Year 3: Max Holiday

A year of many holidays, writing a lot, decommissioning things, learning how to infrastructure, and having a more relaxing time.

Posted on by Rowan Manning.
Tagged with YearnoteHolidayWritingWork

Here we are after another year (and a few months, I couldn’t be bothered to write this in November). After buying my flat in year 1 and demoting myself in year 2, this year has been more chill. This is good because last year I wrote:

Generally, I don’t feel like I need to make any more major changes in my life in the near future, so maybe it’ll be a nice quiet one.

I also kept my promise to myself and bought the most extra annual leave I could at work, bringing me up to 50 days of holiday. It’s been glorious.


The biggest thing that changed this year was how much traveling we did, mostly as a result of all the extra annual leave. We had some incredible trips.

  • In the UK we visited York, the Peak District and Harrogate, Skegness for Butlins, a bleak motorway service station, the Lake District, Liverpool for Eurovision, Berkshire, Leeds, and West Wales.

  • Japan was my stand-out trip and I’d visit again any time. Tokyo and Kyoto were so much fun, the food was incredible, and my only regret is not extending our trip.

  • We ticked Australia off of Charlotte’s bucket list and I enjoyed it a lot. Melbourne was really fun but my favourite part of the trip was the more rural drive to Syndey.

  • Our final big trip was heading to Thailand and meeting friends who live in East Asia and Western Australia. It was lovely seeing everyone, the trip was intense in places but Chiang Mai was really lovely and relaxing. Ending the trip in Phuket for an all-inclusive was a treat and I conquered a little bit of my ocean fear.

Although I’m still going to buy more holiday, 2024 will be quieter. We spent so much, dipping into our savings. No regrets at all but it’s not something we could do every year!


I stopped reading very shortly after my last yearnote, which is a shame. I’ve read a few small books at a snail’s pace but it’d be great to pick it up again next year. Maybe the pacing was off and I should aim for a very reasonable 12 books in 2024.


Although I’ve still been writing a lot with ~19,500 words of weeknotes this year, it’s been less of a focus. There have been times when I’ve questioned whether I have the energy for this but on balance I’m glad that I’m still going. There have been a few times over the course of the year where I’ve found myself down a rabbit hole reminding myself how I was feeling or what I was doing at a given time.

While I’ve lapsed a lot on public blog posts, having written only one in early November 2022, I’ve been publishing internal blog posts at a much higher rate. I wrote 14 blog posts with a total of 12,000 words in our team’s Confluence! It’s been a really fun way to engage with other people across the business and make sure people know all the details when we launch something new or announce that we’re decommissioning something.


I really like my job and I feel like I’ve settled into my team. I think we’ve got great at prioritising the most important work and I know we’re positively impacting the stability of Incidents don’t faze me at all, if anything they add a fun little bit of interest to the week.

We’ve done so much but the work I’m most pleased with is probably decommissioning four of our older libraries and replacing them with modern alternatives (modern, well-tested, and maintained JS, not some flavour-of-the-week framework).

This work included getting rid of three different logging libraries, replacing them with one, and massively reducing our use of a third party that we were no longer finding useful. I have my eye on more old code, “Delete More 2024”.

A nice thing happened towards the end of the year in my Annual Review. I’d kind of assumed I was doing great but wasn’t really developing any new skills but my manager, Alex, helped me see that this is untrue. Something I’d failed to consider is that I’ve become comfortable and proficient (not an expert yet!) with a lot more infrastructure stuff than at the start of the year.

I’ve taken on quite a few large pieces of work in VCL, CloudFormation, and Terraform and these were all things that scared me a lot back in 2022. I’m looking forward to learning more – it’s been fun!

What’s next?

I’ve had a great year! I haven’t fully decided whether I have any goals for 2024.

I think work-wise I’d like to continue gaining confidence with infrastructure stuff, I feel like experimenting with moving a few of our bigger services to AWS will be fun and I’d maybe like to get certified. I’d also like to continue the trend of deleting things.

We have a vague idea that it’d be nice to make some friends outside of technology in 2024. Not sure how we’ll do that, let’s see!

I guess overall I’d like to continue to be more relaxed about life 😊

Thanks for reading!

A full year of weeknotes represented as a grid of thumbnails