2021 Year In Review

As the first year of the decade comes to a close, I can breath a sigh of relief. While 2021 wasn't great, at least this wasn't 2020.

Personally, I had a pretty solid year. As a country and global society, things could've gone much better.

Let's get the global bad out of the way first:

  • The January 6th Insurrection, which will be discussed as one of the lower points in US history for decades
  • Carbon emissions went back up after a slight lull from the pandemic
  • The pandemic remained a pandemic, even after an absurdly effective vaccine was quickly created
  • Seattle had an election that somehow resulted in us electing a Republican who joined the GOP after Trump took it over
  • Dramatic, unseasonable, and deadly weather events happened in every place I've ever lived, including the hottest day ever recorded in Seattle and the coldest day in the last 30 years
  • Breath of the Wild 2 was not released
  • Many other things that kept me awake at night that I've apparently successfully forgotten

But after a year like 2020, I've learned to manage my existential horror so while the world may be literally burning all around me, at least I can enjoy my life and hang on to the sliver of hope that we can turn this train around before we go completely off the rails.

And with that nasty list out of the way, it's time to be positive and do some navel gazing.

Every year since 2015 I've put together a "52 Things" list. I stopped publishing them publicly after a couple years, but I've continued the practice of setting 52 goals across some fairly consistent categories:

  • Personal
  • Health
  • Finances
  • Social
  • Experiences
  • Media
  • Work

In 2021 I finished all of my social goals, all but one of my media and financial goals, and a spattering of others for the remaining categories. All together, I finished 24 of the 52! That's not too bad, and is line with most other years (with the exception of 2020 because COVID blew up my ability to do a lot of things I had planned).

Some highlights from my goals this year are:

  • Finishing 77 books
  • Climbing two V4s at the bouldering gym
  • Making a new friend, even during a pandemic
  • Hitting all of my financial savings goals
  • Getting vaccinated

Outside of goals my year also went really well.

Work was a big part of why 2021 was a good year for me. I really enjoyed settling into my role as a software engineer building websites to display scientific data. I've never been this happy with work before, and I wish I would've gotten out of consulting way before 2020. I'm now getting paid my highest salary ever! It's weird that I got a pay increase for working in the non-profit industry... It's almost like my skill set wasn't valued and I wasn't compensated fairly as a consultant (but that's a post for another day). Working in the non-profit industry has been rewarding, and I have a great team of people I work with every day to build quality, useful software. Plus we have a great work/life balance culture of working hard but calling it quits at the end of the day. While I still don't get to program professionally with the Rust programming language, I do enjoy what I do and that makes life much better.

Outside of work I tried to keep myself as busy as a pandemic would allow. I'm the Dungeon Master for a D&D group with five of my friends, and we had a good six or seven sessions throughout the year. Building a world and seeing others explore it is satisfying, and I like to think that I'm getting better at running games so they stay fun for everyone.

In addition to sitting around a table telling stories, I climbed regularly with a group of friends and while my waistline is not in great shape, I'm climbing at the highest level of my entire life! My goal is to move up another difficulty level in 2022, which will require slimming down a bit so I'm excited for that.

I also reconnected with my ex-wife after three years of space and we got back together, to the immense delight of our dog Kaladin. While there's been some bumps in the road as we get to know each other again, it's going really well so far and being with them makes me happy!

Finally, I got to spend a lot of time with family. Between a two week vacation in the summer and a month at my parents house this winter, I've gotten a lot of face time with immediate and extended family. Living in Seattle means I don't see them as often, since most of my family is in Utah. I'm grateful my profession allows me the flexibility to work from just about anywhere, and long trips to see family will likely be something I do every year from now on!

So yeah, 2021 wasn't too bad. I've got a new batch of goals that I'm excited to work on, and I'm optimistic that I can get more than half finished this year!

Hope you all are as excited for the coming year as I am.

We've got this.

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