Looking back on 2016, and forward to 2017

January 1, 2017

2016 was a rough year. We lost a lot of good people; the loss of Carrie Fisher in particular hit me hard. Politically, the year was disappointing. But 2016 was also a good year for me personally. Doors and eyes opened. 2017 should continue that trend, if I read the signs correctly.

Victories in 2016

I returned to Silver Gryphon Games. While this has not borne fruit yet, it marked a commitment that’s important to me. I lost a lot of weight in the early part of 2016. I followed a paleo diet, practiced parkour, and started to see increased energy levels and a better self image. I learned what it meant to be a manager, but not until later in the year. For the first part of the year, I was a “manager” but didn’t fully understand the difference between a technical lead and a manager. In November, it finally clicked: managers focus on the big picture. Technical leads bridge the gap between big picture and technical execution. That realization gave me new energy and a powerful sense of purpose.

Challenges in 2016

One of the biggest stressors for me in 2016 was personal finances. I moved out of my old apartment earlier than I should have. For two months, I was paying for two apartments. I misjudged my cash flow and missed payments on some things for the first time in over five years. Weight and diet were also challenges. While in the first quarter of the year I lost over thirty pounds, the last quarter of the year saw a slight reversal. I gained back ten of those pounds. My diet changed from paleo-ish to unrestricted. My drinking became even more of a problem in the latter half of the year. For the first time in my life, I had a couple days where I couldn’t remember large chunks of the previous night. It feels like my memory generally has gotten worse, though I don’t have data to support that, or even to suggest that the two are connected.

Goals for the New Year

I’m going to regain my budgetary sense from early 2016 and put significant effort towards paying down debt. This is my primary goal in 2017. I will return to a controlled diet. I’m cutting back on eating out. I love cooking, so this isn’t that difficult for me. It’s going to require paying attention, though. The big difficulty here is going to be work lunches, since I don’t care for sandwiches or microwaved leftovers. Getting my drinking under control is going to be both simple and difficult. In 2016, I drank most often when at home playing video games. Since those two habits are so intertwined, I will need to find a way to sever the connection. In general, I believe I’ll be able to succeed at my goals in 2017. I have great hope for the future.