Reflecting on 2017…

Like many of you, I too took some time over the Holiday’s to unwind and reenergize for the New Year.  For me, the best way to go about this is to take some time to reflect on both my accomplishments / failures for the year, along with my aspirations for 2018.  To me, success is about the little things, the small wins, and the big failures. Below are a few of the things that I feel proud of for 2017 along with some things I need to work on for the next year.

What did I accomplish in 2017?

  • Made mead. Over the course of the last year, I have increased my knowledge and experience with making fermented products.  While it is not quite there yet in terms of the flavors I am looking for, I can proudly say that I have produced consumable versions of honey, strawberry and cherry mead (pictured below). The best piece of advice that I have regarding alcohol production is that cleanliness, sanitation, and patients go a long way.  Also, it takes awhile to get the proportions right – something I am still working on.

Mead

  • Smoked a Turkey. I have decided that I will no longer be making a traditional turkey every again.  The beauty pictured below was smoked over the course of 5 hours using hickory wood chips and game out quite beautifully – tender, flavorful, and juicy.  I will say though that I would like to explore some more creative ways to smoke my meat that help to avoid the gaseous flavors that are slightly imparted from a propane smoker.  For my second try and smoking food, I am very satisfied with the outcome. Win!  

Turkey

  • Published an article. Earlier in the year, I was honored to have an opportunity to write an article for the CIO Journal through my company’s sponsorship entitled Fakers vs. Makers.  I really enjoy writing, both personally and professionally, and I hope that further opportunities present themselves to share my thoughts, perspectives, and experiences. Worst case…I will spend a little more time updating my blog.
  • Learned a lot. A little about cloud. A lot about obscure things like malting, collectible wine and spirits, fermentation, distillation, evolution and ancestry, food, and finance.  Did you know that there really isn’t an explanation for why humans do not have a tail? At some point we [humans] formed a coccyx (tail-bone) and it is unclear precisely when that happened. Despite that useless fact, I actually learned a lot about some really cool topics. Things can become boring and stale when I am not learning something new…this year was definitely exciting.
  • Hosted the family. At the ripe old age of 33, I held my first family gathering.  While it may sound trivial, this is kind of a big deal.  I have always been a bit timid to have people over, including friends and family, mostly because I never quite know how everyone will act or interact with one another. I guess the best way to ensure everyone has a good time is to provide good food and a lot of drinks. This formula proved to be successful in 2017!

What do I want to accomplish in 2018?

  • Be present. One of the biggest challenges I often face is trying to be present. It is not fair to the people I care about to be constantly distracted by thoughts, ideas, or work. 2018 offers a fresh start to be more present – both physically and mentally.
  • Listen more. Talk less. Admittedly, I have a habit of seizing moments of silence to pontificate. I also have a habit of not paying full attention and even multi-tasking on things that are generally outside of my capabilities. For 2018, I want to be better at listening, both visually and verbally, and spending more time thinking about my responses instead of impulsively responding. This also means I need to be more patient about letting things run their natural course.
  • Additional sources of income. Throughout the year I have been spending some time reading about rare earth metals and wine / spirits collecting and have accumulated a small portfolio of “investments”.  This is something that I would like to continue to explore further as another source or income.  I may also look to build out a few of my digital properties as a means for creating sustainable income in addition to my “Job”. Independence permitting.
  • Learn how to program. For the last decade I have been squatting on a few web domains that I hope to actually convert into profitable online properties – the only hang up is that I don’t know how to program. I know that I don’t necessarily need to be a master programmer to create a few websites. If I want to them to be great, however; this is certainly something I need to work on.  Following AWS re:Invent, I am definitely inspired and motivated.
  • Travel abroad. I have been watching my frequent flier miles and hotel points accrue for the better part of the last 24 months. Despite all of the political volatility, I want to spend a good amount of time abroad in 2018.  A trip to Asia is certainly in the cards at year end.  I am thinking Hong Kong, Singapore, and possibly Japan or Korea.

Naturally, most of my accomplishments couldn’t have been done without my better half.  So I have to thank my wife Jessica at Eat.Rest.Repeat for putting up with a lot of my nonsense throughout the year.  Here is to a more attentive, present, and adventurous 2018!

 

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