Let’s see 2017 top the year I’ve just had!

December 2016 · 8 minute read

Finished the year with a fractured eye socket and I couldn’t be happier!

Last New Year’s Day I woke up sober, went for a run and anticipated what I’d decided would be “My Year.” January started out with a hiss and roar, feeling optimistic that I would finally get to a place where I could be happy doing what I love every day. Anyone who followed that part of my journey or who was even around me at that time can confirm that it wasn’t exactly smooth sailing.

I had two missions on my agenda to begin the year, get back in the ring after disclosing my shoulder and get AWS certified to boost the chances of software employment. Well, I tell ya, I’ve be told in the past that I don’t do things by halves. And these ambitions are a testament to that. Needless to say, I set the bar extremely high and successfully managed to just miss on both counts. Probably doesn’t seem like much now but that is the most failure I have ever experienced in one go and boy, did it hit me hard. I remember feeling like my life was over and that I should just give up trying anything because it’s not going to work out anyway.

After failing the certification by literally 1 question, I drank myself stupid for two days straight and moaned to everyone who would listen over an increasingly miserable 3 weeks. I guess hindsight is 2020 but looking now, man! What a drama queen! I generally don’t get overly excited when good things happen or show much emotion at all when bad things happen, I feel I have a tendency to just shrug a lot of feelings to the side. Well, this is the reason why!

And then of course, soon after my first failure of the year I stepped into the ring after 6 months off since dislocating my shoulder during a fight. Needless to say, I was scared and I psyched myself out. Ended up being a good fight and I only lost on a split decision but still. 2 big hits to my self-esteem in as many weeks, that’s not going to well for anyone ego.

Gosh, even looking back now it seems like the end of the world was imminent.

On the bright side, regardless of how the fight went, I still got to meet World Champ John Wayne Parr and make him have a photo with me. Not a bad consolation prize, eh? 😉

Despite all the failures, disillusionment and disappointment I still managed to somehow just keep trucking along. Maybe it was the support network I had around me, maybe it was the determination to get to where I’m going and finally be happy, maybe it was a combination of the two but after a very mundane few months which felt like ground-hog day, a faint light finally started seeping through in the distance and it would seem that my hard work was going to finally pay off.

A week of champagne, oysters and over indulgements on an all-expenses paid 5-star luxury trip in Melbourne was just the beginning. Not a bad way to kick off the next 6 months of success!

Feeling refreshed and a little more ambitious again, I’d decided it was time to get over myself and just go and re-sit the AWS exam. And this time I wasn’t going to fail. I spent a good 2 weeks locked in my room every night studying my heart out, barely sleeping and nearly even came close to a breakdown. This time round, the test seemed just as hard as it did the first time and posed new questions that I hadn’t prepared for. I felt nervous as I clicked the final submit button followed by a quick sudden sense of relief as the result came back with a successful PASS!

I thought this would gain me some attention and help fast track my career and I was right! A little later than I’d initially planned, but all of a sudden in July I was finally off to Auckland to start my career as a Web Developer! Exactly 3 years since I’d first explored the idea of pursuing a move into software, it was finally becoming a reality. Little did I know, it was going to get a whole lot harder before it got any easier.

Here I was, finally, in the position I’d only dreamed of. Coding all day and training every night with matches lined up for months!

Although the transition was smooth, the adjustment was fucking hard. Exhausted by the end of every day from trying to comprehend the mindfuck that is my new job, it takes it’s toll on your training after a while. Mental and physical fatigue are two very different things but they certainly have a massive impact on one another.

Still, I managed to find myself eventually balancing it all out and soon officially won my first ever Amateur Muay Thai match. It seemed I would now be unstoppable!

Luckily I am who I am and I didn’t work my arse off 3 years for no reason. You see, I threw my first ever punch at around the same I wrote my first ever line of code and two have sort of gone hand in hand ever since to set me on the path that I am currently walking along. I wouldn’t know what to do with myself without one or the other.

It turns out that the people I wound up working for are extremely supportive and not only back my potential to be a top developer but they also back my sporting ambitions and get just as amped as I do every time I find myself with another opportunity in the ring.

Moving to Auckland certainly has benefits, including anonymity, better weather and one of my year’s highlights! Living about 10 minutes walk away from Vector Arena makes it incredibly easy to jump at any concerts that make it across to NZ so as soon as the opportunity arose, I got to see one of all time favourites Live! Slipknot! OMG! This is probably what made my year. Not only were these guys amazing on the stage but by going to this concert in the first place I personally evolved. In the past would’ve been embarrassed to say that I love this music, man did I cop some shit for listening to them when I was 16, and I certainly would never have had the balls to go to a concert by myself. I’m so glad that I decided “Fuck it. I like them and I want to see them and don’t give a shit if I know anyone else who is a fan or not. I’m going.”

Life’s too short to be hung up on anyone who’s unsupportive in any way. We spend a huge part of our lives trying to work out who we are, what we like, where we belong and how we can be happy. Well, at least I did. But I finally feel like I’m in a place where I belong. Muay Thai people get me. Developers get me. My friends get me. I don’t feel like I need to worry about what anyone else thinks. I don’t feel like I need to try to impress anyone. And I don’t ever feel like I need to try and be someone I’m not.

I honestly couldn’t be in a better place right now, I live in a sunny city, I’m doing a challenging job every day that I love, I don’t have any work obligations on weekends, I get to train with the best Muay Thai gym in NZ, the opportunities for shows and matches seem to be endless and I’ve finally realised that I actually do have some the best friends that anyone could ask for. I got to see one my favourite bands perform Live, I’m in great shape, I feel good and I’ve finally found the confidence to go out and do exactly the things I want to do.

I’ve officially been in Auckland now for 5 months and in that time I’ve managed to land myself 5 fights, 5 wins, and even 2 KOs! One of those KO’s was even featured on a tv show aimed at increasing the exposure of fight sports in NZ.

See it here: http://www.maoritelevision.com/tv/shows/whawhai-fight-night/S01E016/whawhai-fight-night-series-1-episode-16

Even though I walked away from my last win with a fractured eye socket and I can’t train for around 2 months, it’s still pretty safe to say that Auckland so far, has brought out the best in my Muay Thai. And to be honest, that injury couldn’t have come at a better time since I’d already planned to take a short break and hopefully run a marathon over the summer anyway!

Not only has Muay Thai gone so incredibly well in the recent months, but I’ve also learned a great deal more about web systems and architecture having almost finished working on a project which I designed and (with some help of course) primarily built that will assist my company and all their clients as they expand in the future. I now have a greater understanding of one of the best web frameworks around, have learned the implementation for an interesting service which is completely new to me and the company and am about to launch using another fairly new, big player in modern deployment which again, has not yet been (but likely will be in the future) used by the company.

2016 finally saw my 3 year goal come into existence. Now I write code all day and compete in Muay Thai every other weekend! 😀 <3 Needless to say, I wouldn’t be where I am now if it wasn’t for the help and support of a few really good people and I can only hope that 2017 brings more good laughs, good times and good people into my life. I can’t wait to see what the next 12 months has in store! x