My 2018

Volume 106 - six minute read

2018 was a big year of changes for me with almost every aspect of my life changing in one way or another. It’s been a year of self-reflection, personal growth, relaxation, and of realization for me.

Wrapping up this year though, I’m feeling the happiest I’ve felt in a very long time. I’m also feeling the most inspired and motivated I’ve felt in a while with multiple ideas for projects to pursue and music to make. While some days are better than others still of course, I’m excited to bring these feelings with me into 2019 and hope for a great year.

I’ll spare you having to hear me get super sappy over personal stuff in life and leave you with a bit about what I accomplished this year and some initial goals for the next year.

Accomplishments from 2018

💻 Got My Dream Job

In February of this year I accepted a job as a Product Designer at the best product agency in the world, MetaLab. Honestly when I first applied I wasn’t expecting to even get a first interview, but once I got all the way to the last interview of the process it hit me that it was a real possibility. Soon after the final interview I received an official offer from MetaLab and still remember the moment I opened the email about hopping on a call with “good news” for me.

Joining MetaLab showed that everything I worked for had come to fruition and that my hard work and persistence had paid off. While it’s been one of the most challenging jobs I’ve ever had, I’ve learned more about so many aspects of the design world these past 10 months than I have at any other job. It’s crazy that I get to wake up every morning ready to work on life-changing products with some of the nicest and most talented people in the industry.

🏠 Moved (again!)

To continue my annual move tradition, I moved from Memphis to Murfreesboro in Tennessee. The original plan was to move back to Nashville (where I went to college), but with how damn expensive it is there I chose this up-and-coming college town that’s close enough to visit Nashville whenever I’d like. Although this was a relatively small move, it was one of the most challenging ones I’ve ever done (my car broke down halfway here with the UHaul attached, leading to a $700 tow charge along with a $900 new alternator). Next year I’m planning to make a move to the other side of the country though and (hopefully) settle down there for the next few years.

🎹 Released 5 Albums

Maybe I just had too much free time on my hands this year, but I’m pretty proud of this one. I’m by no means a popular beat-maker or producer (yet 😉) but I invested a lot of time this year into really focusing on music outside of work and have improved tremendously in terms of production quality with a vast amount of stylistic influences.

Getting my job at MetaLab made me want to pursue other creative interests outside of design just because of the sheer amount of time I was investing into it during my full-time work. One of my top interests was getting back into music production (I originally went to university to be a rap producer) and had been putting it off for years before finally getting serious about it again this past year.

The albums I put out in order are HM-01, HM-02, HM-03, Vertintro, and HM-04 and am currently working on 3 new albums in 3 different genres. Excited for what I’ll make and release in 2019!

✈️ Year I’ve Traveled the Most

This year was the most I’ve traveled during my adult life with a few new places making the list:

  • Vancouver, Canada (2 times)
  • Fort Lauderdale, FL (3 times)
  • Whistler, Canada
  • Atlanta, GA
  • Knoxville, TN
  • New Orleans, LA

Traveling has really helped me recognize the importance of investing in memories instead of material objects. So much so that I already have 4 trips planned for this upcoming year! I highly recommend the places I listed above, all of them have hidden gems throughout and have each been such a unique experience for me.

Here are a couple of pictures from a few of the places I visited!

🧠 Came to Terms with Mental Health

If I’m being honest, mental health was something I almost completely ignored until this year. I used to suppress almost all feelings I had in this realm and felt the feelings weren’t valid or justified. As a kid I dealt quite a bit with anger management and trauma in my childhood but never acknowledged the breadcrumbs they brought to my adulthood until this year.

I learned a lot about myself, self-confidence, anxiety, depression, and how to best cope with them for myself. September and October of this year were easily the hardest months I’ve had as an adult but I’ve come out much happier overall, more prepared, and more positive about myself and my life. I’ve found a routine that has been working well for me (let me know if you’d like to learn more about it) and have also shared my personal experience and mechanisms for coping in this article I wrote a little while ago if you’re curious.

🍃 Separated Work and Life More

A big accomplishment for me this year was realizing that life isn’t all about work. All throughout university and since I graduated my life always revolved around my work. It’s where I found confidence, acceptance, and was an addictive coping mechanism for me to ignore negative feelings.

This year I transitioned slowly but surely to be okay with not working on design or code 24/7 in my free time due to the nature and intensity of my full-time job. I needed to learn to rest and reset to avoid burnout. I turned my time and attention to some productive outlets (like music production, fitness, writing, and my relationships with others) and also accepted that “unproductive” outlets are great too. I’ve been able to play the video games I never could find time for and get back to playing instruments I played in high school. This realization this year also enforced the importance of memories and relationships over countless work hours.

Goals for 2019

While I won’t go into depth on these because I know they will change throughout 2019, these are my initial goals for the next year.

  • Make More Albums 💿
  • Produce for Others 🥁
  • Move to LA 🌴
  • Get Back into Side Projects ⌨️
  • Restart Folder Newsletter 📂
  • Travel More 🌎

Dennis Cortés
Designer that also codes, illustrates, writes weekly articles, and produces music. Hispanic. Pokémon Master.
www.cortes.us