I was inspired to do this by Nathan Barry. I have found his work inspiring because he's able to accomplish so much while also being a husband and father. Just like Nathan's post, this post is written mostly for myself, but thought I'd share it anyways as a peak into my life outside of just design. It's important for people to see more than just Facebook highlights. Let's dive right in.
What Went Well
This has been the first year where going to the gym has remained fairly constant. Naturally there has been a few weeks where I've completely slacked off (particularly during and after vacations), but I have formed a solid habit of exercising regularly. By regularly I don't mean every day like a gym rat, but 3 to 4 times a week.
This isn't new, but it has continued throughout the year. Health is wealth.
I've been able to consistently do yoga every Wednesday evening. I'd enjoy doing it more, but it's a big time commitment when I'm already busy doing a lot for my health.
I started acupuncture this year and go almost every week. I can't speak to the direct benefits as they're hard to quantify, but I can say that I enjoy it. It's a dedicated hour each week for stillness and reflection.
Mental health is equally important. This is a new journey for me that started in March. Again it's difficult to quantify the direct benefits, but I do strongly feel that it has had a positive affect on my life. I'm committed to a minimum of another six months, but could see this being a much more long term commitment in my life.
I went on my very first backpacking trips this year and fell in love with it. Havasupai was one hell of a place to kick off the new hobby. People visit form all over the world it's such a surreal place, and our group of 15 developed a great bond over the 5 days. A handful of us got together again to backpack Aravaipa later. Can't thank Mariah & Mike enough for putting these trips together.
I started collecting camping gear for my trip to Havasupai, and since then I've continued to accumulate gear as needed. It's been a great year for camping and I'm sure it's something I will continue to do to as long as I'm able to. A couple favorite spots this year were the Verde Hot Springs, Mogollon Rim & Sonoita.
Lots of friends got married this year and unfortunately I wasn't able to make it to all of them. Julie & Jordon had a beautiful weekend destination wedding in the desert of 29 Palms. Andre & Doug's wedding in Vegas was a blast. Finally I made it home to stand up in Drew & Kate's wedding in October.
I took an extended vacation home for Drew & Kate's wedding so I was able to spend extra time with the family and meet my new nephew. Kaity, Andrew and I spent the weekend in Traverse City with the parents, and it was great to spend so much time together. We went wine tasting all along the peninsula and walked around the cute downtown area for food and drinks. Of course it was great seeing old friends as well.
- It seemed like I was constantly having visitors coming to visit from out of town. With so many loved ones all around the country it's great to have them come to town. Kaity & Andrew took their first trip to the desert. The parents visited again and we did some traveling around the state including Beatty's Ranch. Adam Barish had a surprise visit for a few days, and Julie spent a weekend here as well and had a popup shop for Julie Ann Art. All of those people stayed at our place, and I also had other great friends stop in town like Chaunna, Grace, Maggie & Piers.
- Find My Train
This year Find My Train reached almost 6000 users (with an average of about 115 people using it every day) and it continues to grow at an increasing rate. We also redesigned the app for iOS7, released an Android version and released a free version with ads for the iPhone. Next year we plan to integrate live GPS to show the trains moving along the map and release a version for the Apple Watch.
- Curated Kitchen
A new project that isn't released yet, but it has been fun to work on so far. Matt, Kirk and I finally found a project to work on together. We'll see how this one goes over the next year.
- Reply Buy
It's been a productive year for ReplyBuy. The most notable news is there has been a lot of success bringing on professional teams to use the software, including two of my favorite teams, the Detroit Lions and Detroit Red Wings.
- Client Work
The three projects above are either personal projects or startups I am a partner in, but I still accepted a decent amount of freelance work. My client work is still my bread and butter for now. Overall it has been a successful year for freelance, even though I didn't land one particular project I was really hoping for.
- Truce technically falls into the work category, but a lot has happened over the past year and the importance of this company to me means it deserves its own section.
- We had a couple of very fun and successful Trade Shows. Most notably the Green Festival & Expo West (the largest natural products expo in the country). We made some great connections, learned a lot about ourselves and our products, and we're very excited to continue doing more shows.
- Sales and profit margins have continued to increase. Our average sale has increased $5 this year over last. This past month we've seen an additional increase of $10 per sale after introducing a new product.
- Design for a new website is almost complete. The current site is a couple years old and we have learned a ton about ourselves and our customers since then, and we have put a lot of effort into communicating that with the new site. If all goes well the new site should launch in the next quarter.
- The past month we've focused more on strategy for the coming year. We've highlighted a few specific areas of potential growth, strategies for new customer acquisition and retention, and new business systems for our B2B customers. Next year is going to be a great year.
What Could Have Gone Better
- Even with all of the years accomplishments, I had too many periods of struggling emotionally. Much of the year I was not very inspired. I felt very distracted, stressed, unmotivated and was not sure where I was heading in life and my career. I have felt an endless gnawing to get out of design, much like the feeling I felt after working in architecture for a few years.
- On the bright side, this lack of contentment inspired me to take action with yoga, meditation and counseling, which I think are beneficial practices even when everything in life seems to be going great.
- My periods of discontent has had quite an impact on me financially. Of course, I'm still able to feed myself and live in an adorable house in Midtown, but I often found myself accepting just enough jobs to get by instead of getting ahead. This down time hasn't been a complete waste, however, as I've explored other interests and spent much more time reading and doing other things that I enjoy.
Worrying What Other People Think
- I have a tendency to be a perfectionist. If I don't think something is my best, it never sees the light of day. I need to become better at failing and putting myself out there. It's important to strive for progress not perfection.
- This is probably the first year since I was two years old that I didn't see my best friend Crayon from back home in Michigan. At the very least we get together every year on my annual trip home, but this year he was away working in Mexico for a month. Next year brother!
- We lost my Grandmother this past September. I was unable to make it home for the funeral on such short notice, but there was an upside to this. My Grandfather was extremely well supported by tons of loving family during this time, and I was able to spend more quality time with him while home after the fact. We had a lot more one-on-one time to catch up including playing golf together and going out to eat several times. He's a big inspiration to me, at 84 having recently published his first book and still consistently going for bikes rides to this day.
Looking Forward to 2015
Aside from being grateful for what I've accomplished this past year, this section is probably the most important. Having written out so much, it's hard to disagree that I have it pretty great. Even while not being at the level I could be financially, I'm still very fortunate to have experienced a lot this year. Naturally there are some areas to improve, and I'm excited to work on those this coming year.
- This will be another great year for us at Truce. The market is catching up as more and more people are realizing the importance of living a toxin-free lifestyle (or as close as we can). We have several more Trade Shows booked as well as new business strategies to implement. We will also be launching an exciting makeover for the website.
- Over the past few weeks I've done a lot of reflecting on where my discontent has come from regarding work. After feeling lost for over a year, I feel I finally have a (little) more clear direction of what I want to accomplish, and I'm excited to explore the possibilities.
- This has been a priority for me over the past year, and I feel it's starting to pay off. I've become more authentic, centered and truthful to who I am, resisting outside pressures to be somebody I'm not. It's a daily practice and it's only going to continue to improve over the next year.
- I'm going to continue with regular exercise, eating healthy, yoga, acupuncture and counseling.
- I'm very excited to continue exploring Arizona and the rest of the country. There will be a couple more backpacking trips and several weekend camping trips.
- If I can make it happen, I think it would be great to work remotely for a month while traveling around the country. At the very least, maybe take a two week road trip up the west coast and back down through some national parks.
- I've been wanting to check out Denver for quite some time, and this year that will finally happen as Jon & Courtney are getting married there. I also hope to spend about a week there and visit with Piers & Maggie as well.
- I should be visiting Austin for the first time this year to see one of my best friends that moved there last year.
- Another family vacation! The entire family (both parents, both sisters, both brothers-in-law and both nephews) will be taking a trip to Cabo in April. In 2013 we took a similar trip to Puerto Vallarta and it was amazing to spend so much time with family in such a beautiful place.
That's it for this post, thanks for taking the time to read what I have to say. Reach me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org