2016 Recap


5 min read
family
moving
books
music
retrospection

A few months back I outlined my 2017 goals and figured it would be good to touch on some of the highs and lows of the past 12 months.

The biggest thing on the list from this past year is that we moved from Tampa, Florida to Austin, Texas. My wife, myself and our daughter were all born and raised in the Tampa Bay area, so escaping Florida was pretty fucking huge.

Moving your family across the country is a pretty daunting task. So daunting that I feel like it marked the moment in my life where I started to feel like an adult. I’m planning on going big on adulting in 2017.

Work ended up being pretty amazing this year even though we ended up pulling the plug on some of my projects. Another inflection point there as I didn’t get butthurt in the slightest since the decisions to deprecate things were for the betterment of the company and our product. A younger version of Josh would have been a turd about it, for sure.

Speaking of the company that I uprooted my family for, we hit our goal for 2016! The journey to hit our goal was well fought and we still found time to party in Chicago and Mexico. We’ve nearly tripled the team as well. Can’t wait to see what 2017 holds for the Sumo Fam.

So being in a new state and city has meant experiencing new places and as I found out, new hazards on the road. In July last year, as I was driving into the office, I hit a fucking deer. Well technically, the deer hit me, ran right for my car like it had a death wish. Car was still drive-able, but I ended up with PTSD for a couple of months. Powered through though.

Another first in Texas was my daughter’s first concert. Not some Disney pop act that she got to watch from the stands, I’m talking down in the pit. We got to see Balance and Composure, with my buddy [Mark][unbox] and it was amazing.

Mark introduced me to them back in 2015 and incidentally they were one of my top listened to bands that year. Listened to them a lot this year too, but I didn’t really care for their new album.

Fortunately, there was a ton of of other great music that came out this year. Top 3 albums this year for me were Deftones - Gore, Norma Jean - Polar Similar and Blink-182 - California. Incidentally, I was listening to Blink-182 when I hit the deer. Not their fault though ;)

Even though it came out two years ago, I ended up being quite taken with the last The Plot in You album, Happiness in Self Destruction over the last few months. Landon Tewers’ introspective lyrics scratch an itch for me.

Angsty teenage music aside, my most listened to track in 2016 was Eisley’s Smarter which is on my “The Feels” playlist. Opened my eyes to how often I cue up that particular playlist.

Now I’m not a very health and fitness minded person, but the kiddo and I both conquered the 5 minute plank challenge. Also, super proud of the wife for pulling off a 2 minute plank last month and is planning on continuing to do planks this year.

The only other goal I had last year, other than moving, was to read at least 25 books. Two years back the goal was to read 10 books (read 16), so I thought 25 was reasonable. In hindsight, I set the bar too low as I completely destroyed the goal by reading 30 books and listening to 14 audiobooks.

Some nerd data for you, I read 11,053 pages or 30.20 pages per day. Average book length was 368 pages. As for audiobooks, I consumed 158 hours and 51 minutes or 26 minutes per day. Average audiobook length was 11 hours and 21 minutes. The crazy part is that I only started listening to audiobooks in May!

I also set out to read more fiction last year. The breakdown was 66% fiction to 34% non-fiction. The year prior was 76%/24% in favor of non-fiction.

I can’t sing the praises of fiction enough. Something I’ve been telling people is that those non-fiction self-improvement books we read only tell us things that people have already done. But fiction, fiction opens your mind to the possibilities. Anything from growing potatoes on Mars to stepping through to the 5th dimension. Fiction reminds me that anything is possible.

Probably a good time to mention some of my favorite books that I read last year. Top 3 were Dark Matter: A Novel, Lullaby and The Fault in our Stars. The last two weren’t from 2016 though. Honorable mention in the non-fiction department would be Steve Case’s The Third Wave.

While putting together some notes for this post, I came to realize that I didn’t really watch many movies or television shows last year. Did see the Godfather for the first time and was completely blown away by it!

In place of watching television and movies, I put time into my side projects. After being inspired and motivated by Noah’s talk at SumoCon 2016, I pivoted my then free service Holiday API to be a premium service. As Noah had said, “it’s your money, it’s just that other people are holding onto it for you”. Or something like that, paraphrasing here ;)

So all in all it was a pretty great year. We made a lot of great memories and I feel like 2016 was the year of substantial personal growth for me.

So here’s to an even better 2017. Happy New Year!