My 2017 review: What went well and not-so-well

  1. What went well in 2017?
  2. What went not-so-well in 2017?

This is one of those years where everything felt like it ended up in both columns of the pros/cons list.

Here are my answers to the first question:

  • We had a baby. Hands down, that’s the biggest accomplishment of 2017… and also a top three of the decade. ‘Nuff said.
  • We released “Haunted by a Memory” with Hunchback Whale. We also did some Facebook stuff, started a bunch of other social media profiles, and started work on a documentary. Ted and I went to the DIY Musicians Conference together in Nashville.
  • I wrote a new song for the first time in years.
  • My boss started a side company and brought three of us at work along with him. He spent about $50,000 on the first round of inventory. Once we make the money back on that, I’ll be a partner in the company.
  • I made it to another six states, three of which I got to visit with Gage and Meagan and the other three with just Meagan. Meagan and I also got to see Niagara Falls from the New York side. I just have the northwest (eight states) and Hawaii left on my hit list for the states. Another note on this trip: planning this out in advance helped us get more bang for the buck because not only did we enjoy the trip, we also got to enjoy looking forward to it. (I repeated this with the DIY Conference later in the year too.)
  • We continued to expand our cooking skills this year. Among other things, we made egg nog for the first time, we discovered Red Lobster biscuits at Aldi’s, we continued perfecting our crock pot Spaghetti, and Meagan’s pumpkin bread is en pointe.
  • I continued to be an early riser. In the last quarter of 2016, I started adopting the habit of getting up early seven days a week. I kept it up all through 2017 too. There were days here and there were I slept in more than others, but by and large, I continued to get up early and get things done in the morning.
  • We watched Jayden for about three months, starting in December, 2016. This was the longest we had any of the kids from OCA. We learned more in that process than with any of the others.
  • I got to teach twice at church, both within just a few months of each other.
  • I wrote a little more for my book.

And then here’s what didn’t go so well in 2017:

  • Other than our baby, I don’t know that I did a great job with my family.¬†What goals did we accomplish this year? What goals did we even set? What habits did we form? Are they moving us forward or backward… and toward what?
  • Musically, Hunchback Whale didn’t do a whole lot this year. We tried to do some marketing stuff, but we never played out, only released the one song, and didn’t really get much closer to releasing more music than we were at the beginning of the year.
  • Professionally, I still have the same job at the same company, the same position, roughly the same responsibilities, and the same salary I had at the beginning of last year. Four of us at work started a side company, but we haven’t made a profit at it yet. That will hopefully happen by the end of 2018. I don’t have any side hustles going on. Overall, I don’t feel like I developed much in this area this year. (Not that I had any plan to – I never had any clear goals this year other than trying to start selling some products on Amazon, and that never happened.)
  • Financially, I owe more money now than ever before in my life. Don’t assume that means we’re starving or anything. We just have some medical bills and normal, suburban America debt. I also have the least amount in savings since South Korea. Again, no one’s starving, but it concerns me because it seems like the trajectory is pointing the wrong way.
  • I started some experiments without finishing them. The one called “Stay Standing” comes to mind. Remind me, and I’ll follow up on that. Beyond that, what experiments did I even attempt?
  • I don’t know if I finished reading any books this entire year. Instead, I skimmed through a few and listened to a lot of podcasts. Toward the end of the year, I started to realize I’m probably teaching myself to hear without doing anything about it. At least I started to realize it.

Reading over this, I feel both encouraged at how this year went and discouraged at how depressing the second column reads. That’s a common pattern for these year-end reviews. The good part, though, is that when I review like this, the encouragement typically pushes me to come up with a plan to shore up the not-so-well list in the coming year.

And that’s the point of all this. Do more of the stuff that made the first column and less of the stuff that made the second.