It’s 2022 today, and Happy New Year to you and yours.
The year past was at a macro level, a bit of a hellscape, but at a micro/personal level, far rosier.
We managed to travel safely - around Indiana, to a relatively secluded beach, a weekend in Chicago, and then NYC/Boston. I switched from Engineering to Product at work. I found a thing I believe in to work on on the side. I started regular therapy.
I enter the new year in a pretty positive place - with goals defined long ago, clear plans to get to those goals, and a new sense of self gained over the last year.
I’m excited - and not afraid to admit that.
With that in mind, here’s some bits I learned along the way in 2021:
- I like hiking - mostly fairly flat stuff for now
- A daily walk is a key part of maintaining my mental health
- Therapy isn’t as scary as I thought
- I can live without Slack - and many other things - on my phone
- Outdoor Research tends to make things I like and that fit me
- Adding a tiny bit of cornstarch to the eggs makes it way harder to overcook scrambled eggs
- I spend entirely too much time on my phone
- Getting a passport is easier than I expected - and feels pretty liberating, too
- Michigan State fans are good people, and their stadium experience is the most cult-like I’ve been to yet
- An Indiana State Park pass is a great value - even if it remains deeply strange that the state charges entrance fees for its parks
- Kentucky University football really likes to pretend the University of Louisville doesn’t exist
- Yuletide is a really great holiday tradition we’ll probably keep up from now on
- Throwing leftover chili, some cheese and whatnot on a baked potato is a surprisingly great lunch
- $1.50/slice pizza from a hole in the wall pizza joint in NYC is miles better than the fancy-ass pizza you get from the Upscale Italian grocery store elsewhere in Manhattan.
- Takeout Chicago-style pizza really needs to be held level on the way home to keep stuff from sliding around and off the pie
- Always have a spare battery, a lightning cable and a way to charge my Apple Watch when traveling - stuff goes dead and I’m toast without
- Walking tours are almost always worth the investment
- The cash you save by staying in the outskirts is outweighed by the time you lose in transit - the costs likely even out anyway
- A late snow - when you get it on early spring greenery - makes for a beautiful scene and hike
- Sous vide makes a beef roast really easy and pretty cost-effective (since you can use a cheaper cut and still get tasty outcomes)
- Backpacking is fun - but difficult to pull off without feeling guilty about leaving my family behind
- Despite years of avoiding it and being a generally scruffy-looking guy, I actually like shaving regularly
- I’m really not much of a beach person
- Or a pool person
- I can make bread!
- I like cooking for other people
- I can make pasta!
- Illinois football doesn’t take itself too seriously - which is fun as a spectator
- Northwestern football - and Ryan Field in particular - feels like a time warp
- Public transportation makes travel way more fun
- Don’t over schedule said travel. You’ll end up buying tickets for things you don’t go to
- Merino wool can be a bit pricey, but being able to pack less stuff makes it worth it
- I feel better about myself if I take just a few minutes each evening to wash my face before bed
- Having a bunch of cheap deli containers around the kitchen are really handy - and space-efficient in the fridge
- A grill basket really makes grilling various veggies way easier
- Homemade barbecue sauce isn’t that difficult to pull off
- I like wearing sandals more than I would have thought
- I can replace the hardware on a dishwasher rack - and it’s way cheaper than a new dishwasher
- Zero drop shoes cause immediate and massive blisters for me
- Having open and honest conversations at work can sometimes get you closer to what you want
- Actually thinking about what you want also gets you closer to what you want
- Prioritizing general things or themes - the big stuff - also helps
- Saying no and turning things off leaves room for some of that stuff you prioritized
- If you’ve prioritized something and it’s still not progressing, maybe rethink your priorities or your approach. Or take smaller bites
- Little things done regularly have compounding value
- After buying many different ones over the years, it’s time to admit that todo apps don’t work for me
- My inner voice thinks I’m probably wrong, but in reality, I’m usually right
- Many things that say they are pest or rodent proof probably aren’t
- There’s a great - and mostly free - electronics recycling place on Shadeland
- Nobody knows what they’re doing - including me
- Everybody is struggling in their own way
- Tomorrow can always be better than yesterday - but it might need a little push (it’s ok to not feel like pushing some days)