2017 - A Year in Review

in Personal

I hate writing personal blog posts.

First, who cares?

Second, it's personal.

But, I think it's important to my mental health to reflect on (and celebrate) my "wins" every once in awhile.

I think all people do what I do: make progress, but never stop to enjoy the progress. The goals always change -- I can never actually reach them.

2015

2017 has been a big year for me. I don't know if this is quantifiable, but it's maybe been the best and worst year of my life. But this post is about wins, so I'm gonna focus on the best.

First, let me explain what my wins were in 2015, which is probably the best year of my life before 2017:

  1. I lined up a job and moved to San Francisco to be with my now ex -- At the time, that was three huge wins wrapped into one.
  2. I quit smoking -- This is probably the best thing I'll ever do for my health.
  3. I discovered the joy and genius that is Kendrick Lamar's music. -- This seems silly. On many levels, this isn't as small potatoes as it seems. But mainly, it's nice to just keep things light some times (which I'm generally bad at).

The reason I needed to write those out is because they represent the three places that I look for progress:

  1. Life (External progress -- career, moving, relationships, etc)
  2. Health (Internal progress -- health and mental health)
  3. Fun (Again, trying to keep life a bit lighter).

If I can be moving the needle on these three things year in and year out, then I'm doing something good.

Back to 2017

Did I move the needle on these three things this year?

  1. Life

    • I don't know if I'll ever have more of a life-changing year in my career. About one year ago today I started taking web-development more seriously. I decided to stop making WordPress themes as a hobby and start learning to make software. Today -- I'm employed!
    • I moved to Portland.
    • I've reconnected with old friends in Portland, and made some new ones.
  2. Health

    • In 2017 I have, without a doubt, done the most work to instill great eating/exercising habits. I can happily say that I'm deathly afraid of junk food, I rarely cheat, and I even have the will power to make good decisions when I'm out with my friends at bars and restaurants.
    • I work out 4 times a week. And enjoy it. I also discovered that doing fun things for fitness is great. As a life long hater or sports, this is great. I don't know that I've found the perfect activity for me yet, but I do know that both Muay Thai and rock climbing have been fun to explore.
  3. Fun

    • I don't know if I've had a fun revelation on the magnitude of Kendrick this year, but I have discovered tons of great music, I've gotten back into reading, and I'm going to cap of 2017 in Denver with some old friends seeing my favorite band 3 nights in row. Not so bad.

Just writing this makes me feel good. As someone who has to compartmentalize everything, I'm glad I can throw 2017 in the 'good' heap.

2017 in Lists

This is one of my favorite things to do at the end of any year. I wish I wasn't so damn nuerotic.

My Favorite Albums of 2017

If I missed anything great, please let me know!

Lorde - Melodrama

  • Favorite song -- Sober II (Melodrama)

  • I've spent at least 20 hours this year thinking of the best way to convince an old music lover why this pop record from a 20 year old is the years best album. If you don't like pop-music, you'll love this album. It's just as dark and mature as any genre. If you love pop-music, you'll love this album. It's a fun and whimsical as any main stream pop. And that's what fantastic about it. Only a old-soul with a young heart like Lorde could make and sell an album that's equally as sad and hopeful, mature yet fun, and dark as this. And the lyrics, while maybe hard to relate to for post-college and party age kids, are still poetic as hell. "Oh, God, I'm closing my teeth around this liquor-wet lime" is just way more clever than what most could come up with.

Conor Oberst - Salutations

  • Favorite Song -- Till St Dymphna Kicks Us Out

  • I don't want to spend much time writing about this, because it's just a full version of 2016's Ruminations. The two combined have by far been my most listened album of the year. This album has sold me on the old 'Conor is the Bob Dylan of our generation' cliche. That statement is asinine no matter who you're talking about, but Conor has certainly reserved his spot in my mind as the top folk singer songerwriter alive today. This album particularly has some of the most painful tracks of his. But this isn't a break up album by any means. This record explores everything that makes us sad: relationships, the state of the world, exestenssial crises...

The Rest of the Bunch

  • Kendrick Lamar - DAMN
  • The National - Sleep Well Beast
  • John Moreland - Big Bad Luv
  • Destroyer - ken
  • The Menzingers - After the Party
  • Ryan Adams - Prisoner
  • Milk Music - Mystic 100s
  • Milky Chance - Blossom
  • Slowdive - s/t
  • Benjamin Booker - Witness
  • Bonoobo - Migration
  • Tyler. The Creator - Flower Boy
  • Vic Mensa - The Autobiography
  • White Reaper - The Worlds Best American Band
  • Preservation Hall Jazz Band - So It Is
  • Portugal the Man - Woodstock
  • Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit -
  • Hurray for the Riff Raff - The Navigator
  • Young Jesus - S/T
  • Converge - The Dusk In Us

My Favorite Podcasts of 2017

  • Hardcore History

    • The best story telling of all time? Possibly. And it's real history, so you learn a lot. Listen to the WWI series and you'll be hooked. By the way, the WWI series is 23 hours long. Longer than a college course and you'll learn more than you would in a college course. And free.
  • Design Details

    • Just some dudes talking to designers in the tech industry. It's a nice way to stay up to date and get familiar with the best out there.
  • The Dollop

    • One comedian takes a really whacky historical event or character and explains it to another comedian who has no clue. It's hilarious and again, you learn some crazy things. I would start at the beginning. The feeling of the podcast has changed since America became fucked. It's not a light anymore. I suggest starting with episode 3.
  • Dear Sugars

    • Exercise your empathy muscle. Learn to love people and realize that we're all in this together and we're all fucked and we're all sad sometimes and happy other times and have ups and downs so we might as well take care of each other.
  • You Made It Weird

    • Pete Holmes interviews other comedians about life. A lot of it is about comedy, but even more than that it's just about navigating life.
  • NPR's Up First

    • I'm just too lazy to actually read the news daily.

Technology in 2017

The programming world seems to moving exponentially faster each year. Here's a few things that have had a big impact on me in the world of computers.

ASIDE: I have an appointment right now as I write this. Instead of putting this in the drafts folder, I'm just going to add the descriptions in later.

  • JavaScript frameworks holy hell.
  • CSS
  • Flutter
  • Gatsby SSG
  • iPhone X UI

The state of the world in 2017 keeps many of us up at night. Remember to take a moment and celebrate the good.

Get More Like This For Free

I'd like to send you a fun way to start your week: the Monday Morning Update. It's an email that takes about 30 seconds to read that'll give you some weekly entertainment: Maybe some new posts from me, the best developer and design happenings around the web that I've found the past week, and maybe a new album or book that I'm diggin'.