As I’m finally settling down from all the holiday celebrations for a long winter’s nap, it’s time to reflect on 2022.

While I’m lamenting being boring this fall and not going anywhere exotic, it’s simply to counteract the excitement of the previous months. See below.

*Geez, I’m behind writing about that trip. I’ll catch up… someday.

After all that, I really needed to spend Thanksgiving week and also need to spend this seventeen-day holiday vacation right where I am now – home. I know it’s the right decision when the last two weeks of Facebook memories from 2019 spun me a magical tale of a two-week diving trip in Bonaire, and I’m not sad. I want to go to there to do that, and planning on it in 2023, but there’s shit to do here first.

But, I digress. Let’s take a trip in the way back machine to January 2022 and see what progress I’ve made since then on my goals and intentions.

Oh, Dec 31st, 2021 me, the places you’ll go this year!

#1 – Establishing work/life boundaries.

Huge, and successful check. Much of this has come in the last few months and is a result of a long road of hiring and/or training and empowering the right people, but some has also come from letting go a bit. The end result is that I’m able to prioritize other things besides work in my day and not feel utterly behind or guilty about letting someone down or something slide. I’ve got support! Feels good man!

Do I still wake up and look at our daily summary first thing in the morning and check Teams? Often yes. But then I put it down and do 10 minutes of meditation and often follow that up with a workout before I just roll right out of bed and start working. The concept of finishing my day at the end of core hours was laughable this time last year. Now often I can put work away at the end of the normal workday, eat dinner, and do non-work things instead of heading back for my previously regular evening focus session.

I’m incredibly proud and have become protective of this progress. I’m unafraid of hard work, and I certainly expect there to be ebbs and flows, but I shouldn’t consistently have the plate like the one I create at the Jason’s Deli salad bar. Because when the extra broccoli comes around – that plate can’t bear another piece. My current plate can take on some extra broccoli. And I love me some broccoli!

This has done wonders for my attitude and positivity. I’m genuinely happy to get up and do the things I get to do most mornings and I complain about fewer things these days.

Training in the gym so I can do some BANG! and POW! IRL

#2 Be 165 lbs by December 31st 2022

Well, unless I chop off part of an arm, I think I’m going to have to consider this one a miss. However, I’m trending in the right direction, finally. I make progress when I can establish and stick to a routine. Some curve balls are okay once I’m on the right path (hallo Christmas parties!), but there’s a limit to what I can bear before my habits go ‘a whirling off into the ether. Looking back in 2022, I made the best progress in February, June, November, and December. Shocker – those were the months that I wasn’t travelling and could focus on habit, routine, and doin’ the right things.

I will cite some successes here:

  • I have successfully made regular strength training with a trainer a thing this year. The high-180s weight I’m at right now is a vastly different high-180s that I was in summer 2021. My clothes fit better, and I feel sturdier. I definitely feel much less injured. This is a better timeline.
  • I know what is needed to make progress. It takes tracking my food daily, weighing daily, staying at ~1500 calories or under per day, weight training, getting as many steps as I can each day, and doing cardio with some level of intensity more days of the week than not. This is the tried-and-true recipe. It is science, not art. Now I need to continue the practice until I can again run 8-minute miles and smash faces on the bike and don all the clothes I miss wearing and feel good in my own skin. But I remember HOW, which is half the battle.
  • This is the lightest I’ve been all year. There were a few points where I got close but then I let life get in the way, and I’d reverse all my progress and more. Now, I’m three months into consistently good habits, and progress is happening. My current trendweight is 187.7. My average weight the first week I started weighing at the end of October was 192.9. 5 down lbs in 2 months? I’ll happily continue that slow and steady trend.
Sometimes first is indeed worst (if no one else in your AG finishes)

#3 Toe the line of an Ironman Do some races

I gave up on the Ironman very quickly once I realized it wasn’t my passion this year. And I still have no regrets. However, once that big scary goal went away, it highly deprioritized triathlon for me. I still hung on early in the year to limp through the X-50 (1 mile swim, 40-mile bike, and 9-mile run), but I had to keep pushing through injury/imbalance to do it and I came in DFL. And, as they say, DFL is better than DNF, which I also did this year – at Kerrville sprint triathlon due to the same stupid injury that wouldn’t go away. My only other race was Pflugerville, which was just one day after the exercise embargo was lifted after Covid recovery – and I’d honestly say this one went the best since I performed as expected. This was not a banner year for sport, in fact, it’s probably one of the worst in memory.

I hit rock bottom mentally after DNF’ing Kerrville at the end of September. I’m super glad I did though. It made me really realize the bullshit I’ve been perpetuating for the last few years (“hey, I signed up for this race and then effed off and didn’t prepare for it”; also “hey I have this injury, I think I’m just going to ignore rehab and just hope it goes away”) need to staaaaaaahp. I can’t expect my body to output stardust and miracles when I have been feeding it garbage and nonsense.

So instead, I stopped being a super self-sabotaging idiot for the most part and started doing the right things again even though I didn’t feel like I deserved them (crappy thinking but the truth) and guess who’s got two thumbs and running pain-free 5ks again? Oh yeah, that’s me.

What else was on my 2022 goals list?

I’ve been everywhere, man.

General Stuff:

  • Not being afraid to fail in public – I think I’m pretty good at this these days. 🙂 I’m wearing my “Shhh, I’m overthinking” socks right now and they feel like they’re from another era of my life. I’ve realized that I am doing the best I can and that everyone that stood where I stand now was making stuff up as they went along sometimes.
  • Pavlovian relaxation response – I am still looking for the thing that automatically signals “let’s chill the eff out”. I am also looking to make guitar a habit again. Maybe I will work these two goals together to end of the workday with a few songs.
  • Travel plans – yep! Went all the places. Carribean cruise twice, Berlin, Hamburg, Koln, Brussels, Paris, and camping in San Antonio, Denton, Krause Springs, and Kerrville. Probably could have swung a diving trip, and/or a bit more camping this fall, but it was a conscious choice.
Though I haven’t been playing much, at least I have style when I do?

Hobby List:

  • Three new guitar songs – nope. I learned one (Pearl Jam, Black) and part of another (California Dreamin’) but since I’ve been playing less often, I’ve just been playing the songs I know.
  • Painting more – yep! I put some more finished pieces on the wall this year, I painted some minis, and I am working on a project livening up a very-thoughtful-but-definitely-not-my-style gift. I have new paints and canvases and always would love to do more but I’m not going to specifically goal-set with this hobby and instead enjoy picking up a brush when the muse finds me.
  • Fiction writing – this was a big nope until four days ago. Then I got inspired in the middle of the night with how I’d re-arrange and begin the Fork Files and got started the next morning and I’ve been writing for a few hours every day since. I’m about… 10% through a true first draft of what I’d like to make into the first book. Yet more momentum I didn’t expect even a week ago!
  • Photo gallery – also nope. Maybe over break as well but also maybe not. Heh.

It’s been a middling year in terms of hobby goals, but I also decided that I needed to take the pressure off ACHIEVING things in my spare time with work being as it was. I spent a lot of time editing photos and reading books and I have picked up a few games that aren’t Bloodbowl lately. Leisure has been relaxing and pleasurable, and I don’t regret it at all. I have NOT done the thing I hate and spent an inordinate amount of time doom scrolling social media, so I’ll call it an overall win.

Though I got so dang close to winning the championship… twice!

Adulting list:

  • Doctor for checkups – yep! And then I ended up having some minor surgery after which I feel a little bit better in a way I didn’t realize I felt worse before.
  • Investment property – nope. We’re still debating strategy and saving money for it.
  • Fixing the living room floor – also nope. It’s not getting worse, so it’s just going on the future “fix the house” list.

While this isn’t a great showing here, I also did some things NOT on the list. We cleaned out the office and the front guest room and have more projects to do over break. I’m okay with this progress and it has some momentum behind it for next year.

The office has carpet!!! And space to play and work.

And I generally end the year with three words. I don’t have clear winners this time, but I’ll give it a try.

Potential – this is both positive and negative. I see amazing things afoot, but that also means they have not yet been achieved. There are many examples in work, triathlon, health, and life where I’m excited about where I could be going, but not where I am right now. However, there is PROMISE if I stay focused.

Promise – even though I didn’t really complete a lot of my goals, I nailed the most important one (work/life balance). This shows promise that with proper focus, I can make progress on anything else on my list in the future as I have time and space to do so. Many things in my life feel promising right now. Maybe it’s the eternal optimist in me, but I’m feeling very encouraged about my trajectory. That’s a great way to end a year!

Priorities – I am in a situation right now with work and life where I have about 300% of the things I want to do in 100% of the time. This last week of “hobbymas” has been excellent – and has shown me that even without work in the mix, I would more than fill my days with activities I enjoy and not be bored. I’m training a handful of hours a week and I could definitely do more (and would need to, should I want to undertake longer races again). At work, I could dive deeper into a lot of things and cause more problems (in a good way) to solve, and I could easily be back at that 150-200% I was at this time last year. Instead, I’ve done my best to use all the time I have in my day as wisely as possible to have the best mix of work, activity, hobbies, and relaxation.

While each year it takes a few thousand words to get here, I now can sum up my year thusly – I may have taken longer than I’d like to get where I am now, but I like where that is, and like where it promises to go next. That means I’m doing something right.