheartedly into the WordPress Community. I’ve used WordPress since around May of 2004 and have been an avid supporter of the software since, but I had not really gotten into the community aspect of WordPress until maybe 2013, and then mostly as a fringe onlooker.
But in 2016 I decided it was time to be “all-in” involved. I was on the organizing committee for the first ever WordCamp Pittsburgh. I attended WordCamps in Buffalo, Northeast Ohio, Pittsburgh, and WordCamp US, held in Philadelphia. I had planned on attending WordCamp Columbus, but my health had other plans, and so I had to miss that one.
For those wondering what exactly a WordCamp is, it is the equivalent of a trade show and learning conference for other industries. Sponsors make all WordCamps possible, as the attendee cost is minuscule compared to most conferences, and usually the sponsors will have booths (or tables) with information about their company, perhaps special enticements to try out their product, and swag to give away.
There are WordCamps all over the world, most are small and somewhat regional, although any WordCamp is likely to have attendees from all over the country/world. Every year there is one massive WordCamp held in the US (WordCamp US) and one held in Europe (WordCamp Europe). The last two years WCUS has been held in Philadelphia, and the next two years it will be held in Nashville.
A big part of the WordPress Community takes place online, and I have embraced that fully on Twitter, Slack, and Facebook, but it all comes together at WordCamps. For an introvert like me, social media has been a major boon. I have been able to get to know people online, and then when we meet at a WordCamp, it is like meeting old friends.
The WordPress Community is also well known for its generosity, and more than a few times I have been able to ask for help on a problem and within minutes I have a solution for the problem. Usually, it is a problem for a site I am working on, but this is a true community, and you never know what form that help may take.
That is a look at the WordPress side of my 2016 but believe it or not, WordPress is only a part of my life.
I Love My Wife
In June Debbie and I celebrated our fourth anniversary. I continue to be amazed at how my life has changed since I met her! I’ve grown in ways I didn’t think possible before. It is safe to say that Debbie has enabled me to become the man I used to only dream about becoming.
I look forward every day to finding some new way to love and honor my Beautiful Wife!
My health was up and down throughout the year, more down than up, really. My chronic back pain became so severe that it was hard to move at times. A new chiropractor has greatly helped relieve that pain, and that has resulted in much more overall “wellness”.
My struggle with my weight took a major step backward in 2016, and I seemed to be in a Catch-22 loop. My pain was so bad I couldn’t exercise like I should, so my weight increased, which made my pain worse, which kept me from exercising….Well, you get the picture.
I also met some local Butler folks in 2016 who have a vision for making Butler a much better place and I took steps to get involved in my local community here. I joined a local networking group (that I need to get back to soon), I found a couple of groups to volunteer in, and I tried to just be more “available” to people.
So, as I look back at 2016, and look forward to 2017, here are some of my goals, plans, and hopes.
Taking Back My Health
I want to get my health in order. That starts with the food I eat. I am currently reading the book “It Starts With Food” and am making an active and aggressive move to eating healthy. As I eat more healthy, I will lose weight, and as I lose weight, I will be able to be more active physically. That will affect everything from my personal life to being out in the community, to being able to do much more at WordCamps and other conferences that I may go to.
I am tired of sitting in the corner, being an onlooker. If you are reading this, I’d like you to hold me accountable to this. Ask me from time to time how my healthy eating is going. Ask me if I am doing anything to be active. I need help. I’m asking you to help me.
Getting Involved in Butler
In 2017 I am going to continue volunteering for local groups and become even more involved in helping to make Butler, PA a better place to live, work, and visit. I need to be involved in more public events, so I am actually out, meeting, serving, and helping people.
Getting Involved Online
I am going to continue to increase my involvement in the WordPress community by going to WordCamps and Meetups and being involved in webcasts and webinars. Look for me online on Twitter (@PappyOyler), Facebook (@OylerCreative) and in webinars and webcasts. Coming up in just a couple of weeks I will be a guest on WP RoundTable, Thursday nights you can usually find me hanging out with the gang at WP Blab, and at least a couple days most weeks you will find me in the chat room for iThemes Training webinars.
Improving Oyler Creative
I’m also taking concrete steps to improve my business this year, so look for Oyler Creative to become more visible. I am making plans to attend the Freelancers Conference in Columbus, OH later this year so I can make my business more stable and better positioned to serve my clients. I’m also hoping to be able to attend the SEO Bootcamp so that I can help my clients make visible and measurable gains with their websites.
I am going to continue learning about how to best use social media for small businesses, again so that I can help my clients better serve their customers and grow their business. I am committed to helping each of my clients expand their online presence and see measurable gains in their businesses as a result.
And I am going to make writing a top priority in 2017. I’ve always loved to write but I have gotten so out of practice that it has become hard for me. Well, one of the whole points of WordPress is to make it easy for anyone to write and publish. If I’m going to be ‘WordPressing’ I had better be publishing my own writing!
Look for posts about my WordPress (of course) and articles written specifically for small businesses that want to know how to make their own imprint on the internet. I’ll be writing about my journey to a healthier lifestyle and updating my progress. I’ll probably write about music I love and some concerts that I hope to attend. And occasionally I may just write about my past; I’ve been told it is interesting and worth writing about, so I just may do that!
So there is my look back and my look ahead. I hope to see you soon, either online or in person at an event!
So glad you joined us online, Paul. We appreciate your insights and experience and look forward to chatting with you more in 2017!
Paul, this is fantastic! I also decided to get more involved with the WP community last year, and it was transformative. Hope to see you more online. Good luck with the Whole 30!
Thanks, Sara! Being involved in the community has indeed been transformative. I’m sure I will see you online more. Did I see that you were one of the attendees for the SEO Bootcamp?
Somedays I look at the Whole30 and think it is really easy, no big deal, and then other days I think it is just much too hard.
Sara has a great story about how it came to be that she could attend SEO Bootcamp. I think she’s going to share a little about it on Carrie’s show (today? Next Thursday?) Be sure to listen.
Love it! You had an incredible 2016 and your plans for 2017 sound amazing. What a beautiful photo of you and Debbie, congrats on your fourth anniversary. Paul, I’m looking forward to reading more of your blog posts. And finding out how things are going with your email. 😉
Thanks, Deborah! I’ve got another post that should go out on Wednesday.
Paul, I am very impressed with the commitments you have made. You can do this!
Thank you, Pops! I love you!
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