2017: Year in Review

The past year has been ones for the books. I moved to a new state, got married to the love of my life, and traveled overseas for the first time. It is for sure one of the years I’ll remember most as I grow old. I set out with lofty goals for 2017. Along the way, these goals became less and less S.M.A.R.T. as the days passed by. I didn’t accomplish any of them, and that’s okay with me. I failed, and didn’t really learn anything not achieving any of my goals for the year. But as a whole, I’m comfortable saying that I’ve grown more this year than any other year of my life. More than ever, I feel like I have things “figured out”. I might not know the road I’ll take to get there, but I know for certain the direction I want to move in.

2017 Takeaways

Life moves fast, don’t get in it’s way

At the start of the year, Katie and I were set on buying a house back in Michigan. I remember driving by a couple of homes for sale on New Year’s Day. Not even a month later, we’d changed our mind. It wasn’t a small change of heart, either. We did a complete 180 and decided to rent an apartment in a big-ish city, instead of buying a house in a small rural town.

Life moves by so fast. This past year has taught me you really can’t get caught up in this “where do you see yourself in 5 years” mindset. Especially when your young, there’s nothing to keep you from following your dreams. Even if it doesn’t end up working out, you never have to worry about the “what ifs” coming back to haunt you as you grow old. I trust that everything will work out for the best. For now, it’s time to live in the moment and not be so concerned with the distant future.

Leave your comfort zone

Moving to an urban city from an upper-middle class suburb has been quite an eye-opener. I’ve been exposed to things I hadn’t thought of before, mainly homelessness and the opiod crisis. I had very narrow minded views on these topics, but seeing their effects first hand was a huge eye-opener. It’s forced me to do some research and learn that my initial opinion was uninformed. It’s also made me more open to other ideas in general. Something I’ve learned is that you need to constantly evaluate how you see the world, because the world is always changing.

Speaking of “the world”, traveling overseas was a huge challenge this year. Upon arriving, the foreign culture smacked me in the face. Being in a place where you don’t speak the language and really don’t understand how people operate is the most intimidating thing I’ve ever faced in my entire life. I was extremely anxious for the first 24 hours or so, and even after we’d settled in I felt a bit uncomfortable. But once I opened up, I was amazed to see how people on the other side of the planet go about their daily lives. It was fascinating to see how French culture was both so similar yet so very different at the same time. I’m very glad we opted to leave our home for an exciting new place, and I want to do much more traveling than I’d ever anticipated.

Working remotely is life-changing

Not only am I more productive and comfortable during the work day, but I’ve saved days off of my life already. Instead of waking up, geting ready and then driving to work, I have a much more relaxed routine. I never feel like I’m in a rush, which was a huge stressor to me before the switch. It can be lonely at times, and I think a critical component to it being successful is being in-person with the team a handful of times a year, which has been helpful for me so far. All-in-all, my quality of life has increased dramatically with this single switch in my life. I look forward to enjoying this new freedom as my career progresses.

I love cooking

Working from home has definitely enabled me to cook more. Previously, I’d leave work and sit in the car for a 40 minute drive. The last thing I wanted to do when I got home was stand in the kitchen for another hour. But now, I’m able to log off for the day and immediately get to work on dinner. And I even have time to prep stuff ahead of time since I’m always home. I’ve become much more adventurous, and now make most meals from scratch. I noticed that we’re eating out much, much less than before, and I’ve lost about 10 pounds just with this change alone. I eat proper portions, and I know what’s going into the food, too. I’m looking forward to all of my kitchen experiments in 2018.

Moving forward

I’m formulating a new approach to goal setting for the new year. As I said, things change quickly, and I don’t think it’s beneficial to worry about where you’ll be in 12 months time. I know that there are some overarching themes for my goals, so instead of setting larger goals for a while year, I’m going to focus on micro-goals for 6 week periods. Acheiving smaller but more frequent victories should keep me motivated and on-track in the grand scheme of things. I’ll be taking the last week of 2017 to unwind, spend time with my loved ones, and work on figuring out what I want to accomplish in the first 6 weeks of the new year. I expect to have those ready to post here in the first few days of 2018. Until then, I hope you and yours have a very happy holiday season!