WIth quite some shock today, after reading Chistiran Stocker and Derick Rethans blogs, I realised that I had been using PHP for 5 years now.
They made me think about the last 5 years, and I realised I have come a long way, due in no small part to PHP.
5 years ago, I was 16, fresh out of high school (Senior School for us Brits and thinking of what to do with my life. Over that summer, I started The Explosive Network (yes, I cringe now too) and started hacking on phpBB (even more cringing). I also found my way on to the network that would later become Freenode, and into #php.
It was in #php that my skills really started to grow, due in no small to part to Joey Smith, Matt McClanahan and Chris Cornutt.
In September 2000 I started college for no better reason than to have something to do. But Ie nver really got into it, instead I preferred to polish my web developement skills and complete freelance projects over course work.
From 2000 to 2003, I spent my time working on personal projects, PEAR and writing articles for the likes of php|architect and International PHP Magazine.
In 2003 during one of my late night code sessions, I bumped into a girl in a chat room, fell in love and by March 2004, had met and decided I wanted to stay with the rest of my life. Thanks to PHP, I was able to earn enough money, quickly, to fly back out to Florida (where she (and I now) live) and fron June 15th 2004 I have been here ever since.
We got married on December 4th 2004 and am now working, as a PHP Developer here in Florida for a great company. I am supporting my wife and our 4 cats and really, enjoying my life.
Whilst I have attributed most of this to PHP, I should really attribute it to the people who have helped me as adeveloper and as a person, so thank you, to all of you who have cotributed not only to PHP, but PEAR and #PHP (now ##PHP) on Freenode IRC.