2018 Year in Review

2018 was a really weird year. I wrote a book, I got married, I changed jobs. I turned 30. I started seeing a therapist. I felt like I was running nonstop until December 28th... which was pretty exhausting.

My biggest regret of 2018 was not publishing any blog posts. I wish I had more records from the year to catalog my writing and how that affected my life.

My biggest take away was verifying I do love to write. I'm not sure why I've been hesitant to believe this for years. I think mainly because I never felt like I had anything to say. Writing and publishing a book though really changed that. I found myself wanting to sit and write, and despite sales much smaller than Google's competing books, made me feel more confident and capable of expressing myself.

I'm also excited to be married! Melissa and I got married in May, and it's been wonderful. We continued taking trips together this year, and continued living with our wonderful cat, Beasley.

Anyways, enough high level stuff. I am going to try and go through the months of the year now and recount what happened. This years post will be different from past years as I'm not going to do photos for the most part.

If you'd like, you can read past years:

I have no doubt I'll forget things this year, as I broke a lot of my long-standing habits. I'm taking less photos, I'm not checking into Foursquare as much, and a large portion of my music listening isn't recorded into last.fm. But, here we go! #yearinreview


In January, Melissa and I returned from California to a cold New York. I was working at First Look Media, and Melissa was unemployed. I hadn't written anything towards my book since my parents house burned down in October of 2017. As such, I had been avoiding my editor. She sent me a deadline: Either I deliver a chapter in 10 days or the book is done. So I went on a writing spree. From January until early May, I averaged a chapter every 14 days. As such, my life became pretty regimented. Wake up at 6:45, write for an hour. Shower. Get dressed. Go get breakfast. At 9:15, get on train and go to work. The evenings were usually for hanging with Melissa or friends, but I also wrote semi-frequently. I still need to write a blog post on that whole process... it is in my drafts folder somewhere.


Late January and early February had a bunch of wedding planning stuff. We visited restaurants. Made reservations for things. Wandered around Prospect Park and looked for good places to get married. Melissa tried on a billion wedding dresses, and sent me photos.

For my 30th birthday, Melissa took me to this amazing restaurant called Juku in China Town, and it was fabulous. I also took the day off and hung out at my favorite museum, the Whitney.


My brother Travis came and visited for a few days and we hung out in NY. Rohen, Travis and I went to a few fancy bars as a bachelor party for me. Our friend Sam took our Engagement Photos. Her work is amazing, check out her website samanthaleonettiphotography.com.


April was a pretty quiet month apparently. I just wrote and edited chapters. Melissa started a new job at Forward Majority. We were very busy, but mostly keeping our heads down in preparation for May.


IN MAY, WE GOT MARRIED. May 12th to be specific. It was photographed by the wonderful Marissa Mcclain. We had a small event in Prospect Park, and then got dinner at Lafayette, a restaurant in Manhattan. It was beautiful, our good friend Rohen married us, and we took everyone on a walk through the park before the ceremony. Luckily it rained in the morning and then stopped. The crises were small and manageable.

Soon after we flew out to San Francisco and hosted a reception for many of our West Coast friends. It was a good evening hosted by the wonderful Niket Desai. After the reception, we flew up to Seattle as I had started interviewing at other jobs. I then flew to Portland for a conference (Monitorama) and saw Travis (this was actually the first week of June).


We threw another reception for our East Coast friends in June. It was a lot of fun, but by the end of the night, we were ready to be done with everything wedding related. I flew back to SF for my friend Aaron's bachelor party in Tahoe.


In July, Melissa and I went camping in the Catskills, which was wonderful. We're hoping to do much more camping in 2019. We also went and saw the Cursed Child on Broadway, which was absolutely wonderful. We also did a big purge of the apartment, which felt great.


In August, we visited @johannaalbaugh in Fargo, ND. It was a fun trip, baseball, vegan food, and just hanging out with a good friend.

Also in August, I finished my book! Real World SRE was released upon the world! I breathed a big sigh of relief.


In September, Melissa and I flew to Paris for our honeymoon. It was a wonderful week hanging out, eating good food and wandering the city. We then took the train to Aix en Provence for our good friends Aaron and Kristen's wedding. It was a hectic but amazing week in the south of France.

While we were there, I got a job offer to return to Google.


In October, I quit my job at First Look Media. Melissa was heads down getting ready for the election. I flew out to SF for the wedding of @dmpatierno and @lewei. It was fantastic.


In November, we snuggled through the election with Melissa working late into the night. I started my new job at Google. We flew out to Seattle for like 30 hours for a baby shower.

My parents and Travis came to New York for Thanksgiving, where we had a wonderful meal with friends and family. Melissa's favorite holiday is Thanksgiving and she had so much fun cooking for everyone she threatened me whenever I came near the kitchen.

We also traveled to DC for the funeral of our friend Tyrone Gayle. Rest in peace.


We went on two trips in December 2018. The first was to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando, Florida. The second was to California, to see my family for Christmas. Both trips were a blast. But by December 28th when we got back to Brooklyn, we were ready to sleep for days... which we then did.

Melissa left her job in December and has started looking for new research roles in the new year.

And that's it, our whirlwind of a year is over. For all those we saw, it was glad catching up with you and celebrating with you. For all those we missed, I hope we get to see you next year!

2018 Goals

Here were my 2018 Goals... I did ok, but not great.

Improve physical health

  • Do yoga for > 30 minutes two times a week
  • Get in some sort of workout for > 30 minutes three times a week
  • Record all exercise, weight and food. Aim to lose 10% of weight.

I did pretty good recording weight, but otherwise failed across the board in my fitness goals.

Put out content to improve the internet

  • Take in revenue from one side project
  • Maintain a 1.5 post per week average on https://writing.natwelch.com
  • Give two talks to groups larger than 10
  • Finish writing book

I finished the book and took in money from that. I didn't give any talks in 2018. I didn't post on the blog.

Grow my brain

  • Read 75 books

Nope, I read 59 books this year.

  • Go to four art exhibits, live shows or movies a month

Maybe? I didn't keep good track, but I think so.

  • Read one non-fiction book a month

Well, I read six. Not great, but better than I have done in past years!

  • Travel to five cities that are not NY or SF

Yes! DC, Orlando, Paris, Cotignac, Seattle, Fargo, Portland and South Lake Tahoe.

  • Attend four conferences or classes or talks to grow knowledge

I went to three talks, plus attended Monitorama.

Deal with reality

  • Dedicate one day a month to address finances
  • Define what you want to be doing when you’re 40
  • Get married

Got married, and kept up with finances. As for what I want to achieve when I'm 40, I created this list. It's not great, but I think highlights the general big stuff I wanna get done.

By 2028:

  • Own a house
  • Have two kids
  • Start a company
  • Develop a piece of software that 100s of people use every day
  • have a million saved towards retirement
  • write another book

Interesting because owning a company can be at odds with saving towards retirement and growing a family. Not sure how I'll deal with that, or if I just won't meet that goal.

2019 Goals

Improve physical health

  • Get in some sort of workout for > 30 minutes three times a week
  • Record all exercise, weight and food. Aim to lose 10% of weight.
  • Meditate twice a week

Put out content to improve the internet

  • Write 12 technical blog posts
  • Write 12 non-technical blog posts
  • Give at least one public talk
  • Launch two side projects

Grow my brain

  • Read 75 books
  • Go to four art exhibits, live shows or movies a month
  • Read one non-fiction book a month
  • Travel to five cities that are not NY or SF
  • Attend four conferences or classes or talks to grow knowledge

Updated 2019-01-02: Added a few more goals, fixed a May event that was in June.