How do you quantify a whole year? I’ve attempted it before and this one is different because I didn’t set out to achieve anything. The mantra for the year was “No goals, only vibes” and while that’s non-commital, I like to think I operated in this spirit. I wandered aimlessly and found some good vibes to mine.

Some highlights include:

  • 🙁 Started the year in Stage 5 Covid
  • 😃 Paid off our car!
  • 🙁🙁🙁 Witnessed an insurrection
  • 😢 Lost my grandma Joyce
  • 😃 Started a ShopTalk Discord
  • 😃😃😃 Got a new backyard office shed
  • 🥶🥶🥶 Lost power for 75 hours during the Texas Freeze
  • 😃 Spoke on Accessibility Backlogs at axe-con
  • 😢 Lost my aunt Renee
  • 😃 Got vaccinated
  • 😃 Spoke on Web Components at An Event Apart
  • 🙁 Spent a bunch of money getting my camper fixed
  • 😃 Turned 41
  • 😐 Went river camping, but camper broke
  • 😃 Beach camped on a Texas beach
  • 😃😃😃 Rupert family reunion with white water rafting and hiking in Colorado
  • 🙁 Spent a bunch of money getting my car fixed (the one I paid off)
  • 😃 Worked with Open UI on Spicy Sections (aka, tabs)
  • 😃😃 Started playing pickle ball
  • 😃 Kids went back to school
  • 😃😃😃 Building a product called Luro with my compadres at Paravel
  • 😃😃😃 Started making ShopTalk YouTubes with Chris
  • 😃 More camping with friends
  • 😃 Blogtober’d
  • 😢 Lost great grandma Jeanne
  • 🙁🙁🙁 Got skin cancer
  • 🙁🙁🙁 Got Mohs surgery
  • 😐 Healed
  • 😢 Lost great grandpa Ed
  • 😵‍💫😵‍💫 Drove across America (twice)
  • 😃😃😃 Saw my family for the holidays
  • 😐 Ending the year in Stage 4 Covid

… and those are more or less the emotional beats in my story of last year. It’s been a year. Ups and downs. A big change for me and for this blog was that I documented it all in my monthly Vibe Checks. That was successful and enjoyable so I plan on continuing those. They’re great to look back on and for rounding up miscellaneous thoughts.

Getting diagnosed with skin cancer and having it removed with Mohs surgery was a big emotional part of the year. I describe it as “ambient stress”, a whiny noise in the background that you try not to pay attention but is affecting your mood. I’m a post-processor so I’m sure it’ll be a bit before that all sinks in. But the general health of my personhood is at the forefront of my mind.

Books and social media

I picked up 40 books this year, down from ~80 last year. A lot of the books and facts in similar genres started repeating themselves. I may have exhausted some of the self-help and popular science genres, it’s all rehashed Malcom Gladwell at some point. Losing steam, I paused on audiobooks and plowed thru podcast arcs instead. Those are fun and immersive. I think next year I’m going to try more paper books and sci-fi.

Media-wise, I broke up with Twitter and deleted it from my phone and iPad. Had a fling with TikTok but that too felt like wasting time. Now my phone is boring. I spent a good amount of time clearing out RSS and podcatcher feeds were my mainstays towards the end of the year.

Work and health

I worked on some cool projects this year like a Covid response dashboard for the CDC of Africa, I got to collab with the fine folks at Happy Cog which felt like a childhood dream come true, and I even made progress on building a product with Paravel — but I’m exhausted. Professionally fulfilled, but exhausted. Can’t remember a single “slow” week. This sounds dour, but it’s sort of how it works out running and starting your own company. I’m slightly worried about my stamina/burnout going forward, but I’ll keep my hands on the plow and my eyes on the prize.

I’m realizing my health and work impact eachother. I did do some Apple Fitness, I started playing Pickleball, resumed my daily one-mile school drop-off walks; some progress, but it wasn’t enough to stave off back pains, etc. I think to be more effective at work (or even household chores) I need to make fitness a priority. And to make a priority I think that needs to a part of my main priority (work) in some way. The plan is to trick my brain into thinking that fitness is part of my job.

Some goals

Plucking some goals for next year…

  • Make my personal health part of my job
  • Read 40 books, at least 10 paper books and 10 sci-fi books
  • Figure out what truly relaxes me

Yeah. I’m doing goals again. Feel free to ask me about ‘em.