2015 Year in Review

I’ve been following a like-minded gentleman named James Clear (@JamesClear) who writes great pieces on productivity and health related topics. I recently read his annual review for 2015 and felt inspired to do the same. Kudos to James for the inspiration. This fits in well with a new drive to have feedback loops in my life in order to better measure progress towards my daily/weekly/yearly/life goals.

So, I can think of no better article to start my blog with and no better time to start it.

For the sake of conserving mental energy, I will be following the same organization schema of James in his post.

  1. The Good
  2. The Bad
  3. 2016 Goals

The Good

Things that went well in 2015

2015 was my favorite year of life [that I can recall] so far. That means there was a lot of good.

I came home. What a blessing. I got off the rollercoaster I was riding in Detroit for the last seven months and came home. Many unmet goals and dreams and thoughts that were left to ponder after that time, and I finally had the time to do it. I didn’t previously have the time to catch my breath after graduating in May. Only a handful of people knew I was back in South Florida, which gave me uninterrupted peace for this.

There was beautiful weather in South Florida for the first three-four months of the year. Cool 60s and 70s, abundant sunshine, and a healthy green landscape made being outside the only thing I needed most days. Thank you mother Earth.

I meditated more times in 2015 than I have in my entire life. I knew that meditation was a fundamental practice I would neglect when I was busy, so I made it a priority to inject it into my morning routine. I can happily report that I made HUGE gains on my meditative ability. I tapped into the euphoria of an open upper chakra and got high on the hardest drug I’ve ever tried. If you’re interested in some meditation tips, tricks, music, and feels, I’ll write about it soon (let me know if you’re interested).

I made a fundamental mindset shift to be grateful daily.

What if you woke up tomorrow only with the things you were grateful for today?

Great fucking quote. My life is changed forever when I became conscious of the need to be grateful and all the things I could be grateful for. I have to say with so much bad, disaster, and stress in the world, I’m grateful that I live in a free country with abundance, and I don’t have to worry about living, eating, water, or love.

I tried ayahuasca. Holy Shit. The very beginning of my year started with an ayahuasca ceremony. This gave me a new/weird perspective on life the rest of the year. An abundant feeling of external perfection is now present in my mind. The Vine of Souls was kind to me, and I am now a grateful, respectful disciple. She showed me we are all one. Don’t sleep on that fact.

I began learning how to program. :)

After struggling with app development for over two years, my business partner, Nick, and I began to learn how to program. We started with edX’s CS50…Intro to Computer Science at Harvard. CS50 started challenging a new aspect of my mind, a logical side that I always crave to expand. I was excited for the ability to create in a new area — products. It also gave me a chance to re-connect with my older brother, whom is a super nerd and kindly helped me with my assignments.

I learned how to set up my own VPS through Linode thanks to the suggestion from a sofitU developer, Mike Bell. I was excited to actually use the command line and feel the power of *R00t.

sofitU. If you know me, then you know sofitU. Because there’s so much to say in regards to sofitU, I decided I’ll make a separate post for it.

My year revolved around my fledgling startup and had its ups and downs, ultimately ending in a down. To the external eye, it may seem like we’re stagnant, yet huge strides were made internally and that’s ‘a good’.

It was a good year for travel. This is a universal goal amongst my generation it seems. I’m glad. I’m happy to report that I did a fair amount of traveling including:

  • Three trips to tallahassee. The first coming after 8 months since graduating. The next for a fraternity alumni weekend honoring the life of our late friend and brother Trent Taylor, and then in the summer to touch base with the sofitU interns and getting ready for a fall launch, which didn’t happen (see: The Bad).
  • A glorious trip to Israel on birthright. I’ve always considered myself agnostic, since my house has always been pretty secular. Now, post-Israel, I’m reciting the full Kiddush on Shabbat instead of just going straight to drinking wine and breaking bread, and I dig that. I saw my extended family in Israel and stayed 6 extra days in the promised land. I decided during my time there I would live some time in Israel in the future, and I look forward to that. Great friendships came out of that trip and I’m grateful for that.
  • A spontaneous trip to Washington D.C. to see what might be one of my favorite bands ever Hiatus Kaiyote. Nai-Palm (lead singer) {fucking} rocks. Such good vibes and pure soulful sounds.
  • A short trip to Melbourne to network with the tech scene there also included {attempted} surfing in Cocoa Beach. Shoutout to Groundswell for helping startup companies in the SpaceCoast region of Florida develop their product and team, while connecting them with investors. It’s interesting to see the differences of different places in Florida. I highly recommend going to the Blueberry Muffin for breakfast on the beach in Melbourne.
  • An unsuspecting trip to San Diego, CA at the end of the year for the NAR Conference. Really great place, that city.
  • A trip to CUBA! Wow that place is {fucking} messed up. Saw my uncle and cousins for the first time. What a blessing. Bless all my family over there in the true struggle.

I made (some) money $. Debt-free money actually came into my life for the first time since college. I got hired for a model-staffing company to do catered events. Ha, me a model? Anything is possible. This was actually a hidden blessing on my path to success, because it showed me a quality of life that I aspire to be able to achieve, even if I won’t indulge in the same way some of the people present at these ultra-posh and bougie events do. I’m grateful for that. But fuck your bellini, herb crusted braised short-rib and leek & potato medley if you’re not going to say thank you when I give it to you.

My web design endeavors had some upside. I spent too much time on this, though (my own novice shortcomings). With some practice, I developed four websites with Bootstrap throughout the year, though only two reached the point of completion: sofitU’s website and faire la fete’s.

And, recently, I got the opportunity to work with a killer startup called Raisal which everyone will be hearing more about in the future.

Twas a good year for friendship. I used to fear losing touch with people whose friendship I value. My circle got a lot smaller in 2015, but I know the friendships I have are with the people that I need in my life.

A year of lifting in a great gym. I didn’t know if Michigan’s hidden gem of a gym, Pointe Fitness, could be replaced (at least not easily). It was the top thing I was sad to let go of when leaving the D. However, a local gym by me has provided the weightlifting temple I was searching for. I’m now a proud member of USI. Beautiful girls at my gym, and I’m not ashamed to admit I’m motivated by that. Go #Weston. Great friends have been made at Ultimate. For me, my past two local gym experiences closes any debate of local vs big box gyms. Gym gains I’m proud to share:

I squatted almost every day for 60 days. Low bar back squat got up to 275. Front squats up to 205 . Sumo deadlifts up to 335. Regular deadlifts to 315. & I can hit the speed bag now. Overall, a great gym year and I believe I’m in the best shape of my entire life.

I read more books in 2015 than any other year of my life. For at least two years, I have known that the key to knowledge is in reading books at leisure. I had this goal in mind for a while and I finally implemented it. This could be the thing I’m most grateful for in 2015 other than being consciously more grateful.

I started the year reading Think & Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. I encourage everyone with an open mind to read that book. If you’re a friend, I will happily send you a copy. This book has encouraged me to think BIG and pursue whatever I want with a burning desire. It’s officially my favorite book.

The next book I read changed the way I communicate with people and how I view myself as a leader. How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie was a gift from a boss in college at a small marketing company, called Nightlife Unleashed, that had been in my possession for 3 years (Thanks, Luke). I recommend it to anyone interested in communicating with people effectively.

Leisure reads included The Martian & My Inventions: The Autobiography of Nikola Tesla. The Martian was a far superior book than it was a cinematic production.

I’ll make a book list and put up the rest at another time.

Almost done….

I realized I dislike most social media. I spent 4 months early in the year without Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, or Twitter on my phone, in an effort to focus on being productive more. Interesting experiment. I found I did other unproductive things, but that social media time was dragging me down considerably more. Recently, I re-deleted instagram, cause {fuck} Facebook and the like-seeking culture. I bring it back for a day or two at a time. I would be remiss to not admit I miss some accounts like Devin Brugman’s and seeing what good friends are up to.

Recently, I deactivated my Facebook. Reactivation is set for June 2016, but I wonder if there will even be a point to doing so. Facebook {fucking} sucks.

Stellar year for MUSIC. My Spotify is beefed up. A deserving shoutout to actual good live music in South Florida courtesy of a forward thinking group of soulful jazz cats that put together a local music collective, called Floridian Love, at different venues in Miami. I mentioned earlier I made it out to see Haitus Kaiyote while they toured in the U.S.. Discovery is courtesy of Spotify and HK’s overly aggressive, yet intriguing album artwork for Choose Your Weapon.

Thanks for reading all about ‘The Good’ this year. I know that was a lot, and if you read through it all, well, thank you. I leave you with my favorite album of the year.

2. The Bad

Things that could have gone better in 2015

Life is never without the bad, just as yin is never without her yang. The only thing I don’t dig, is not avoiding things I know I could have. I still have some internal work to do, it seems.

2015 was the year of naps. I don’t think I’ve ever taken more naps in my life. I was tired for no reason. Since I didn’t have a set daily schedule, I found myself over-sleeping (which I found led to more naps). I would too often go back into my office to grind out and find myself snoozing into a mid-afternoon slumber. I’ll partly blame the lethargic feeling from a full belly. I noticed that sometimes, a full-body stretch on the bed turned into a quick (or not) nap. I had three enemies:

  • Getting stuck on work
  • A full belly
  • Full-body stretches after grinding out work at the desk (blaming a suboptimal chair here)

Lots of caffeine. I drank more caffeine than I ever have, not good. Now I feel slightly dependent. It also doesn’t seem like I’m stopping anytime soon.

Income-sistent. I made very little net income. I mentioned I spent a lot more time building websites than I should have, so I ended up not netting much from that (a tradeoff for experience). As I near parental independence, my bills have significantly increased. Enter credit cards. I never felt squeezed, but I am disappointed by a lack of saving. I hope to not to be misunderstood…being someone committed to an entrepreneurial life, I have accepted a lack of income security.

I missed romance. I had very sporadic periods of female affection. I made minimal efforts to court ladies and was fruitless in my half-assed endeavors. My focus on work and learning took away from a natural instinct that’s actually holding me back from achieving my goals, I believe.

Programming failures. I was inconsistent with my web development learning. I didn’t finish CS50 and now I have to start over. That is a huge failure.

sofitU had its downs. I’ll admit I intended for this year to be a rebuilding year, but it lacked in building at times. We didn’t have the summer or fall launch we wanted to. The app hasn’t progressed in it’s physical form other than I finally have a working build of a crummy beta in Xcode. I lost steam heading into the end of the year. Other work got in the way of objectives, due to its sporadic nature.

This is the really the only thing I care about not going well.

Not the gym gains I wanted. Some inconsistencies led to not many gains. There were leg gains, but barely any upper body gains. I maintained my weight basically the whole year. And right now, I lost my massive squat power from the summer. Sigh.

No foot therapy. This is actually frustrating, because I suffer from chronic foot pain that I haven’t paid serious attention to. This is a systematic failure over many years now and I have slowly been waking up to the fact that my foot issues are not going away on their own.

Thanks for reading about ‘The Bad’. Sometimes, it’s hard to admit things like personal failure. I know I’ve had the thought of danger of putting weaknesses online, but I’m not worried about that anymore.

3. 2016 Goals

Things I’m working towards in 2016

I wont bore everyone with every goal I have (honestly, I think I need to revise my current list to something more manageable). However, I feel there are a few worth being held publicly accountable for.

  1. I will follow the feedback measures I have set up for my areas of focus. That includes journaling my productivity, my workouts, and progress towards any goals.
  2. I will use my time more effectively so that I don’t have to sacrifice sleep. Fewer naps this year!
  3. I will become a better programmer. That starts with finishing CS50. Becoming better at CSS will make me a better front-end developer and learning javascript will get me past some sticking points I faced last year.
  4. I will get sofitU developed and launched in some fashion. Nick and I are resolved to see it succeed…we at least have to really try.
  5. Continue the habits I started last year with an emphasis on reading and meditation.
  6. Save 20% of all my income & start investing in assets.

I’m very pleased that you have chosen to read about my ‘2016 Goals’. Thank you for your interest in the life of a happy space traveler living here on Earth. I’m excited to share and to keep sharing.

I hope your 2016 is incredible.