My name is Ryan and I was born in a fast growing Scottish town named Kirkcaldy. My ambition is in WordPress development and as of 2017, I’m taking an entirely new approach to my work. In short, I’m now a Freelancer but I’m keen to tell you my full story so you learn who I really am. Read about my character, what brought me to this stage in my life, and my recent decision to stop growing an online business to go freelance instead. You should view my portfolio to understand me professionally without the background story.
The Military Dream
The first ambition I ever had was joining the Royal Marines and I trained hard to enter. I had to beat asthma that always held me back and to make that easier I joined a Uniformed Preparation course at Adam Smith college. It all made a massive difference and I felt fit for the first time. I would run in all weathers, for miles, through falling snow, in shorts, passed classmates, and I didn’t care. I felt I was doing the right thing, ready for anything, on my way to duty. I suppose I was learning to rise up, becoming a man even, being proud of myself and setting an example.
But I perforated my eardrums, normally not a big issue. For me, the pressure of deep water continued to cause sharp pains in my ears and head. I worried about the complications of joining the Navy despite having concerns about diving. I realized I’d be happy in any uniform and joined the Army. Specifically the Black Watch Infantry.
Completed Basic Training
Sadly, I constantly suffered from severe leg cramps while training, despite rarely experiencing cramp when training at the college. I also had many lumps on my shins that would grow, like shin splints but worse. Army medics once took me to the hospital over the problem due to how large one grew. I would wake 3-5 nights a week with the cramp from top to bottom in one leg, then awake an hour later with it in the other leg. I constantly suffered it during training, especially when swimming but thanks to my good upper body strength I could make it to the poolside. It was demoralizing but I refused to give up and completed my basic training.
In Control Again
However, I had to be realistic, my legs would never see me through Infantry training and my sudden cramps felt dangerous. I was essentially incapacitated because both legs would be in agony and forcing my muscles to move to make instructors happy was agony. I requested discharge, which was a harder decision than signing-up. My Captain convinced me to stay in rehabilitation while it turns out, they lied to me about their intention to get me time with a consultant. By the time I discovered it, thanks to the slip of someone’s tongue, I had wasted weeks in a rehabilitation unit waiting. They didn’t trust my word about what I was going through, despite what instructors were seeing themselves. That is the just the Army way, in a way it has to be like that and I’ve never felt bitterness. But at the time, when I discovered that they hadn’t sought a consultant, it became about trust. I then discharged on the basis that I wasn’t in control of my future in a system that had no need to tell me anything. By discharging I was in control again and I was learning a lot about life.
They didn’t trust my word about what I was going through, despite what instructors were seeing themselves. That is the just the Army way though, in a way it has to be like that and I’ve never felt bitterness. I was learning so much about life’s true challenges and how winning was often about being understanding even if those we’re dealing with are not!
I was told I was wasting money by being a recruit and accused of lying by a man who was well ranked. I gave him a piece of my mind like I ha done with anyone who called my honesty and character into question. But at the time, when I discovered that they hadn’t sought a consultant, it became about trust. I then requested discharged on the basis that I wasn’t in control of my future in a system that had no need to tell me anything and had no tolerance. By discharging I was in control again and I was learning a lot about life.
When I discharged myself from the Army. The Commanding Officer agreed that my upper body size (I could do 22 full pull-ups) was a likely reason for my leg troubles. The extra, unneeded upper-body weight could have been putting extra pressure on my legs. I presented my plan, which was to lose my upper-body weight, get more education and re-join a technical part of the military that wouldn’t rely on my legs as much. The Commanding Officer completely agreed. He had no concern about money or the time being spent on me, he just wanted to know I had a plan and even complimented me for being smart enough to take control. It was ironic that I felt more like an adult on leaving the military, thanks to that conversation than when I was joining.
University and Territorial Army
I didn’t hang around when I got out, getting a job within a month, studying at home while working full-time. I gained a Diploma in Visual Basic programming. I then attended the University of Abertay in Dundee, Scotland. I achieved a Degree in Web Design & Development. I attended the Territorial Army while I was a student, summer holidays were spent training, and to this day I have still not had a holiday or a break.
I had every intention of getting, even more, qualifications, potentially in Hacking & Countermeasures, offered by the University of Abertay. That idea was not to be but for many good reasons.
Father of Four
It’s a bit cliche to say that ‘I settled down’ but I did start a family with my other-half, Zara. As I type this, my youngest is 7 months and my oldest is 7 years. I now enjoy being the stay-at-home parent. It allowed me to grow my previous business which struggled, but as always I refuse to give up. That part of my story brings me to this new site, the reason I tell my story so openly, and how all of my determination led me to my current situation.
Refreshing My Portfolio
I’m now building my new portfolio of WordPress projects, to present myself in a different way than I was before 2017. It all starts on this site, where I am now a freelancer rather than the owner of an online business. I’m also using many more development tools to manage my personal workflow. My expertise with WordPress has also increased greatly since deciding to focus on my personal development rather than the growth of an ambitious business.
My next goals are to enjoy family life while the children are still young and to continue nurturing my projects. The big goal is to have an I’m preparing for the day I work full-time and wish to release updates rapidly. That will require a perfect workflow. Watch this space, that perfect work-flow is coming and I will achieve enough to wow most members of the WordPress community.