A year ago, crossing the street to give people space while I’m running would have seemed weird, but now it’s polite.
What do you think makes someone a Californian?
A spirit of adventure and exploration. I think one thing that drew us out here or keeps us out here is the year-round accessible natural beauty and landscapes — to step out your door and have the mountains in one direction, the ocean in the other direction, and the redwoods in between. There is much to explore any way you turn, any day you choose.
- Marielle V Jakobsons
Via California sun
I haven’t written an annual review post since 2016. This review started out the same as that one, until I remembered to search my blog for a previous post. Just two in a decade.
Previous Reviews: 2016.
The turn of a calendar page isn’t enough to wash away the stain of a terrible year. We’re still in the middle of a global pandemic, and at least in the US we’re not anywhere near it being over. Yet there are reasons to be optimistic. There are vaccines being slowly administered. An end is in sight. The election is over. Now is our chance to rebuild and prepare for the people we want to be when this is all over.
I had a bunch of goals for 2020, and I only achieved one of them, which was to add design as a capability at Reaktiv, my WordPress agency. Yet, that’s more because of how things shifted as the year went on. Just because I didn’t achieve what I set out to do, doesn’t mean that I didn’t do a ton of things in 2020 that I’m proud of.
The year started off so well. We flew to Bali for 2 weeks to celebrate my good friend’s wedding. We had, the best time. It was our first visit since 2012, and we left the kids with family (thanks mom!). It was a really good break and the best wedding we’ve ever attended.
Things started off really slow business-wise. However, we ended up having one of our best quarters ever this year, booked some new flagship clients, didn’t have to lay anyone off, and are in great shape for 2021.
In February, Caroline and I celebrated our half-life anniversary. I have a thing for numbers (and geographical landmarks) and was looking forward to this for awhile. It’s hard to remember what life is like without her. I’m lucky and grateful to be married to my best friend.
I started mountain biking again this year, and biked over 900 miles. There’s a mountain bike park only 10 minutes from me, and I was there 2-3 times a week all year. Some days I’d have the whole place to myself at sunrise. This also led to one of the worst parts of the year, which I’ll mention below. All in all, a positive thing that will continue on past 2020.
Like many people, I started baking bread during the pandemic, as it was a long-time goal of mine. I like to think I’m different because I’m still doing it! I quickly got started with sourdough, and am still making it about once a month. It’s incredibly time consuming and tedious, and it’s much easier to just buy bread, but having to spend 10 hours preparing it to get to eat it, makes it taste a lot better.
In June, we went camping at Zion and then drove to Michigan to visit family. The kids did so well with 30+ hours of driving over 2 days. I’m glad we did this as it ended up being the only time this year that we were able to see them.
What Went Well?
Kind of a weird thing to say went well in 2020, but it did for us! We didn’t take any flights once COVID arrived, but drove all over. We started in Bali (pre-COVID) with just Care and I and then drove back to Michigan and Indiana in June. We drove up the central coast in August to Oceano Dunes and Moñtana de Oro State Park. In September, we took two weeks and drove from CA all the way up to Montana and back, visiting 6 national parks (Grand Canyon, Arches, Grand Teton, Glacier, Yellowstone, and Bryce Canyon). In October we visited my sister in Big Sur and Monterey. While we didn’t take any flights with the kids, we still got to see some amazing things and take advantage of the time while the kids didn’t have to be in school. We had plenty of moments where both L and I needed to be on a call and we were racing over a mountain pass in order to get cell service again.
A couple years ago I gave up completely on woodworking. I enjoy building digital things where you can just erase it and start over if you mess up. Perhaps because I don’t get to build many digital things these days, and instead am focused on building a company, woodworking has made its way back in my life as a way to scratch that itch to build something with my hands. It doesn’t hurt that Caroline never seems to run out of ideas for me to build.
Starting last December, I have built, a climbing wall in Henry’s room, an under-bed storage lego table, a breakfast nook/banquette, a guitar pedalboard, and a white oak kitchen table. The kitchen table was such a challenging project, but extremely rewarding. In the past I’d want to build these with step by step instructions, but this time I enjoyed planning them out myself (with some help from my dad) and designing how each would work.
Also starting last fall, I had spent a full year exercising 3-4 times a week and eating healthy. I was in the best shape of my life this year. When everything shut down, I could still do the things that I wanted to do most, which was hike, bike, and run. Living in Southern California helps, as pretty much any day of the week I can expect to go outside and have nice weather. I had started going to the gym this year to do work on compound lifts that I can’t do at home, and then had to stop that once the gyms closed. However, I have so much fun on the bike and running that I don’t see myself going back.
What Didn’t Go Well?
I almost died
I may write more about this later, but I nearly died of heat exhaustion in August during a mountain bike race. It was dumb, too hot of a day to go riding further than I ever had in an unfamiliar area. I’m incredibly lucky that there was someone there with me to help and that I was able to get to the hospital and back home with no further issues. The whole ordeal really messed me up for a bit and wrecked all the progress I had made in fitness over the year prior. I learned I need to take it easy, when my nature is to continue to try and go further and faster every time I get on the bike.
Little professional growth
Most of my 2021 professional goals are the same they were in 2020, as 2020 felt like progress was put on hold, and instead I was just focused on survival. I spent the first few months of the pandemic in a dark cloud, like I’m sure many people did, and it took a long time to get through that. The rest of the year, even when things were going well, felt like I was catching up. It’s kind of a lost year in terms of growth. I’m looking forward to pushing things further forward this next year.
Looking Ahead to 2021
Having a year like we just did, it’s normal to be excited about the year ahead. I don’t know whether we’ll really get back to anything approaching “normal” in 2021, but also
I’ve always collected notebooks and pens, and then never done anything with them. I’m changing that this year, and writing in notebooks every day. Journaling, taking notes, and planning. I’m hopeful I can keep it up, because I never have in the past, but this time I’m seeing some real benefits from the daily practice. I’m starting a newsletter here and also planning on writing on the site more frequently.
My goals are to run 250 miles and bike 1,000 miles this year. In 2020, I did 200 and 900, and that was really in about 9 months, so these should be achievable. Somehow, I need to fit some strength training in there as well. No more further and faster at all costs for me.
I’m cautiously looking forward to the year ahead. I’m excited about where I’m at, and where I can go in the next year.
This is something we end up having to do frequently at our WordPress agency to give people access to different sites. Going to WordPress.com wants you to create a new blog, but we just need a user account. I found the answer in this forum thread.
When logged out, just go to this URL: https://signup.wordpress.com/signup/?user=1.
“Many people delay taking action because they hope to avoid suffering. They keep searching for a path that won’t involve tradeoffs.
But some form of suffering is always inevitable. The process of taking action is the process of choosing your pain.”