Sunrise over Charleston harbor...

2018: Year In Review

January 01, 2019

The new year is upon us, and I’ve been reading a bunch of folks’ incredible retrospectives on their years… this will not be that awesome, but I want to start the practice.

One thing I’ve discovered as I learn about myself is that I typically have a lower opinion of myself and my work than others do… therefore I’m taking time this first week of the year to do things like this post: catalogs of God’s blessings and grateful moments to set my heart rightly as I look into 2019.

It’s a little redundant, because I’m also doing a personal retrospective in my diary, and another in Plan Your Year… oh well.

Goals

Sarah and I did the most of the excellent Plan Your Year last year… it was super helpful and we are going through it right now for 2019. We concluded that this year was mostly centered around settling into our new roles as parents… solidifying disciplines and life patterns. I think by and large we succeeded, and were able to pad our lives with more margin for rest.

I think my word of the year was Focus. I learned a lot and read a lot on the topic, but mostly realized how my focus and discipline has atrophied.

Accomplishments

Sola Deo Gloria

God has been faithful to us this year. We have been largely healthy, happy, and hopeful. All the good things we’ve been posting to our instagram stories are blessings right from Him.

Family

family

We have a one year old! A lot of my time and energy has gone into ensuring her survival… but I have done nothing compared to my incredible and tirelessly kind wife. It’s been really fun learning and growing together. It is hard to imagine life without the little one. She has changed so much in one year, and my love grows with her.

Travel

We traveled a lot this year… mostly good, especially as our daughter has learned to be content in the car.

Lots of fun family memories… maybe this year we will go bigger and go west…

Fitness

workout gear

A lot of the “end of the year” fitness posts I’ve read this year have one thing in common: They all embraced a “set out your workout clothes the previous night” mentality… and my story was no different. The two biggest factors towards my success this year: Tracking in public, and preparation for working out the night before every time.

I tracked nearly every workout in Strava this year… follow me if that’s a tool you use.

I made this a major goal of the year. I am still working on running… almost making it to a goal of an easy 5k twice a week, but not quite. Guess it’ll be this year! I ended up running 42 times for 159.7km in 2018.

I rucked around 40 times this year, mostly 3k or 5k a piece. A couple friends and I did a Goruck Light, which was a highlight. I also did a 5k mud run with the weight.

I’m grateful for rucking because I woke up earlier and went interesting places… I rucked through Washington DC, historic Charleston, waterfalls, beach sunrises… good memories.

I also did a mixture of sandbag workouts… mostly outdoors using the excellent Brute Force app. I think my functional fitness and endurance has increased, just remembering how long it took me to complete a workout in Jan vs the end of the year. I may need to boost the weight in the bag though.

I do miss climbing… not sure what my goals will be this year. I think it’s going to have to be diet.

Faith

With a new little one in the home, my morning routine was in flux for a few months. I did a lot of shallow praying constantly, and from reading my journals I did study and take notes, but I didn’t invest like I ought. I always make a goal every year about scripture memorization that I never follow through on… let’s go 2019!

Work

my desk at work

Work has been fun and scary. I’ve been moving into a 100% UX role from the mixed roles I have had in the past. Spending more time in Sketch.app and notebooks has been rewarding, but I’m also fighting new battles with imposter syndrome.

I haven’t fully retro’d my diary yet, but I do know that I was able to contribute several useful concepts and ideas that are shaping our product… so I do have some work I am proud of.

I am keeping up my code chops with side projects, OSS, and doing code puzzles. I also started blogging/speaking again about stuff I care about. It’d been scary and fun.

Work’s increased demands has caused me to learn more about time ownership and focus… hopefully good lessons. I do think I’m cycling through tools and strategies too fast, I tend to be a tweaker of toys rather than a user of tools. Hmm.

We have a great team, we have a powerful product, and I’m now on five years at the same office. I am grateful.

Photography

We took 18,000+ photos this year into my Lightroom library, including three full wedding shoots, and at least one engagement shoot. Also having a baby will cause you to take pictures.

I also launched a new part of this blog for photography… check it out!

It’s been really fun to watch our photos show up in my friends and family’s timelines at the end of 2018, and to have those memories shared with my wife who has helped me so much with the photography “business” (my favorite shots from a wedding are consistently hers!), although I apparently only posted 9 photos to Instagram all year… a far cry from my “one per weekday” policy I used to follow.

Reading

I didn’t read as many books as I wanted… But I actually read more than I thought!

I started two new habits this year related to reading: One… I started saving links to blogposts I liked so that I could start making linkposts, and also I started taking serious notes on serious books for better reading retention. Highly recommended.

In no particular order:

You and Me Forever by Francis and Lisa Chan

We need to remember at every moment that God stands actively against us when we are prideful (James 4: 6). You may think you are digging your heels in against your spouse, but it’s ultimately God you’re opposing, and you’re inviting His opposition in return.

— Francis Chan

Very convicting and easy to read, highly recommended. We did a book study with some friends on this one, and it was very profitable.

Parenting by Paul David Tripp

Good parenting, which does what God intends it to do, begins with this radical and humbling recognition that our children don’t actually belong to us.

— Paul David Tripp

War of Art by Steven Pressfield

I love to hate on this book, but I’m glad I read it.

I do think it’s worth reading: first as a source of reasonable counsel on work, second as an apologetic exercise in identifying really blatant theology, and third as a conversation piece on the nature of creativity.

There is incredibly good advice on work and creativity in this book, it’s just so sad that he’s so close and so far away. His seemingly boundless optimism about the good in every human soul enables him to encourage people to work for their best life now, but I think he won’t be able to cure cancer or stop wars.

Hole in Our Holiness by Kevin DeYoung

Many people have spoken to me about being ethical, moral, spiritual, or even pious. But nobody seems to want to talk about being righteous.

— Kevin DeYoung

I need to re-read this… I read half of it in the woods while hunting and need to revisit it.

The Annihiliation Trilogy by Jeff Vandermeer

Weird and awesome. SCP Foundation meets Lovecraft in a weirdly Cormac McCarthy-esque middle ground.

Algorithms to Live By by Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths

Really great… I am trying to decide if I would have liked this book as much if I wasn’t already a programmer, but I liked it.

Habits of Grace by David Mathis

I thought at first that I wouldn’t like this book. I thought it’d be too short or foolish. It did challenge me greatly that I don’t put myself in the path of some of the avenues of grace provided to us, notably fasting.

Randomly…

I also read some other parenting books like Moms On Call… and a slew of random sci-fi books I picked up from giveaways and tor.com Some I finished, some I put down because of disagreeable content or being boring.

I’m still working on:

Regrets

I focused on fitness more than faith. It’s been a season of joy and peace, but 1 Cor 10:12 reminds me to be afraid of plateauing.

We were responsible with the resources God gave us, but I stressed out over money more than I should.

I’ve become more and more aware at how poor a leader I am in my family… I abdicate decisions that matter, and push too hard and overwhelm over things that matter too little. At least I know now, and am working to fight my tendencies.

Summary

It’s been a pretty wonderful year… our cameras and phones are filled with sweet memories, work stayed a dull angry buzz and didn’t dominate my home life, I made some things and encouraged some people, and I feel closer to my tiny family and to God. I’m excited about next year!

  • 2019-01-01 20:45:56 -0600

    Remove unneeded paren

  • 2019-01-01 20:37:00 -0600

    Reflect on previous day prep.

  • 2019-01-01 18:20:17 -0600

    Add a purpose statement

  • 2019-01-01 17:24:55 -0600

    Add Year review post