#710
2019: Year in Review

Oh wow. End of a decade. I started writing this sitting looking out on a lake at my parents house, trying to remember the year that was. I finished it a week later, back at my desk in Brooklyn. I have been trying to figure out what I accomplished, what I failed at, and just what happened. I don't think I have a good answer, but this is my yearly post, an attempt to do that. I don't think I'll bother looking back at the decade, but then again, I now have ten years of #yearinreview, so maybe I might in a future post. But let's focus on the hear and now! Let us look back at 2019, the year that was.

2019 was a year of travel. According to Google, I circled the world three times based on mileage. For the first time ever, I reached the highest Marriott status (Ambasador) and the second highest Delta status (Platinum). It's weird how exciting that was to me, note to self: write a post on why this type of gamification works on me...

This was the first full year being back at Google, which was a pretty wild ride (and the reason for most of my travel). I also celebrated my first wedding anniversary with Melissa, attended another wedding, visited my brother in Japan, and spoke a lot. I didn't write much this year though, and I also didn't code as much, which was kind of sad.

I can't believe I've been doing this for ten years. What a ride. If you'd like, you can read past years: 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, and 2010. Below is a summary of each month, and a collage of some photo highlights. You can see more photos, and larger versions in this album.

January


January was a quiet month. I went to Pittsburgh for a week for work, Travis left for Japan, and we chilled and enjoyed the weather.

February


In February, I turned 31! Melissa and I celebrated with our traditional sushi dinner. We then went to a cabin in the catskills with Will and his dog Finn. For work I traveled to Columbus, Ohio and Atlanta, Georgia.

March


I spoke at SRECon in March, but apparently have no photos of the act. I didn't leave New York all month, because I knew April, May and June were going to be very busy.

April


April, the month I made a triangle of North America. I spent a week in San Francisco working at Google Cloud NeXT (a big corporate convention thing). Melissa and I then went to Mexico city for a few days to celebrate the union of @saturnial and @mames. Mexico City is an amazing place. To quote Mel, "I got e coli, and I want to go back to Mexico City, that's how great it is."

May


I wrote heavily about this trip, but after Mexico City, we got home, moved to a new apartment, and then left to visit Travis in Japan. We stayed in Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. You can see my travel posts at writing.natwelch.com/tag/japan.

June


In June, we ended our travel insanity, with a quick trip to Philadelphia to watch @cjlicata and @samleonetti get married. I then think I slept for a week.

July


In July, Melissa ran a half marathon in Sonoma! I acted as support and also a designated driver as I took her and Johanna wine tasting. I also did a work trip to Atlanta.

August


In August, I went to DC for a conference, and Melissa and I spent the weekend there being tourists. At the end of the month, we flew to London!

September


I was in London for a week for work, but Melissa and I spent the weekend exploring the city, or rather me taking her to places I loved from when I lived there. Then, when we got back, we went to Denver for Melissa's birthday. We went to Denver so we could see Jason Isbell perform at Red Rocks, and also visit our friends Ryan and Katie.

October


In October, we cheered on the Washington Nationals. I made work trips to Montreal and Atlanta. Melissa attended a World Series game! Then Mel and I made a trip to Denton, Texas for the funeral of her grandmother.

November


In November, I made a work trip to Austin. Melissa cooked an amazing Thanksgiving dinner for Travis and my parents. We also toured the United Nations, which was a blast!

December


We ended the year with Melissa taking a trip to Moscow. We then went to visit my parents in California and played in the snow. We spent New Years eve in Portland, Maine, and ended the night playing board games.

Goals

Now that we've strolled through the year, let us talk about goals, last years and this years.

2019

  • 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

I failed all of the parts of "Improve physical health"… again. I did pretty well in the other sections though. For the content section:

  • I put out four technical blog posts, and 19 non-technical posts.
  • I spoke at SRECon Americas and Google Cloud Next.
  • I launched reportd in a way that made me happy.

For the brain growth section:

  • I read 68 books out of my 75 book goal.
  • I definitely didn't hit four things a month, but I it's hard for me to be sure, as this year I stopped using Swarm regularly, so don't have a good track of history.
  • I also didn't hit my non-fiction goal.
  • I destroyed my travel goal: Mexico City, Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, London, Atlanta, Columbus, Montreal, Portland, Seattle, Pittsburgh, and probably some I'm forgetting.
  • I only went to three conferences, so missed this goal by one.

2020

  • Improve physical health
    • Run a mile, twice a week.
    • Walk 10,000 steps four times a week.
    • Weigh myself daily.
    • Make breakfast at home, three days a week.
  • Put out content to improve the internet
    • Write 12 technical blog posts.
    • Write 12 non-technical blog posts.
    • Write second book.
    • Launch one side projects.
  • Grow my brain
    • Read 75 books.
    • 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.
  • Deal with reality
    • Erase all debt for both Melissa and myself.
    • Stick to a budget all year.
    • Start saving for a house (with a goal of one third of a down payment saved).

Well that does it! I hope you had a great 2019, and an even better 2020!

/Nat

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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.

Ah yes, 2010. You were a good year. You, like any year, had your ups and your downs, but at the very least you provided me with some good data.

2012 was a fantastic year for Nathaniel Welch. When 2011 ended, I wasn't really sure what I wanted to do with my next year. That being said, wandering aimlessly through the year I managed to have a lot of fun thanks to my friends and family.

Welcome! Thanks for coming to another review of a year in the life of Nat. This time we will be revisiting 2017. I am publishing this a bit later than usual, but January has been kind of wild.