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2016 in Review

Another year gone. I could basically produce a rehash of my “New Year’s Day Message” from last year and it would basically still model my thinking today.

  • I wanted a leaner information diet, which is a resolution that I easily chalked up as a failure back in October– Politics ruined my consumption habits. This year, I am changing my newsfeeds by selectively muting or unfollowing some of the spammier news sources. I’m attempting a sort of ‘barbell’ approach, skimming headlines and enjoy longform content but with less sense of immediacy on either one. I’ve found that the OneTab extension for Chrome is my best friend, because it reduces the anxiety I feel by having a slew of unread browser tabs that drive me to read excessively (which is not as productive as it feels). I think more scheduled and deliberate longform reads should help me get back into writing this year. I’ve learned better than to make promises about writing here, though…
  • My low-hassle approach to investments have been rewarding me so far. At the end of 2015, I set a personal Net Worth goal for the end of 2016, but I blew past it in June(!) and had to re-adjust my end-of-year Net Worth prediction upwards by 30%, which I then surpassed in late December. I recently determined that this year, I’ve invested more money than I have spent on everything else combined. Barring one minor contingency (coming up), I expect to repeat this performance this year. Also, I’m not sure if I’ve promoted this (to, like, all five of you reading this) but Personal Capital (link) is amazing and has drastically changed the way I think about my finances. I’ve been on it since 2015 and now I can’t imagine life without it.
  • There’s still work to be done regarding daily personal habits on basic stuff like eating and exercise. I’ve been exercising regularly, and I think it has improved my energy level throughout the day, but it isn’t terribly intense. I cooked a lot this year to save money, and I have been shifting away from eating pigs and cows regularly, although I am too spoiled to entirely give them up yet. My girlfriend is an ethical vegetarian who has provided some support on this issue, too. Generally, I have been keeping a lot more lists in the past year, sometimes using Trello, Google Calendar, or just notepad to organize my thoughts. At the end of the day, I think community (often ‘virtual community’, in my case- lurking blogs, forums, etc) is the key technology for changing my mind and my habits.
  • I did not go public with most of my tinkering after all. I did wrangle some people into building some fun stuff, but then we largely packed our toys away when the assignment was over. I need to do better about preserving our work. Two good friends and I are thinking about pursuing a potential business venture. That would definitely ruin my investment goals if I went for it, but it’d be a unique adventure to write home about.
  • I’ve been doing implementation-side work with the same client for 12 months. As a consultant who usually does month-long strategy engagements, it has been eye-opening. But no, I don’t think I want to do it again.
  • This past year, I entered a couple of contests, facilitated some workshops, and signed myself up to talk at some smalltime events.  I also officiated a wedding! My girlfriend and I did a little traveling in Europe (Switzerland, France, Monaco). We also spent leisure time in Las Vegas, the Poconos, Chicago, Houston, and my childhood home in Atlanta. This coming year, I expect to vacation in Mumbai for a bit.

My newsfeed is starting to agree with the Archdruid’s belief that civilization is on its way out, but personally life has been good this year (and I maintain that globally, beyond the headlines, last year was the best year on record to be any random human). I want to continue to clarify, simplify, and automate my life because I enjoy the sense of freedom it grants me.

Best of luck this year, or whatever year you’re reading this from.

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