Ending the Trainwreck that was 2020

I think it's probably the world's biggest understatement to say that 2020 did not go the way I had envisioned it to go. And yet, the year has now come to a close.

If I had to come up with one polite word to use for 2020, it would probably be Trainwreck. I feel like that describes this year so perfectly. The year came to an abrupt "oh shit" moment in mid-March when COVID-19 spread across the world like nothing we've seen before. In the late spring and early summer we again faced the reality of social unrest after more murders of black men and women at the hand of the police. And to top it all off, in the fall we dealt with an election like no other took place between a raging, narcissistic, wannabe dictator and a capable, qualified candidate. One wouldn't be blamed at all for forgetting that a lot of other things took place throughout the year.

But I think at this point, I'll look a little closer to home.

What My Year Looked Like

First, I want to say that I am grateful for everything I have. As much as 2020 has sucked, the one thing that it has done is make me realize how much I have. I have a wonderful wife who I love more than anything. Without her, I don't know how I could've made it through some of the darker days of the year. I have my health and a job that allows me to work from home. I know others aren't nearly as fortunate.

My year started out like any other. I had set up 4 basic goals.

  • Diet (the one we're all always working on): You'd think that this one wouldn't be too bad given that I cooked at home a lot more... Sadly, this wasn't the case...being home made it a little too easy to snack on things. Oh well. Given the lousy year, I'm not all that upset about it. I managed to do a lot of other things in my fitness realm. I built a home gym I ended up running 175 days in a row and I topped 800 miles running for the year. Not perfect, but I'm mostly content with what I was able to do fitness-wise all things considered.

  • Finish Digital Family Cookbook: I got so close on this one. For the moment it's code-complete, but I suspect that there's more I need to do to clean it up. I also need to figure out how to package it. Like many side projects, I got side-tracked by other, more-shiny things. I decided I needed to brush up on my .NET skills and learn what .NET Core is all about so I ended up using it to rebuild Where Do You Want to Eat. I ended up having to take it down due to hosting costs (I think I've found a more cost-effective alternative), but I can happily say I finished it. I also started a new side project to replace many of the spreadsheets I use to track my fitness. It's relatively early on in development, but I'm using it as a learning project for building a .NET Core Web API and for teaching myself TypeScript. It's no wonder Digital Family Cookbook is sitting idle...

  • Read More: This one I can say I was able to do. As my reading list shows, I was able to read quite a bit more this year compared to last. My reading mixed both fiction and nonfiction well. As much as I like learning when I read, sometimes it's nice to leave the world of reality into a good story.

  • Write More: This one was mixed. I feel like I wrote more posts, but don't really know. Given everything that went on during the year, sometimes it was just hard to concentrate.

Other Things

One other thing I ended up doing this year was choosing to leave my job for a new opportunity. I'm only a month in, but am happy with where my career is heading.

Looking Forward and Hoping 2021 is Better

I'm not going to be naive and think that 2021 is going to get rid of all the ills of 2020. The Coronavirus is not going to go away January 1st even with the vaccine now being administered. Joe Biden getting inaugurated January 20th isn't going to magically get rid of Trumpism. Fixing racial justice and correcting the structural racism in the world is not going to happen overnight. All of this will take time and effort on the part of everyone. 2020 just seemed to amplify everything.

What I can do, is try to change my mindset and make 2021 feel like a better year.

For 2021, I'm not going to really set any specific goals...more just things I want to work on.

  1. Staying Active: I'd like to say 2021 will be the year I fix my diet, but I think we all know where that is heading... Instead, I'm going to focus on continuing to stay active. I'm going to continue to lift, run, walk & bike. I'm going to try to cut down on the snacking, but the focus will be on getting stronger and moving more.

  2. Improving my Development Knowledge: My work with Digital Family Cookbook, Where Do You Want to Eat 2, and now my fitness tracking side project have all helped with this. I'm going to continue working on my side projects to help improve my capabilities. I know it's only been 1 month at my new job, but I already sense my abilities being pushed (which is a good thing) to help myself grow. I'm also hoping to publish Digital Family Cookbook, but I'm sensing I might rebuild it using .NET Core once my fitness tracker is complete...we shall see...I could find a new shiny-thing by then. The important thing to me is continuing to learn and grow.

  3. Continuing to Read: I don't think much more needs to be said here.

  4. Write More: I say I'm going to do this every year. I have a list of topics I want to write about, but never seem to. I think I'm going to try to get over my "impostor syndrome" and start to write more. I say impostor syndrome because in some of the cases, I feel like part of my reluctance to write, is making myself sound stupid. I'm going to try to push that fear aside and write more, and use any mistakes I happen to make a way to learn and grow.

I think I'll finish up there. This is what I'm hoping to work on in 2021.

For those of you who have experienced loss and suffering this year, I hope 2021 and the future in general is better for you.

Here's to a better 2021. Feel free to reach out to me on Twitter or email if you'd like to chat or connect!