Justin Tadlock

2019 year in review

Hand holding a sparkler.

It has been a whirlwind of a year. Looking back at where I ended 2018 and started 2019, I was not fully prepared for everything that happened.

The big items from 2019 were:

The last three items happened around the same time. September and October were crazy months as I started the new job and was in the first leg of the secret project. At this point, a few months later, I feel like I have settled in.

The secret project is nearing an end. I will be unveiling it in the coming days. My team decided to wait until after the holidays to break the news. So, stay tuned in for that.

How I fared with 2019 goals

I feel pretty good about hitting or partially hitting goals throughout the year. Some of them had to change out of necessity at various points in the year, but that is okay. Life tosses you in new directions from time to time.

The following is the breakdown of my 2019 goals.

Finances

The goal for 2019 was to stop buying so much stuff. For the majority of the year, I spent little money on anything other than necessities.

I also had some financial success this year. The early months were rough. However, Theme Hybrid, picked up sales and revenue mid-year after switching strategies. I didn’t really get to see those changes through. I started a fulltime job in September, which meant a consistent paycheck. That consistency was nice because it meant knowing exactly how to budget each month. The secret project I’ve talked about will put a few dollars in my pocket. I also sold one of my most popular WordPress plugins.

All of these things combined put me in a good position for the upcoming year. I have money put into health savings and retirement. I also have some ready for investment and an emergency fund.

I did go a little overboard late in the year with some fun items, such as a 65” OLED 4K Sony TV, a 4K player, and quite a few movies. But, I don’t foresee too many major purchases (other than a new computer) anytime soon.

More than anything, I squared away a few debts and got ahead on some other bills. Finishing 2019 in a financially-stable position feels good.

Writing

I did not participate in National Novel Writing Month this year. I had been counting down the months since winning NaNoWriMo 2018. Major life changes and projects simply got in the way this year. I’m still not happy about missing it, but I need to move on and make it happen in 2020.

I have been writing this year. Most of it has not been fiction though. I’m going to hold off on this news for just a little longer, but I will share what I have written soon. I am excited about it.

On the whole, I feel like I failed, particularly with regards to moving toward publishing a novel. I’m going to try harder next year. My deepest regret is not completing a novel manuscript this year.

Reading

I had a goal of reading 40 books in 2019. I am currently on number 23. Obviously, I missed my goal. However, the bulk of my reading turned out to be lengthy fantasy novels and dense science fiction. If I had read shorter novels, I may have hit the mark. My pace also slowed during the latter months of the year as I took a new job and began work on the secret project.

It feels good to be wrapping up the year with Brandon Sanderson. My 23rd book is Starsight, the sequel to Skyward, which was one of the books that pushed my out of my reading funk late in 2018. I have come full circle.

I reviewed several books on the blog, but I got off track late in the year. I would like to continue reviewing in 2020.

My 2019 stats from Goodreads:

  • 22 Books
  • 14,529 Pages
  • Shortest Book: The Emperor’s Soul by Brandon Sanderson
  • Longest Book: The Stand by Stephen King
  • Average Length: 660 pages

The big thing for me is that I read something every day of the year. Actually, I’ve read every day since December 3, 2018. Whether it was two hours or 15 minutes, I made sure to make it a daily habit. I do not plan to stop anytime soon. Next year, the plan is to hit a goal of two straight years of daily reading.

Watching less TV

I had some wins and losses toward this goal. I definitely read more in 2019, which cut back on TV time. However, admittedly, I have been watching a lot of TV during my down time in the past few weeks. I have only had the OLED TV for about a month, so I have been enjoying it. 😄

I cut out all paid services early in the year and haven’t looked back. I honestly don’t miss Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube Premium. I have gotten back a bit into collecting physical media and re-watching a lot of my old stuff. It’s nice just to pick something off a shelf of curated content that I have chosen instead of the “recommendations” of mediocre shows from paid services. And, of course, I still have an OTA outdoor antenna, so there is plenty of free content available.

I fared better in 2019 than 2018. However, I could’ve cut back some more in favor of reading.

Gardening

I primarily gardened in the late winter and early spring. The big crop, as always, was potatoes. I grew approximately 600 lbs. (~30 lbs. per bucket with 20 buckets). It was more than enough to last us through the year.

Carrots and onions were mostly a failure with a few minor successes. The big problem is that I interplanted them, which made it hard to weed the bed out. Tomatoes were about average.

The plan was to cut way back on gardening and focus on growing a large calorie-crop like potatoes. So, 2019 was a huge success in terms of my goals.

Other goals

My tidying project kind of stalled as I got into the gardening season. I’m still doing a bit here and there, but I’m way behind.

I only watched my alma mater, Auburn University, play football if the game broadcast over the air. Otherwise, I skipped it. It was still hard to avoid the constant talk about football from others. I do live in smalltown Alabama, and many people’s lives simply revolve around the sport. It’s simply unavoidable.

Bullet journaling didn’t work out for me. I made a good go of it, but I really need a desk. I feel like I would use paper and pen more with a proper desk to write from.

Final thoughts on 2019

I feel good about where I am in most areas of my life. There are some things that need improvement. At the same time, I accomplished a lot in the past year. The goal is to continue learning, growing, and improving myself in all facets of my life. On that front, I am happy with how the year turned out.

The big thing going forward will be recognizing those areas that need improvement and building my goals around them.