Saul Steinberg's Last Self-Portrait.

Year In Review: 2015

So. 2015.

Ollie’s first full year of life, the year my business did it’s highest levels of growth. Black Wing came out. I stopped exercising. I ate a little better. I drank more, then less. I buried myself in work, then recoiled and buried myself in philosophy, Lovecraft, and comics. I moved offices. I started drinking tea. Both of my brothers got married.
Like all years, some ups and downs. Friends got married. Friends had kids.

To be honest, this year feels like it evaporated – it disappeared on me. I don’t have many sharp memories from it…giving speeches at Will and Andrew’s weddings, going to see Tony Robbins (yes, yes, I know), Ollie seeing the ocean for the first time.

This was a fantastic year – my quality of life rose in a very real, very tangible way, and I was happier than I’d ever been. But those were all quiet, subtle changes; my days were mostly spent at work and at home, taking care of Ollie, cooking with Thao. Nothing stands out, but in a lot of ways, that’s why the year went so well. I was happy, and stable, much of the time. That’s always been elusive for me. The danger is that it can slip by without being properly appreciated.

In terms of goals – well, I don’t know. Let’s review my goals from last year and see how it all went.

1. Maintain my three day work schedule. CHANGED.

I forgot that this was a goal for me last year. I didn’t, in fact, maintain a 3-day schedule; I now work 4 days a week. However, this was a conscious choice that I’m happy with. I still hang out with Ollie all day on Monday, and we’re all together on the weekends. I’m home early enough each night to put him to bed, read to him, etc.

I don’t feel compromised in the way I felt before. This is mostly because the extra day at work allowed me to really and truly separate my home and work; I painstakingly removed anything that would encroach on my attention while I was at home.

All in all, I’m extremely happy with my schedule. I realize it won’t last; there’s another baby on the way at the end of February, so more than likely I’ll be back to three days a week soon. But for now, I’m happy with where I am.

2. Double my take home pay. SUCCESS.

While I’m not 100% sure about these numbers, I feel pretty good about this one. Our bills rose pretty considerably this year, and my income handled that without much incident. The business grew and I did a good job of removing myself from much of the day to day. That allowed me to really work on major avenues of growth, and things went incredibly well.

It’s crazy to think that AdWordsNerds.com didn’t even really exist last year; I started it in earnest after I went to see Tony Robbins in January. Today, AN is 80% of my monthly income.

3.Install pull up bar and do pull ups whenever I leave or enter. FAILED.

I didn’t do this. I actually bought a chin up bar, but it was the wrong kind and wouldn’t fit. I never installed a different one because I ended up switching offices, this time to a place where no realistic place for a pull up bar exists.

Still, I take the stairs up 4 floors each morning, so that’s worth something.

Overall, this was a bad year for me, physically. I stopped exercising entirely, pulled between family and work. I managed my weight and overall health through diet (primarily just skipping breakfast and eating the exact same salad for lunch each day), but I lost a great deal (well, not a great deal) of strength and endurance in the process.

4. Get ollie to sleep through the night. SUCCESS.

Sleep training Ollie completely changed our lives. It was an incredible, overwhelming success – so much so, that I’m anxious about dealing with it all over again with the new baby. We so thoroughly fixed the problem that I cant really recall what things we like before.

Anyway, thank God. Seriously.

5. Eat cleaner during the week – cut out carbs and sugar except for weekend. PARTIAL.

I registered ambiguity about this goal last year, and soon after I came to the conclusion that cutting out carbs entirely was just not something I was interested in.

I struggle with this a lot – with the conflict between my understanding of what my “ideal” self would eat, vs. the way I actually want to live my life. This is the balance between what I want and what I want to want.

In the end, I settled on eating the same salad every day, and that did a lot to further my overall health, especially in light of completely falling off the wagon on exercise. I also sharply cut back on the amount of alcohol I consume, which helped me lose a bit of weight and generally feel better.

Picture of the year.
Picture of the year.

6. Take trip with my brothers; provide a vacation for my family. FAILED.

Well, yes. Sorry, everyone.

My brother-trip didn’t quite work out, partially because of Ollie-related duties and partially because my brothers, being the ones getting married, both had other things to tend to. My recurring goal of getting a lake house for the summer didn’t pan out, either, mostly because I waited too long to try and reserve a place.

I felt sad about missing this one, but I’m not going to beat myself up over it. No one bats a thousand. Still, this is a major life goal for me, and one I’m still dedicated to achieving.

7. Have a completely automated investment system set up and funded. SUCCESS.

I successfully set up and funded a retirement fund for Thao and I. I have paid into it every month, no matter what, and I’m proud of that.

8. Define and finalize the giles corey batch of songs. PARTIAL.

I’m calling this a partial because, no, I didn’t put Giles Corey together. Far from it – the project remains scattered.

However, Tim and I did surprisingly get a HANL EP together, which I’m going to tentatively call “Sea of Worry” here. And it’s awesome.

So, one project stalls a bit, another surges forward. I’m fine with that.

(And the Giles Corey vinyl. That was cool.)

9.Publish the black pyramid. FAILED.

No, sorry. I didn’t get anything done on this. Black Wing came out, though. That was cool.

10. Start and run a podcast; put the Legrand society on a better system. SUCCESS.

We did, in fact, start a Legrand Society podcast. And it’s a good time. We have cool stuff planned for this year as well.

11. Build a brand around my personal coaching. SUCCESS.

Well, I don’t know if I’m building a brand, whatever the hell that means (honestly, the word “brand” makes my eyes roll so hard they practically fall out of my head).

What I did was launch my first-ever small group coaching program, which generated enough cash to make a serious dent in all of our credit card dent…which has been a major goal. I’m more than happy with the progress, and now that most of the hard work is done, I can run the program regularly without much work.

Overall, 2015 was a strong year. Business-wise, it was my best year ever. Ollie was amazing and such a joy. Thao is an amazing wife. I’m comfortable in my skin, and far less stressed.

So, things are good. Always, the takeaway is the same – enjoy what you have while you have it. Try to do better. That’s all there is.