2017 Retrospective

For years, I’ve followed the same formula of reviewing my past years goals and writing new ones. This year, I figured I’d move to a slightly different format and reflect on the past year as a whole instead of just reviewing goal failure.

2016 hit both Fin and me hard – not really much to say about ending that year except we both have been dealing with some serious depression. The holidays and new years were just not the same. We struggled to find a new normal.

I started off 2017 fairly active with a return to martial arts and the gym. That lasted fairly well until early Summer. Gym motivation I’ve always found difficult. I don’t have an intense interest in it and have difficulty staying focused and finding goals. The martial arts? It suffered from a lack of adult students at the school I was at. Lame excuses for both – the reality is I stopped mostly due to depression and adjusted by throwing myself a bit more into work at the office.

Depression is a big angry monster that will eat families alive if you’re not careful – and sometimes, even if you are.

In May, Fin and I hit a huge milestone and finished paying off the enormous amount of credit card debt that I brought into the marriage. At present, all the cards  have remained paid off with the exception of one that we’ve been using and paying off every month before interest starts accumulating – keeping a small rotating balance seems to up the credit score a few points.

Being in a better financial situation, we’ve now started to take more active steps toward moving. We’ve been pushing a lot more into savings for a down payment, and Fin started a part-time job.

Prior to the holidays, I managed to make some large strides in getting the house more presentable / sellable. Unfortunately, the holiday season (starting with the 2017 Haunted Houses) really killed much progress there. I’ve been trying to get back in that game, but Winter time has a lot of weekend activities that sap most of my reserve energy.

I decided to actually put some energy into opening some new doors, and signed up for a graduate program. Starting in January, I’ve enrolled in a Master’s Degree program at Georgia Tech. I’m looking forward to challenging myself and learning some new tricks. I’ve been working through the various Math classes at Kahn Academy, trying to get my Math skills back up to those expected in a graduate program. I’ve forgotten a lot recently.

I can’t help but keep score for my last year’s goals:

I did not finish paying off my student loans, but did pay off all the credit cards. This was a decision to change the plan versus a failure. Success.

I did do some research into the HAM radio license. This has been more a lack of time lining up with getting tested than anything else. Fail.

My piano playing has been behind – largely due to depression and frustration with my slowly degrading piano. Fail.

I advanced fairly far at the new martial arts studio before the lack of fit between routine and myself became an issue. Mixed.

I’ve not managed any of the server customizations I’d planed for this year. Fail.

I’ve been working through multiple online classes and have completed a good deal of content. Success.

We’ve made a start on some things for the move on the house and improvement – but the past few months haven’t seen much progress and there’s large issues and small issues that haven’t been addressed yet. Mixed.

Fin and I did the usual family camp trip, but we didn’t make any real vacation time for ourselves. Mixed.

I’ve made a small effort to reach out to some new areas of the city – including visiting some areas. Still, I don’t think I met the goal as described. Mixed.

I’ve been far more regular in meetup attendance and active within the group. Still room to grow here, but… Success.

Total Score for 2017 – 3 successes, 4 mixed results, and 3 fails.

I think the theme for this year was attempting to rebuild and lay foundations for a new normal. I’m not sure we did nearly as much as we could have, but I do think we at least got a few solid starts.