Today’s my birthday. So naturally on milestone days like this, I look back on how everything went in the past year. I like to reflect on where I was, where I thought I’d be, and where I’m currently going. Life is so unpredictable at times. And it sometimes doesn’t make sense. But in order to move forward, it helps to look back from time to time. It let’s us know that we aren’t in total control of our lives. Sure, we can control what we do day in and day out. But as far as other people and their impact on us, we aren’t so in control. So, here’s my lookback on the past year for me and where I think I’m headed for my next rotation around the sun.
This past year was an interesting one. There were some ups and downs that were all expected and unexpected at the same time. Let’s start with the ups. For one, I got to travel a fair amount. Exactly this time last year, I was snowed in at a friend’s mountain house in North Carolina for a long weekend. It was a massive house right in the mountains where there were only a few other houses in the community. There were 7 of us and it was a perfect mix of people. No drama. We all got along perfectly and had a blast. We took turns cooking great dinners and had a bunch of tasty drinks in the evenings while we played various games. During the days we went exploring in the sub-zero snowy temperatures and saw plenty of great views from all over the mountains. I called it one of the best weekends I’ve ever had and would still agree to that statement. Good people, great food, magical drinks, laughs, and mountains. That’s my kind of weekend. As for other trips, I went to Chicago, New York, Maryland, St. Petersburg, Charleston, San Francisco, Dallas, Colorado, Utah, and Las Vegas just to name a few more. These were all great times. Most of these trips I spent with my girlfriend at the time. And towards the end summer, we took a road trip from Denver to Las Vegas and visited several nation parks including Moab, Bryce Canyon, and Zion. We also stayed at Vail for two nights before we hit the national parks. The parks were incredible. Our mornings and afternoons were filled with hiking and adventure, while our evenings were spent driving to the next destination and relaxing at the hotels with a glass or two of wine. It worked out perfectly.
Another up for my in my last year was that I made my first entrepreneurial dollar. That’s right. Although I didn’t start my first side hustle in the last year, I did however start to take it seriously and made my first sale. That first sale is a wonderful feeling. In general, getting paid for something you created out of thin air is an amazing feeling of accomplishment. But that first sale really means a lot. There’s a lot of validation that comes along with that first sale, and it’s the motivating feeling that being an entrepreneur is obtainable. I’ve always had an itch to start my own side business, so to see it become reality was a lovely pleasure. Since then, I’ve made many more sales and have built a fair amount of brand recognition amongst my audience. I’ve grown my brand’s image and social accounts all while performing in my day job. Since then, I’ve began another side hustle that I’m excited about. This new one is more of a passion project of mine. I’m a little nervous but nerves are good. Nerves means that it means something to me, and I have to keep reminding myself to chase this feeling. The nerves are where the growth happens. I’m meeting my first client on Monday and very excited to see what becomes of this. As for my day job, I’ve been making strides to get better. My boss has mentioned that there may be a promotion for me in the near future. Although this conversation was a few months back, I’ve seen hints since then that confirm that this is still in the works. If true, this would be a good thing. Although I don’t see this job in my long term future, I know I will be with my current company for at least one more year. It’d be nice to increase my cash flow as I’m ramping up my loan payments with hopes to get rid of them by the end of 2022. This is a serious goal of mine and won’t be easy. I may have to slow down how much I invest in the market and be even more cautious with my money to accomplish this goal. However, if I can get rid of all my debt in a year then this would be huge for me. It’d really allow me more freedom with my life. It would make it easier to move to another state without worrying about how I’m going to pay off my debt. It’d also make it easier for me to save for a house, which I’d love to buy within the next few years. More cashflow from a promotion would be a wonderful boost that would help me accomplish this goal a little easier.
So yea, I’ve had plenty of ups this last year. Lots of travel and times with friends made the year a good one. Besides that, things went well with work and with my side hustles which I look forward to continuing. Now as we all know, a roller coaster doesn’t just go up. It has to come down at some point. Hopefully not too much and hopefully too sudden, but that’s not always in our control. One of my downs over the past year was my breakup with my girlfriend. Breakups are never easy, and we didn’t expect this to happen. We were together for a little over two years and was by far the healthiest relationship to date for both of us. We even admitted this several times to each other. She brought out the best in me which is the type of relationship that should be treated like gold, whether it’s intimate or friendly. Her family and I also got along wonderfully which was a refreshing feeling, especially since this wasn’t the case with my prior relationship. Furthermore, I was ready to take the next step. She got accepted to a top tier MBA program in California which was always a goal of hers. Not necessarily the California part, but she had worked her butt off in hopes to get into a great school. She looked at schools across the country, but mostly on the East Coast. It so happens that she was accepted into her top choice and one of the best programs in the country. She couldn’t say no. And all I could be was supportive, knowing an important talk was coming in the future. After ample celebration and weeks of digesting, we finally brought it up and discussed what the plan is for us. I made it clear that I was looking for us stay as a couple, and that I was willing to make the move to California to be with here after a year or so. She appreciated my support which led to an emotional and passionate night. I helped her move out to her new home and saw her off as I made my journey back home to the East Coast. One month later, we had a trip booked to go camping in Yosemite National Park, another highlight of my past year. We went with a lot of her new classmates, and it was heaps of fun. However, throughout my visit, this was the first time I sensed something was off. We eventually talked about it and something changed in her mind where she didn’t see us staying together down the line. This was a big shock for me, and I was pretty blindsided since we had this plan for me to move to her in a year or so. But things change. And she had a change of heart. She’s a career girl and sees herself moving potentially all over the country for her work. There was nothing that I could do. When someone’s mind is clearly made up, there’s really nothing that can be done to change it. I just had to accept this new decision, no matter how confused it made me. It wasn’t easy dealing with, but I’ve gone through breakups before, and each time gets a little easier. Since then, I’ve started dating and seeing other girls casually, but it may take some time before I allow myself to put my heart out there again. One of the toughest parts was that we had this plan for me to move to California which won’t be happening anymore obviously. Now I wasn’t exactly stoked to be moving to California to be honest. However, I was looking forward to taking the next step in our relationship. This was not only a next step for our relationship, but it was also a next step for me since I was starting to feel like I needed to make a move as well. I started to look forward to the move and the next part of my own life. Since the breakup, I still feel like I have a gap unfilled. I still feel like I need to make a move and it’s starting to become clearer what my heart wants.
There you have my ups and downs. It’s funny how much more a down can outweigh an up of equal strength. Don’t get me wrong, I was happy throughout the year. But there were certainly some blips along the way. Often time, growth happens in those blips. And since then, I’ve started to even appreciate the tough times I went through. Growth is not a linear progression. It’s a rollercoaster. And sometimes you need to go down before you can go up again. At this time right now, I can say I’m a happy man and have great support around me. And each day I get a clearer idea of what I want out this next year and my life.
Ok, so what’s in store for this next year? Well as I’ve already stated, getting out of debt would be amazing. Other than that, I want to lock in mentally where I want to make a move to in 2023. I have a pretty good idea of what I’m going to decide on. For me to be even more sure, I want to pack this year with lots of long weekend getaways to cool places that are in the running for me to make the move to. For me to move would also mean to leave my job, which I’ve come to terms with. Although it would be tough to do since my current company and role is so great, I think it’s necessary in order to grow as a person and to get more excitement out of life. But I have plenty of time before that tough conversation happens. So far, I have trips booked to St. Petersburg, San Diego, and Detroit, with hopes to have a Nashville trip booked by the end of the month. I need to think about more places that I’d like to visit so I have a vast list of potential homes to choose from.
This past year was a good one. Challenging at times, but overall, one of the best years of my life. It was filled with travel, career progression, and lots and lots of memories. I’m excited to see what the next year of my life has in store for me. This year is all about courage. I’m doing a better job at listening to what my heart is telling me and I’m excited to have the courage to take whatever next step I decide on.