Personal Yearly Updates

Goals for 2020

Happy February friends! True to form, I’m here writing about my 2020 goals a month into the year. But that’s okay! Don’t let small setbacks or mismanaged expectations derail you.

Twenty twenty. It’s been set up as a pivotal year for me, for the country, maybe (probably) for the world. I’m choosing not to let the anxiety of the moment change my perspective on what I want the next ten years to be about: taking chances in exchange for something new and something better.

I want to be something more than the little boy that grew up and lived his whole life in Florida. I owe this swamp a lot and I love many parts of it, but it feels impossible to reconcile how much of the world is out there to explore with how little time I have left, comparatively. How can I spend my whole life in one state? I want to experience seasons. I want close access to deep woods and cold mountains. I want to walk several miles a day most of the year, not just in the Florida winter.

My first steps on this journey started in 2017 with my weight loss goal. It fueled an interest to see more of Florida, to make sure I got out of it what I needed to before leaving. 2018 involved some surprise job opportunities for Rob and me, so we pumped the brakes on leaving to try to enjoy the ride. 2019 finally kicked us into action: we helped a friend buy a house, moved him in, moved in with him, and sold our house. We’ve spent most of the past four months working on improving said house (future post!) and now we’re ready to focus on what’s next.

Personal Yearly Updates


As is now tradition, here are 34 semi-random topics and thoughts after 34 years of life. I started writing this a couple days before my birthday (10/22) and, as the tradition states, I have to put it off and iterate on it needlessly for months before posting it. Thanks as always for reading!

Birthday: Sticking with what works, my celebration day was:

  • a 15 mile bike ride to and from breakfast at a rural diner,
  • a sprint of effort to finish a list of improvements to the new house before company,
  • a few hours of genuine Halo LAN,
  • and a fantastic, rich Italian dinner…
  • …finished off with a birthday cannoli.

I wouldn’t trade that Sunday for anything; thank you to all who made it memorable!

This Old House: Despite all of the drama surrounding the sale of our previous house, we accepted a similar offer in early October and closed on November 1st. Just like that, it was over—money in the bank and one less string attached to Central (and all of) Florida. We’re all moved in at the new rental, mostly settled, and reaping the rewards of downsizing.

Personal Yearly Updates

2018 and 2019 Goals

It’s that time again! Halfway through January in the new year, it’s time to look back at 2018’s goals, see how they turned out, and use those lessons to set new and better goals for 2019. Let’s go!

2018 Goals in Review

  • Grow at Work: I made good progress in developing more fluency in Agile methodologies and techniques, bouncing from a successful Product Owner to a Scrum Master role after our team downsized a little. Despite really disliking being expected to motivate peers paid much more than me, I have learned quite a bit about what the role can and cannot accomplish.
  • Start Exercising Regularly: My walking distance has crept up steadily and I’m thankful for that, but I never really found a rhythm for stretching or exercising in a regular fashion outside of long walks and semi-regular bike rides.
  • Plan Nights and Weekends: We tried this for most of spring (and it worked well for a bit), but it started to yield less and less results as it became less novel and less compatible with external stressors and obligations. Instead, we switched to a dedicated night per week for games and lightly planned weekends and that has worked well as a fallback.
  • Clear (Some) Game Backlog: Most of my legacy gaming backlog is still the same as last year. Now I know that it won’t solve itself and needs to be addressed a little more directly.
  • Play Myst 4, 5, and Obduction: I dipped my toe into Myst 4 just in time for Cyan to do a Kickstarter for a re-release of all of the Myst titles. Now that 4 finally runs on Steam, it’s back on my list for this year.
  • Read More Books: Unfortunately, my backlog is largely the same as it was a year ago. It’s just something I couldn’t find the time for, and when I did it was very difficult to slow down enough to focus on the simple task of reading.
  • Finish and Publish Oral History Project: Despite taking much more effort than I expected, I did follow through on this and I’m very happy with the outcome. I have shared it with most of my family members at this point and they have all been thankful. Good outcomes all around.
  • Publish Springs Photo Book: Basically no movement on this one, so it’s been pushed into 2019 with lower requirements and expectations.
  • Get (a Little) into Investing: I didn’t purchase any shares in 2018, but I did gather some information on Roth IRAs and opened one with Schwab. It will be a crucial piece of my budgeting strategy in 2019.
  • Relocate from Florida: Despite some genuine efforts (visiting Charlotte twice, talking to locals on Reddit), I didn’t make much headway on my Florida exit plan. A big reason: Rob got a killer job and it pumped the brakes on our planning (and I was fine with that).
Yearly Updates

2017 Highlights and 2018 Goals

Welcome to 2018! It’s hard to believe half of January is gone already. Today I’m enjoying the day alone (MLK Jr. Day off) and taking advantage of the focus and freedom before the barren wasteland of no-holiday-Spring kicks into gear. After some cleaning, gaming, organizing, and bike riding, I figured today would be a swell day to write about the status of my 2017 goals and some thoughts on what I’d like to accomplish in 2018.

2017 Goals in Review

Budget Update: Budgeting and general money-stuffs went pretty well in 2017. I started direct-depositing most of my non-essential earnings into savings (check) and ended up saving quite a bit more than I did the year prior (double-check). In general, auto-hiding that money even though it was only a quick transfer away helped me focus on the amount I was budgeting for spending. Saving is awesome, and I’d highly recommend prioritizing it more if you can manage it.

Vacations: Planning vacations for the year ahead was killer and it completely worked for us. Those plans gave us something to look forward to no matter the time of year, and they all turned out much, much better having been planned in advance. We were able to chart out more mid-trip destinations, score better deals on lodging, and budget time off much more effectively. Traveling constantly, even if the destinations were just a couple hours away, also really made the year feel jam-packed with adventure and fulfilling exploration. I thought the constant travel might feel overwhelming (we even tried to plan to only go out every other weekend) but it ended up being so motivating that I wanted to go out most weekends. It helped tremendously to have a checklist of destinations (more on that below). Some years will be less predictable than others, but planning in advance paid off more than I was expecting.

Personal Yearly Updates

Surprise I’m 32

I recently turned 32 (October birthdays, woo!), so here are 32 stream-of-consciousness topics that came to me as I forced myself to write about 32 topics.

Personal Yearly Updates

2016 Year in Review

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!