Year in Review - 2019

2019 has been one of the most challenging and rewarding years I've experienced in my recent memory. 

January started off with a huge low point when I had to say goodbye to my dog of 13 years, Vader. I got him in college, and he was always a hell raiser. He had extreme separation anxiety and tore up SO many doors, blinds, and crates but boy oh boy did I love him. 

February and March went by with little bumps and the year was chugging along, swimmingly!

April was a milestone month for quite a few reasons:

- I interviewed for the Engineering Director job at Dribbble and got it! I've been a huge Dribbble fan over the years, and being able to join the team here has been such an amazing (and challenging) role. It's pushed me in ways I've always wanted, and it's helped me become a better manager in the long run.

- We tore down our house in Atlanta with the plans to build our forever home. We actually tore the house down on my first day at Dribbble 😅

- I celebrated my first full year of sobriety since I started college in 1999. It's a lot to unpack and perhaps worthy of a lengthier, more personal post at some point. I don't think I'm ready for that just yet.

- We moved into a 1 bedroom apartment with our 2 dogs and 1 cat, which was fun for a while, but slowly lost it's appeal.

May was very tough. We found out my mother-in-law was diagnosed with breast cancer and would need to undergo chemotherapy as well as radiation for the rest of the year into 2020. (She's currently finished up chemo and is visiting us in January!)

All through June-December, the months were filled with stressors from building a house. Multiple times we were called from our work with a text "can you swing by the house, we have a few questions" or "we need you to pick X by tomorrow". 

Anytime I tried to go to my co-working office, I would get settled in, only to get a text asking me to come by the house for some reason or another, which essentially negatively affected me to where I wouldn't want to leave our apartment in fear of needing to run to the house. 

In August, my Aunt (who is very much my mother figure in my life) was diagnosed with Cancer as well, needing to have chemotherapy as well as radiation for the rest of the year. (Update: She is finishing her chemo mid January).

In Closing

I feel when writing about all this, how privileged I must sound. I do realize how fortunate I am to be able to have such a great job and have the ability to build my dream home, but these stressors were the stressors for my 2019. 

Looking back onto the year, there were a few things I wish I would've done to help myself throughout the year:

- Forced myself out of the house to hang out with friends. After going sober, I've found myself a bit lost on what "hanging out" means, and found myself just staying home and not contacting friends.

- Practiced mindfulness more. I've used headspace a bit in the past and it really has helped me maintain my sanity, but I abandoned it and let my stress and anxiety get to me too much.

- Kept my podcast going. When life got crazy, it was the easiest thing to let go, but it was one of the most fun things for me to do. 

For 2020 I have a few goals:

- Keep improving my management style and leadership. I've been having a great time leading the engineers at Dribbble and had forgotten how much I do love mentoring and leading a team.

- Travel again. 2019 kept me at home more than the past 5 years. I like seeing the world and getting out there, it helps refresh me.

- Write more. I'm going to write..something..every week. It may be a short story, a blog post, or even a haiku.
Read more. I've been watching WAY too much TV. I'm hoping to get my podcast back on schedule, or at least share some of my musical thoughts in some sort of cast fashion.