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Life Updates, Newsletter Revisions, and More!

Hey there friend, it’s been a while since I last wrote - I have some good (and not-so-good) reasons for that. But first of all, I want to thank you for opening this email. I hope you and your loved ones had an enjoyable but safe holiday season.
Now then, let’s find out what I’ve been up to!

The Good Reasons I've Been Gone
A lot has happened since my last issue from *checks notes* July of last year (jeeze). At that point, I was working hard to learn and build new projects while participating in dip.chat by Joe Previte, which is currently on a hiatus. That, plus my day job, plus my continued dev-journaling, meant I dropped this by the wayside - not good, but it happens.
Me (on the left) and my friends on top of Pikes Peak in Colorado
Me (on the left) and my friends on top of Pikes Peak in Colorado
First was my bachelor party in August, where my friends and I traveled to Colorado Springs, CO. Visiting Colorado has been on my bucket list for some time, and this trip did not disappoint. The highlight was when we drove up Pikes Peak in some fun cars we rented. The views did not quit, and I was very humbled by both the size of the mountains, but also what altitude can do to a person’s body. I live on Long Island, NY where we are barely above sea-level so seeing real mountains was an amazing experience.
My wife and I at the end of our wedding
My wife and I at the end of our wedding
Next, I got married in October, which was amazing. However, I am sure most anyone who has gotten married can tell you that the two months leading up to your wedding can be slightly chaotic, and that ate up a lot of my time.
Our view our to the Caribbean Sea from our resort room
Our view our to the Caribbean Sea from our resort room
After the wedding was the honeymoon, where my wife and I traveled to Playa del Carmen, Mexico! It was my first time traveling outside the US, and I loved it. I was definitely concerned traveling with COVID, but we came out happy, healthy, and relaxed.
The Not-So-Good Reasons I've Been Gone
I promise this newsletter will be about web development in the future, but I like the idea of being transparent - I had a pretty bad bout of depression after the honeymoon. Not because the wedding and honeymoon were over, I can’t explain it. But I was in a funk worse than the 70s (get it, because funk music?) and could not pull myself out of it until recently.
Since before the wedding until around Christmas, I did (almost) absolutely no coding. I would continue to read articles on web development and such, but my GitHub contributions were as empty as my bank account after the wedding 😂
My GitHub contribution graph from June 2021 through December 2021
My GitHub contribution graph from June 2021 through December 2021
That said, I am not on a better path now, and my trajectory is onward and upward. I began seeing my therapist again, am on antidepressants, and began re-establishing good habits that help my mental state and make me a better version of me.
So What's Next?
I have been off work since December 24 and do not return until January 4, so I have been doing some relaxing in that time, but I’ve been doing a lot more work, including coding again (see above picture for proof). I have goals, of course, like most come the new year, and they boil down to two main goals:
1) Lose 50 pounds by the end of the year
2) Begin applying for Web Development jobs by June 1, 2022.
There are more goals than that but those two are my main focus for this year. As for this newsletter and my blog, I have a few changes I’d like to make for those…
Previously, I was blogging and sending out newsletters under the Coding Catchup name. I still like that, but for simplicity and tying more things back to myself, I am moving to both just being from myself, Ryan Furrer. That won’t change anything for you other than the domain on which my blogs are hosted, moving from Coding Catchup to a new section of my site.
I also want to be more realistic with my time, and therefore plan to send out newsletters on the 15th and 1st of each month moving forward.
Something for You
If you’ve read this far, I want to thank you so much for your support and reading through the second half of my year. Before you go, I wanted to at least provide you with some value in 3 tools that have been helping me work toward my goals as well as increase my productivity, knowledge, and mindset.
Alfread (paid)
Alfread is a new “read it later” app that I enjoy using daily. I have used Instapaper and Pocket previously, and while I liked both, I often would just keep throwing links in each and forgetting to open the app to read.
Alfread can not only prompt you to read daily, weekly, whatever interval you set, but also add links as “must read”, and archive those you’ve not read after 30 days, so as not to become dumping grounds for unread links. It does not have as much support as the other apps I mentioned, but it works with my workflow.
Please note the app is currently iOS only and I am not sure if they plan on building an Android version. You can get the iOS app here.
Brain.fm: Music to improve focus, meditation & sleep. (paid with trial)
Brain.fm has been my go-to app for concentration for a few years. I don’t listen to it 8 hours per day, but I usually use it to get my mind into whatever mode I need, most commonly focus. However, Brain.fm can also help you relax, sleep, and meditate. I cannot recommend Brain.fm enough - use my link to get an extended trial for a month (rather than 3 days). Try Brain.FM today. (not a sponsor)
Monkeytype (free)
I only began using Monkeytype recently, not to increase my typing speed, but to spend 1-2 minutes typing when I sit at my desk which I have found gets me in the zone and ready to code or write. Not only that, but I’ve noticed my typing speed has increased from 100 WPM to ~106 WPM - just from daily use in the last week or so.
Definitely a weird little thing that has worked for me that you might give a shot if you struggle to focus as soon as you sit down.
Follow for More!
As I mentioned above, I plan on making this a bi-weekly newsletter that will contain personal blog updates, useful resources/tools I have found, and more. If you liked what you read I would love for your to subscribe or follow me on Twitter.
Please note that there may be affiliate or referral links in these newsletters. This means if you click on the link and purchase an item or subscribe to a service, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you, and with that coffee I’ll likely buy a to help myself write more. That said, if there is ever a sponsor (who knows if and when that’ll happen) I will make it abundantly clear. Thanks for the support!
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Ryan Furrer

A Front-End Web Development blog for all

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Long Island, NY