2015 Year In Review

I’ve read a lot of year in review posts this January and I’m always intrigued, despite the cliche nature of them. In particular, I enjoy the comparisons bloggers make across multiple years, and the introspection that comes along with that. I often find that keeping a list of things I’ve accomplished is a little bit inspiring, because it’s often a lot more than I remember. Below is a list of activities I enjoyed in 2015, most of which I hope to continue doing in 2016. I’ve never done a post like this before, but there’s no time to start a new tradition like January… right?

Things I Enjoyed in 2015

  • Travel
    • Visited one foreign country, Spain, for two weeks, which was definitely the travel highlight of the year.
    • Visited my family three times in Seattle.
    • Went to two weddings, one in San Diego and one in Idaho. It’s always good to catch up with friends, and weddings provide the perfect venue (not to mention you get away for the weekend). We stayed in an interesting AirBnB in San Diego, and I even survived the wrestling team reunion that was Idaho in one piece.
    • Several weekend trips including a kayaking adventure in the Russian River, a Monterey weekend, Napa wine tasting, camping in Big Sur, and camping in Pinnacles National Park.
  • Writing
    • I managed fourteen blog posts, with eight of those coming since the beginning of November. Mandy and I wrote for thirty minutes a day in November. I was initially unsure how well I would do, but I find that writing helps clarify my mental state of mind. My brain also tends to let go of certain topics after it knows I’ve had it safely transcribed. I want to continue this habit in 2016.
  • Reading
    • I’ve loved reading since fourth grade, and this year I read a lot more than I have since before college. See my previous post if you want more details.
  • Fitness
    • I maxed my squat at 315 and my bench at 205. My legs are the strongest they’ve ever been, and it was nice to get back to lifting again after my extensive traveling in 2014. I would like to keep lifting in 2016, although I’d also like to run more, so we’ll see how it pans out. The bottom line is that I would like to stay strong and fit, I’m not particularly worried about insane numbers.
    • I ran a 5k, much slower than my PR in college,
  • Personal Software Projects
    • AppFaqs. This project contains the best code I’ve ever written, including a wide variety of tests. It’s not commercially viable yet, but I’m glad I programmed a SaaS app from start to finish.
    • Re-launched Postcard Panda, which pulled in $530 in revenue in 2015. I would love to 10x that number in 2016.
    • Launched Quick English Dictionary, specifically for Apple Watch. That app is dead in the water from a traction perspective, but I learned a ton about authoring cocoapods and Apple Watch programming along the way. Checkout my Pearson Dictionary pod if you want something similar for your iOS app. Pearson Dictionary offers free API access, which is also awesome!
    • Launched Reverse Phone Lookup+. I created¬†another cocoapod for this app, and the folks over at EveryoneAPI come highly recommended.
    • I started re-writing Reverse Phone Lookup+ in Swift, and plan on writing about my experiences doing so. Swift still isn’t main stream in terms of production apps, but learning a new programming language always rekindles my interest in engineering.
  • New (or rekindled) Interests
    • Salsa dancing! The first half of 2015 I was going to Salsa dancing classes twice a week with my then roommate Stephan. I stopped going around September, but it reminded me that I enjoy social dancing quite a bit.
    • Motorcycles
    • Tiny Homes
    • Minimalism

What about 2016 goals?

I’m not interested in creating a list of hard, measurable resolutions for 2016, because I don’t want to reduce my life to a bunch of checkmarks and goals. I want to be flexible in my day to day life, while being conscious about the things in my life that are good, and the things that are bad.¬†I will say that my focuses of 2016 will be uncertainty, professional freedom, and adventure.

The last time I experienced a large amount of uncertainty was in 2014 when I quit my job and traveled the world. At the time, it seemed like my world was upended, but 2014 turned out to be a year of intense personal growth for me. I’m scared of growing stagnant and waking up one morning 30 years from now wondering where the time has gone. I’m not suggesting that I’m going to pull the same drastic measures as 2014, but I want to continue to fine tune my life for happiness and growth. Activities in this category will likely include travel and mini adventures, taking calculated risks, as well as continuing to spend time with the people who truly matter to me.

In terms of professional freedom, I’d like to start owning more of the conceptual and creative design of the products I work on. That might take place at my day job, and will also continue to propel my work on personal projects. I’d like to think I’m a team player, but there is also something empowering about having influence over what is deemed important. At some point I’d like to make the leap to running my own small business.

I briefly touched on adventure above, but it’s worth reiterating that it will also be a focus in 2016. Traditionally adventurous things like traveling, owning a motorcycle, and camping definitely fall into this category. I also want to expand this category, to take time in 2016 to continue to refine my lifestyle values. Do I want to live in a tiny house? How can I find a synthesis between the nomad lifestyle I lived for a few months, and traditional ‘American dream’ goals? If adventure continues being important to me, what adjustments can I make to my current life to make that a larger part of my life?

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