Category: Year in Review

2019: A Year in Review

So 2019 has come to a close, and now it’s time to reflect back on the year (with its ups and downs, hills and valleys).

This was the year that I decided that I needed to do some type of major shakeup career wise—this wasn’t to say that I was totally unhappy with my job—something needed to change though. I had decided that I would hopefully either transition into an industry position, or I would resign my position, take some time off to re-center myself and then refocus on my job search. I ended up going with option number two—my “reboot break” started shortly after the Thanksgiving holiday.

I’ve realized over the past few months that I’ve more or less been in a “coasting” mode for the past couple of years—never really thinking of where I want to be in five or ten years, just focusing on trying to get through the day and the week to the weekend. It’s hard to figure out the next direction to go in, when you’re stuck in the weeds with nothing but a slightly broken oar to propel yourself—you don’t get very far.

I’ve also realized that I’ve been trying to focus on too many different areas at once (health/fitness, finances, moving my career forward, and trying to find time to do crafts to balance things out), that I’m going to try to focus on just two to four areas (health/fitness and moving my career forward are tied for number one, and then it will probably be personal/professional development (tied for number two, and tied into both areas at number one), and then some time for crafts.

This was I can probably set up an monthly calendar easier with just those “three” areas instead of considering them four to five different areas. This should also mean that I have more ideas for blog topics throughout 2020 as well (which is one area that I felt that I didn’t push forward enough throughout the year).

In terms of health and fitness—I’m slowly making my way back to a routine that works for me. I will probably stick with the workouts provided by Beachbody, but figure out the best nutrition plan on my own. I know that I have a major sweet tooth, and instead of depriving myself (and ending up binge eating sweets), I allow myself some sweets and try to balance it out with more fruits and vegetables throughout the day. I’m pretty sure that there will be more posts on nutrition and fitness throughout 2020 as well, as I work to get into the best shape of my life (I’m thinking of some trip later in the year that would require me to be in better physical condition than I am currently).

We also adopted a puppy back in May shortly after mother’s day. My mom decided that it had been long enough since losing her dog, that she was willing to get a puppy. So we adopted a boxer mix, renamed her Rolex and it’s been a crazy ride ever since. Then basically a week before Christmas, I decided that I really wanted a puppy (I know that I will never be able to replace Chewi), so I went with my brother to the animal shelter and adopted a blue heeler/collie/shepherd mix. Now we have a period of adjustment—Rolex is a little jealous of the puppy (mainly the amount of attention that I’m giving him)—but I chose the right name for him—Chaos (since I was getting him right before the holidays—I knew that I was going to be bring chaos into the house). Now, as I start looking forward again on my job search—the position/location will also need to be puppy friendly (nearby parks and so forth).

In terms of personal development I managed to read nineteen different books (though several of them were challenge books—where you pick a topic and try to work on it for a month or so). Several of the books related to finances (mine are okay—which is why I’m able to do the reboot break right now), decluttering (something that I really need to do—both for myself and ease my parents into it as well), and then just some good old fashion self-care (reboot break, and being reminded that I shouldn’t be waiting for others to give me a ‘permission slip’ to live my life). I’m hoping that in 2020, I double the number of books that read in terms of both personal and professional development.

I had gotten back into doing oracle/tarot card readings for a good portion of the year (quit doing them the last few months), and realized yet again my pulling back was due in part to me trying to fit in to molds that I don’t belong (worry about what prospective employers might think if they come across my instagram account). But I was reminded with reading a couple of books last month that I shouldn’t be waiting on a ‘permission slip’ from others—it’s my life and I doubt that I would be wanting to work for any company that doesn’t value everyone’s spirituality.

I had wanted to travel a little during 2019, but those plans never came to fruition—either due to not having enough vacation time earned, the weather (one major “fear” earlier this year was being stranded somewhere due to the weather and losing money since I wouldn’t be working & would have used up all my vacation time), or just not being able to decide where I wanted to go.

Hopefully in 2020 there will be more travel—both for mental health (since I’ve realized it has been over a year since I’ve taken a vacation) and networking/job search/hopeful job interviews, or a combination of the two types.

So while there was some change in 2019—there wasn’t as much as I’d hoped for—but I did manage to plant the seeds for change (namely in quitting my job) to occur in 2020. As we head into a new year and decade I need to remember that for 2020 I’m going to focus on “grow (th)”, “change”, “achievement(s)”, and “success”.

And remember: Progress over perfection. I’m also going to remember to “evaluate the people in [my] life; then promote, demote, or terminate. [I’m] the CEO of my life”.

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2018 in Review

So it is now 2019 (where has 2018 gone?). While I wasn’t upset to see the door close on 2018, I would like to know why time flies faster at certain times and then crawls at others? There were several extremely low points for 2018—we lost three dogs last year (2 to cancer—Spelunkers in February, and then Chewi in October; and we also lost Piranha in October as well [four days before we lost Chewi actually]). So we went from a house with four dogs to a house with one dog (though Arick does visit with his puppy every now and then).

So 2018 was a year of ups and downs (I’ve already mentioned two major downs in the previous paragraph). But what were some of the highlights?

Going to Roswell, the White Sands National Monument, and Carlsbad Caverns National Park in May for a mini vacation. I’d never been to that part of New Mexico before (we’d been through the northern half previously). I loved the whirlwind trip, and I would love to go back and actually sign up for an guided tour of some of the other caverns within the national park (the main large cavern is the easily accessible one), though those tours can take up to five hours (round trip). So that is something to try to add to my bucket list.

I went back to the Boston area in October (actually about a week after losing Chewi) for both a mini vacation and to go to a couple of networking events. I’ve decided that since I want to relocate for my next job (the hopeful transition into industry), I need to show that I’m willing to relocate by going to some local networking events. I enjoyed the day that I took in Salem and walking the Freedom Trail in Boston (though I did it backwards).

Finishing a workout program. Beachbody had released a new program in September (but I bought early access to it at the end of summer), which is called LIIFT4. The program is basically 4 days and alternates between resistance training and HIIT exercises. This was the first program in quite awhile that I managed to actually go from start to finish (usually I’d been giving up within a week or so).

Figuring out what I don’t want to do in terms of my career. I know that it sounds funny that I consider this a highlight—but in truth knowing what you don’t want to do is just as important as knowing what you want to do. I’ve figured out that I really don’t want to be in a position that requires excess amounts of traveling. I know that travel is important for any career—but I don’t want to be traveling basically four or five days out the week. This basically takes out about a quarter of the different types of jobs that one can do with a PhD. I’m hoping that by slowly starting to write science blog posts/pages I can recapture my enjoyment of scientific writing and maybe see about doing some of that on the side.

2018 was a year that I’m happy is over and one that I don’t care to repeat (namely in terms of the low points). There were good things, but the loss of pets will take a good amount of time to get over and hopefully it won’t hurt as much to think about the dogs as we progress through 2019 (and yes I will be making Chewi her memorial collage during the early part of 2019).

If I had to decide on a word for 2019, I will choose the word change. The reason(s) are simple–I want to change (i.e. a new job), and I want to start exploring more (different vacations in other areas of the country/world). So, yes the word for 2019 will be change.

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