Year 33 Status Report

Every year I get older, and every year I try to write a little about what I’ve learned, how my thinking’s changed, or what I’m looking forward to. I’ve been poking away at this and putting it off week after week, but I’m making sure to get this up before 2019. Onward!

  1. Don’t automate a Happy Birthday message, come on now. I got literally the same email from my optometrist and my doctor. Using someone’s birthday as an excuse to strike up conversation? Now that’s where it’s at. Thanks to all who did this!
  2. Twitter mostly sucks now, and that sucks. It’s a rushing river only made of small, single thoughts and as soon as it’s out of sight it doesn’t exist. I’ve largely disconnected from it as a means to follow friends and news. Instant, private messengers are still king, and I’ll get my news from NPR and PBS.
  3. It’s okay to not have social media on your phone. It’s okay to not be up to date or in the know all the time. This year, I removed Reddit, Apple News, Twitter, Instagram, and any other app that gave me a mindless “feed” of information to stay up to date with. I still check these sites and services occasionally, but only when I want to intentionally catch up. It’s made a world of difference in my mood and focus almost every single day.
  4. When you do use Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc., try living in a world where there is no like or favorite button. If you like something, respond! Tell them. Only the most effected and enthusiastic people tend to leave comments—buck that trend!
  5. Moving my attention from “news feed” apps to initiating individual conversations has been one of the most rewarding moves I’ve made this year. Taking time out to scroll through your IM threads and contacts and proactively reach out has never let me down. Personal, meaningful connections and friendships are proven to increase your happiness and life satisfaction, while social media is much the opposite. Poke people!
  6. Don’t buy a game until you’re ready to play it, no matter how cheap it is. If you can help it, don’t keep a games backlog either (I can’t help it). The frequency of releases and rise in average quality means no one can keep up even if they only play great games. I’m down to a Trello with just upcoming releases, a currently playing list that I trim weekly, and a bucket list that I try to pick at over time.
  7. While we’re on games, erase “beating a game” from your mind. Your time is yours, and your opinion of and investment in a game is not only valid if you “finish” it. Ditch it as soon as you aren’t having fun. This is exceedingly hard for me to abide by, but I’m getting better at it every year.
  8. I’m almost completely fatigued with modern AAA games. This year I’ve purchased, played, and almost immediately bailed on Monster Hunter World, God of War, Spider-Man, and Red Dead Redemption 2 out of boredom. Not surprisingly, most of my favorite games this year were smaller, bite-size games that delivered more enjoyment in an hour than popular games do in a day.
  9. I recently stumbled on a newish DDR machine in a strip mall boba tea place and my eyes lit up. I miss DDR so much and really want to ramp up my investment in doing it, both at home for practice and in person on machines. Hell, if I could plunk down a few grand on a machine I’d do it in a heartbeat. I really love music/rhythm games, and with my new thirst for extra calorie burn it’s a match made in heaven.
  10. I can buy and wear medium shirts now (sometimes even smalls)! It’s crazy to me, but it’s probably my favorite outcome of my weight loss.
  11. I am addicted to One protein bars. I eat them for at least 3 breakfasts a week and often pair them with a smoothie for 2-3 lunches a week. The combination of taste, low calories, and high protein is unbeatable. A little pricey at $2-2.50 a pop but worth it.
  12. I’m not going to say I’ve devoted myself 100% to stretching and physical therapy exercise, but it is a shame that my weight loss, increased overall activity and decreased desk time haven’t helped much with my hip issues. Hopefully we will discover what’s going on sooner than later; in the meantime I’m thankful it’s tolerable to the point of not interfering much with my life.
  13. Walking somewhere is kind of slow, biking there is sometimes too fast, and running just sucks (at least until I’m allowed to). What’s the answer to leisurely traveling somewhere while clearing your head or solving a problem? Rollerblades?
  14. Walking has grown on me. What started as a mild way to add some calorie cushion has become something more. My average walking distance per day has increased from 2mi in 2016 to 4.2mi in 2018.
  15. Once I started thinking of myself as a walker and seeing more opportunities for walking, random walks have become exciting, things I look forward to and perk me up in moments of malaise. Knowing I have plans to walk a couple miles after dinner or a meeting is more than enough to get me excited.
  16. You’d think the Florida heat and humidity would get more tolerable after losing 90 pounds, but you’d be (mostly) wrong. Walking long distances is more comfortable now in general, but my exercise takes a huge leap in distance once it starts to cool off. I can only imagine how much I’d be outside and active if I moved up north just a little ways.
  17. Growing up in Florida and developing a love of out-of-the-way campgrounds, parks and quiet, cozy places forever ruined my appetite for theme parks. Rob and I did the whole Disney Annual Pass thing and while it was enjoyable (a little more than I’d expected), it really wasn’t enough to outweigh the downsides of the experience.
  18. I’ve had pretty good success with mood-tracking / self-check-in apps like Moodnotes. They help me log my mood/feelings in the moment for future reflection and they’re a nice reminder that despite what I might be feeling in the moment, things are usually pretty okay!
  19. A normal bedtime routine is still elusive for me. I’ve tried for the better part of two years to come up with a ritual simple enough to follow but interesting enough to pull me away from whatever I’m into on weeknights, but it never sticks and usually leaves me feeling worse than if I hadn’t tried at all. But I will keep trying! Next attempt focuses on only two goals: getting in bed at a consistent time and bringing my laptop for writing.
  20. I’ve found that the frequency with which I take notes and make to-do lists in my notebook is a pretty good measurement of how much I care at any given time.
  21. Focus means so much to me. I prefer isolated places, quiet walks, really any place that provides a thick layer of white noise to drown out the world and create a mental cocoon to be productive and relaxed in. Likewise, places that I expect to be this way but are pierced by an annoying child, an inconsiderate phone speaker, or loud music or advertising is one of the most frustrating things in my life.
  22. Treat yourself to nice things, and yes you deserve it. I might have prided myself on skimping on everything possible growing up (shampoo, soap, clothes, bedding, etc.) but now in my 30s managing a full life, a nice bar of apple cider soap and a lather of Redkin shampoo is something I look forward to every day.
  23. Passion is the most valuable resource you have. Protect it from all detractors, exercise it as often as you can in the face of all forms of apathy, and tout it as your greatest strength.
  24. After a year of being a Scrum Product Owner on a new team at work (which I loved), I’ve left that to be our group’s Scrum Master for two teams (which I’ve hated). I knew I wouldn’t like it a whole bunch, but life is about trying things and learning. And I’ve learned that yes, it’s true that watching unmotivated people bungle work and processes every day while sitting back unable to help is a true living hell for a motivated person.
  25. Speaking of looking for new work, I reinvented myself with a new resume website! I’ve posted about this before, but I redid my site to read like a resume, complete with styling to actually make it print like a resume. Rob was a good sport in helping me photograph a good header for the site during our Blue Ridge trip this year and I’m super thankful.
  26. I love to create. I love the challenge of focusing on a clear goal, forming a (sometimes artificial) deadline, and jumping in head-first, ready to tackle whatever obstacles pop up to learn and grow.
  27. It feels like disappointment and unfairness bother me a ton more than they used to. The more successful I am at improving myself, the more disappointing it is when those values aren’t seen in my daily interactions. I don’t have a good solution to this, but I’ll concede it’s likely all in my head. Rather than be disappointed, I need to work on having fairer expectations of others (and myself).
  28. Despite knowing their performance on the field has no bearing whatsoever on my life and says nothing about my worth, not many things make me more upset than watching the Jacksonville Jaguars lose. Comparatively, a win doesn’t do nearly as much to lift my spirits. It’s bothered me enough that I stopped watching them play as they’ve degraded this year, and almost every time I avoided watching it paid off. But this sucks! I should be able to watch my home team play and compartmentalize my expectations, but sadly it just never ever works. It has something to do with a feeling that they are representing my birth city and by proxy, me. I didn’t choose them, and they didn’t choose me, almost like family. They won’t always succeed, but watching them lose hurts.
  29. You know what’s still rad as hell at 33? Cartoons and anime. Fantasy animated adventure propped me up as a kid and continues to fascinate. I’ve let the indulgence languish for a bit in the past few years but I’ve found it to be a pretty relaxing pastime filled with excitement and wonder, especially in today’s world. I’m almost done with season 3 of My Hero Academia and there are so many classics I want to go back and watch.
  30. I bought a house in mid-2013 (something I never thought I’d do) after being unable to find a better rental. Over five years later, I think I’ve finally settled in. The rooms are all furnished and arranged in a way that makes me happy to walk through, clean and admire, and coming from a perfectionist that re-arranges his spaces constantly that’s a miracle. The last piece of the puzzle is going to be a fun project: mounting a projector screen and projector in the spare bedroom for cartoon and videogame binging.
  31. And also like, I am so thankful for the series of events that led me to this place of privilege and satisfaction. I’ve got lots of other problems and difficulties spread all over my life, but it’s never lost on me how lucky I am overall. I hope I have many more opportunities to share this good fortune with others.
  32. One thing I really don’t have a bead on: what’s next for me? I’ve had one foot out the door of my job for years and we’ve hit our target of five years in the house. I’m ready to try something new…but Rob just started a crazy good new job not six months ago, the house is finally in a state I don’t wanna eff with it all the time, and I’ve got really stable finances and savings. I’d really love to take on the challenge of upping my game and contributing my experience and passion to a job that rewards and thrives on that, but those jobs (and my friends) are all in cities where your dollar only goes a third of the way it does here, full of traffic and overcrowding. I don’t have good answers! But it’ll be a big focus for me in 2019.
  33. I’m getting better at managing budgets, goals, habits, and (maybe?) friendships, but I still can’t figure out a way to write consistently. Here’s to 2019 and slow, steady improvement!

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