Welcome to 2017 everyone! I’m a bit late on this year-in-review post; been picking at it for weeks (despite it’s short length), but it’s better late than never. As promised, here’s my list of some major, personal positive notes for the past 12 months. (Rather than stick photos in the body, they’re arranged above.)
- Obtaining My PMP Certification: I finally earned some certifications this year! Neither were strictly related to web development, but by far the most significant was the Project Manager Professional (PMP) certification. I learned about this certification while trying to apply to an internal Project Manager opening. Despite not being chose for the position, I received permission to go to training for the certification in April. I attended in May, purchased a ton of study materials on my own, and had my nose in books, exercises, and practice tests all the way through November. The preparation was long and grueling and the test was a four-hour nerve-racking ordeal, but I made it out the other side a success. Look for some posts related to this in the coming year!
- Finished Guest Bedroom: This is one of those topics that may seem pretty mundane to those of you who don’t know me personally, but I can’t stand unfinished or untidy spaces. All of my work and living areas have always ended up with some kind of order, color, and sense to them in one way or another. But since I purchased the house in 2013, I’ve never quite been able to figure out this middle, guest bedroom. Until this year! With the help of Pinterest, IKEA, online mattress providers, and friends, I finally finished the room to my liking (complete with an HDMI splitter to the wall TV). It’s pretty cozy now!
- Trips and Vacations: Cliché, but I really did have a wonderful set of experiences in 2016 outside of my routine. I ventured off with Erik to the Smoakhouse Ranch near Branford, FL for springs swimming, kayaking, and Star Wars watching; partied, go-carted, and In-n-Outed with Rob and Michael in Reno; jumped on an impromptu trip floating down Ichetucknee with my Jacksonville friends; dragged Rob to his first trip to Anastasia Island State Park for a morning ocean dip; enjoyed our amazing, filled-with-hiking-and-food now-annual outing to the Blue Ridge; ran with Rob’s idea to hit up the “crop” maze in the fall; played in the snow in Chicago; and ended the year with a wonderful day at Blizzard Beach (my first time back since 3rd grade).
- Back Issue Identified: All year I dealt with some lower back pain, specifically around my right hip (until it spread to the left). The last several months of 2016 were filled with doctor visits, physical therapy, X-rays, orthopedists, and other nonsense. And that sounds pretty negative, I guess! But in November, I discovered I could “pop” a joint in my lower back doing a certain stretch. I redeemed a Groupon (a gift from Erik for my birthday) to visit a chiropractor for an adjustment and deep-tissue massage (my first), and he confirmed that the “popping” was me resetting my SI joint to its proper place. I started doing this regularly (and still do), and it seems to considerably reduce the pain I’ve had all year. I still have a rough road ahead to figure out how to exercise, stretch, and work on fixing my body so the joint doesn’t fall out of place many times a day, but I’m really, really thankful that the pain can be dealt with for the time being and that I’ve all but identified the issue after so many months.
- Pokémon Go: Let’s face it: Pokémon Go basically isn’t a game. But it is an app that got me excited enough on day one to careen all over UCF with Rob in search of critters and loot. Over the year it’s encouraged me to walk and get out far more than I would have otherwise, and I still launch it daily. I’m thankful for the adventures it’s taken me on all year, and I hope it continues to do so in 2017.
- Rogue One: It’s not a perfect movie, but boy was it a welcome, immensely satisfying sigh of relief of a first Star Wars spin-off. Eventually the Disney acquisition of Star Wars will end up generating too many movies too often, but for now, it is one of the most welcome feelings around the holidays. Both last year and the year prior, I was able to see the new Star Wars movie with Rob on opening night (two of the best movie-going experiences of my life) and travel home for the holidays to see the movies in 3D with my mom and brother. I haven’t been disappointed yet, and here’s looking forward to Episode VIII this December!
And Here’s 2017
This year I’m getting a head start on goals and productivity with some forward thinking and new approaches. I’ve got a Trello board for goals (organized into now, soon, this year, and long term lists) and an iOS app, Productive, to help me track day-to-day goals and establish good habits. To start the year off, I’ve got it tracking and reminding me to blog weekly, maintain a bedtime routine, eat meals at home more often, stretch and pop my vitamins daily, focus on a singular task a couple nights a week, and of course hit that daily Pokémon and PokéStop! Besides inducing some major guilt on my missed days, it’s working pretty well so far!
As for the larger goals I have for the year, here are a few:
- Update my budgets for the new year and focus on saving as much of my “fun” money as I can. I’ve already submitted the paperwork to re-open my savings account, so off to a good start! Rob and I have also scheduled monthly dinners to review budgets and other goals.
- Plan the year’s vacations in advance. This feels like an easy one, but it feels really good to plan ahead on these! If everything works out, I’ll be taking a trip up north this spring, an extended stay out in Reno in June, another trip up to the Blue Ridge / Smokey Mountains in October, and the Florida Keys in November.
- Shake things up at work. If I’m not leaving, what are my other options? I’ve sat down with a member of our Project Management Office to get his thoughts (since I’ve obtained my PMP, I’m eligible for additional positions). I’ve got a meeting scheduled with our IT lead this week to get his thoughts and feel out my options. I’m also hoping to blog a little about my job’s history and situation in the coming year.
- Blog at least once a week. It feels a little low for my tastes (I wish I could commit to more), but I need to start somewhere and work up. Thanks to all for encouraging me on this! Always nice to hear when you enjoy reading. We’re already three weeks into the year and I’ve missed two, so I’ve got some catching up to do.
- Get evaluated for being a candidate for LASIK surgery (and hopefully get it done). I’m pretty tired of dealing with the distortion problems from glasses, especially since I’m staring at screens all day. It would pretty swell to be able to dive and snorkel without vision issues too. Here’s hoping it’s an uncomplicated, affordable affair.
- Record my grandpa talking about his life. I did an oral history project in 9th grade where I asked my grandpa a series of questions, but they were mostly softballs and the recordings were on a cassette tape. I’ve purchased a Shure microphone for the iPhone and I plan to schedule a few days with him in the coming spring to get his thoughts on anything and everything I can.
- See the real Florida this year! Chances are I’ll be on my way to my next home in a year or two, so I’d like to make sure I see as much of what I haven’t seen of Florida this year. Rob and I have plans to try to hit every state park we can through a handful of trips (one to Pensacola and back, one to Naples and back, and one to Key West and back). We’re off to a good start fresh off of a day trip down to Lake Kissimmee, Highlands Hammock, and Paynes Creek.
- Reach PSN Level 20 (and stop caring about trophies). I really love achievements and trophies, but they cause me more grief in gaming than I care to admit. I have that “must finish everything in the game” bug, and I feel bad leaving a game unfinished if I’ve enjoyed it. Achievement/trophy tracking makes that ten times worse, so I often focus heavily on that aspect of games these days (instead of enjoying them). So! I made a deal with myself that if I can get to level 20 on the PlayStation Network, I can stop paying attention to them entirely. I did the same with Xbox Live when I hit 100,000 GamerScore, and it worked pretty well, so I’ve got my fingers crossed.
- Organize an Xbox LAN party. I’d really love to hand an old-school Xbox party, with a ton of Xbox Ones, lots of TV and monitors, and large coop and competitive matches of Halo 1-5, Perfect Dark Zero, and whatever else we can find to play. I’ve already started tracking those interested and those with Xboxes to contribute to the cause. This will probably slot into one of those hot summer weekends where vacations are just untenable.
- Purchase and enjoy the upcoming Nintendo Switch and Xbox Scorpio. Both are radically different approaches to console video gaming, and I don’t see that as anything but a good thing! I’ve been worried about the state and future of dedicated portable gaming, so seeing Nintendo really devote to it with the Switch is super encouraging. I am a bit worried about the supply; considering how popular the NES Classic was/is and how impossible it was to find doesn’t give me much hope that Nintendo will stock the Switch appropriately. As for proper HD console gaming, I’m hoping to snag a nice 4K/HDR TV this year to complement this PS4 Pro on my shelf, but it sounds like the upcoming console iteration from Microsoft will be upping the game. Can’t wait for both! (Update: acquired a pre-order from Best Buy for the Switch! March 3rd can’t come soon enough.)
I’m sure I missed a ton of things; a year is a lot of time to go over. But there’s plenty more opportunities for additional posts!
I’ve got a few things cooking for 2017 already! I’ve got some articles on my recent Project Manager certification experience, my job and some recent projects, some video game reviews, and of course plenty of random things sprinkled throughout. If you want to hear about anything I’m not blogging about, drop me a line and ask! Thanks for reading, and here’s to a happy, healthy, and successful 2017 for all.