Here it is! Your cliche year in review post that you’re seeing all over the internet right now. Don’t worry – I’m not including my top 10 pictures.

But the thing is, I’m actually not doing it for you. This is a blog post that I’m mostly writing for me, as a way to document my thoughts, keep myself accountable, and to have a way to reflect in the future. So feel free to skip if you want, but you might find something interesting to help you reflect on your own year and think about the future. So without further ado…

2018: The Year of Getting Back Up

2018 hasn’t been my favorite year of all the years in my life. I started the year off dealing with a diagnosis of anxiety and depression, and a feeling like it would never go away and nothing could fix it. It got a little worse with some bad news from a family that’s very close to me, then things got worse at work as my job situation started to completely plummet. The good news is, the whole year wasn’t bad, and things improved by a lot, and I’m thrilled with the place I’m at now, even if it took a really rough start to get there. Here’s a few things I learned.

1) You only have to live life one day at a time.

I can easily get overwhelmed… in fact, I get overwhelmed all the time, by just about anything. My mind has a way of moving a thousand miles an hour, which is sometimes a gift, but it’s also sometimes a curse because you can’t really hit pause or slow it down to 1x speed when your mind starts to play out possible situations of what’s going to happen next. But I like to think I’ve gotten a little better at trying. I still get overwhelmed and my brain gets ahead of me sometimes, but I’ve gotten better at pausing and remembering that I don’t have to have everything figured out right in this moment, I just have to get today figured out and then tomorrow I’ll figure out tomorrow.

2) Sometimes you really just need a good night’s sleep.

I can’t tell you how much less stressful some things seem after you have some sleep. It’s gamechanging. So much so, that I started to do a lot more of it. 2018 was the year of sleep with me averaging about 9 hours of sleep each night (Thanks Auto Sleep app), and to be honest, that’s from the night’s that I remembered to wear my watch and the battery didn’t die in the middle of the night. If i’m being realistic, it’s probably closer to 10 as there were a lot of 11-12 hour nights occurring. Although that’s something I don’t want to bring into 2019 with me, I have found there’s value in sleep and I no longer have the desire to try to cut that down as much as possible. (I used to want to try to figure out how to live off of 4-5 hours a night, and I’m realizing now that’s not going to work.)

3) You think about yourself way more than other people do.

I’m an overthinker, which is another blessing and a curse. Makes me great at somethings… including imagining a million ways that people might be thinking about me after every interaction. I overthink face to face conversations, I overthink text messages, I overthink everything. I’m starting to realize though that I’m probably the only one thinking all the thoughts that go through my mind, and I should give over people some more credit in my head. 🙂

4) It takes a lot of work and a little luck.

Not really much to elaborate on this statement, but I don’t think success in life can be all attributed to just luck or hard work. I think you need some of both, and the proportions might vary by different people. As they say, work hard, stay humble!

5) I have major jealousy issues.

This is something I need to work on because I realize that I have a serious problem with my inability to be content and happy no matter what is happening. I had to get off social media for about 6 months this year because I couldn’t look at anything without wishing my life was different or that I was a different person. In reality, my life is pretty amazing even if it’s not perfect. Another area I haven’t mastered, but I’ve learned it’s an issue for me and something that I’ll keep working on.

6) There is no can and can’t… there’s just priorities.

This was a fun year for me to realize that if I wanted to travel all the time and see my people, then I could totally do that. And I did! It’s funny because I always thought you had to be really rich to travel a lot, but you really don’t – as long as you have good friends who let you crash on their couches, you’re not afraid to fly Frontier and Allegiant, and you’re not scared of a lot of driving. 🙂 It’s not always easy though, and requires some sacrifices and a lot of strategic thinking sometimes to make it all work out. It just comes downn to what you prioritize, because that’s what ends up happening.

Okay cool, so how am I taking what I’ve learned and applying that to next year?

2019: The Year of Preparation and Adventure

My focus in 2019 isn’t to do anything groundbreaking, but to shift my habits and do things to set my future self up for success. My goals all focus around doing things that might not bring an immediate return, but will set me up for the right future. And it’s also going to be about having fun while I do it and seeing everything as an adventure… including wherever I end up moving. (Ask me in a few months if I’m still seeing it as an adventure.)

1) Learning

I’ve always been a learner, but this year I’m taking a more strategic direction. Instead of reading all I can and taking all the courses I can, I’m planning to learn by doing. I’m going to learn how to start a business by starting my own company (Penge), I’m going to learn how to code by building an app, and I’m going to actually take notes and action points from all the books I read instead of just cranking through another 100 books this year. I also want to learn Elasticsearch and Kibana (two products from Elastic, the company I work at), and I’m planning to do so by finding projects that I can apply them to. (This is already in progress so stay tuned for more.) I’m also going to do a better job of making my learning more actionable by sharing my progress with others and documenting it here on my blog.

2) Finances

If you know me, you know personal finance has always been (and is becoming even more of!) a big deal to me. Mostly because I like to nerd out about that stuff, but also because I am really passionate about helping other people with it. My goals for this year are to talk more about money with other people, grow my savings, pay off some of my loans, and develop a passive income channel (like selling online courses/products, affiliate marketing, etc.). I’ll be primarily blogging about this on Penge so hop on over there and join my list if you want regular updates.

3) Relationships

Relationships are super important to me, and this year I want to focus on doing all that I can to love the people around me. I want to keep traveling and seeing my people, and making sure that I never overthink things like “should I text them and remind them I love them?” and instead, just do it. I want to communicate more with people that I haven’t done a great job of keeping in touch with, and I want to grow even closer to Steeben. (That’s my husband. His real name is Stephen, but I like to call him Steeben.) Also, perhaps a weird place to bunch this in but, I want to help my pup get over his anxiety, chill out, and be better with other people. He’s a pretty anxious little guy (get’s that from me I guess) and it makes it really hard for others (or even me and Steeben) to deal with him. He’s only 4 years old so he’s not going anywhere (despite a recent attempt by eating 5% of his bodyweight in chocolate), so I want to help him outgrow this.

4) Health (Mind and Body)

I always set lots of goals here that I never follow through with, so this year I’m gonna be realistic. We’re not going crazy. I want to drink more water… but just 32 ounces a day. I know that sounds like nothing but right now I can’t even do that, so let’s get there and then we’ll grow even more. I also want to be more conscious of what I’m eating. Don’t worry I won’t be doing some crazy diet, but I do want to think through foods that I will stay away from generally and foods that I will try to get more of. I also want to find some sustainable way to workout that takes less than 15 minutes, doesn’t require any equipment or going outside, and that I can stick to 4-5 times a week. Wish me luck there. Mentally, I want to try to get into journaling… I’ve never been much of a journaler but I think it could be good for me, and a friend gave me an idea of how I can use Trello to do that, so I’m excited to try. I also want to focus more on gratitude and every day thinking of something that makes me smile. I plan to spend less time on my phone by incorporating more “airplane mode” time. I want to start with about an hour a day and a day a week and see how that goes, maybe I’ll add more.

For the sake of not overwhleming myself, I’m trying not to add too much on, although the above might seem like a lot. But I find that I actually do better with positive changes when I incorporate several things at once, instead of just a few things. So we’ll see how it works out.

Oh and don’t worry, there’s also a lot of travel included as well. For now you can follow me on my Google Sheet travel tracker, but hopefully by the end of the year, I’ll have something cooler built.

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