Peach tree with unripe peaches growing.
Growing peaches in the food forest.

I’d be lying if I said today was a great birthday. It may be one I won’t soon forget but for all the wrong reasons. It’ll likely go down as the worst one of my now-40 years after losing my father just a couple of weeks ago.

His is the one phone call I knew I wasn’t getting today.

So, not the best birthday ever.

Not that I care much for celebrating birthdays. Instead, I usually take some time to reflect on the last year. And I’ve done a fair bit of reflecting in the past couple of weeks.

It’s not all doom and gloom here. My life continues on. There are other challenges that I will need to face, both good and not-so-good. And I’ll continue to look ahead and take them on—whatever they may be.

2024 Goal Updates

As I said, it’s been a time of reflection. So, for this birthday post, I thought I’d give a little update on some of the goals I laid out for myself this year.


I’m seven books into my goal of reading 50 books in 2024. It’s fair to say that I’m a little behind where I should be, but that doesn’t worry me one bit. I know that I go through periods where I read voraciously and times when I just read a little. I just haven’t quite hit my stride this year yet.

But I am now well into my sixth year of reading every day and have no plans of stopping.

The book that I am reading on my birthday this year: The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher. He’s an author whose work I’ve had my eye on for a while but have never read. Thus far, I’m really enjoying my first experience with his prose.

Creative Pursuits

So far this year, I have worked on a single painting of Twinkle, my cat who passed away last year. The work has been slow, and I haven’t picked it up lately. But I still feel like I will finish it, even if I paint nothing else this year.

I’m also steadily working on a personal WordPress theme project. I aim to release it to the general public within the next few months. It’s been a labor of love so far (well more than a year of work), and I’m generally happy with the progress.

Learning Spanish

Today was my 136th day straight of working through a Spanish lesson. At this point, it’s become a habit. I don’t know if I feel much closer to having an actual conversation in Spanish, but I have noticed that my listening skills have improved. I’m now more easily picking out words and processing them much faster than just a few months ago.

Personal Finance

My personal finance journey continues on schedule for the most part. I’m roughly $2,000 and half a month away from paying off my final student loan. That’s just a few more weeks of sacrifice before I’m debt-free other than a zero-interest loan and my mortgage. 🎉

I also passed a $200K net worth in January and am shooting for the next milestone. I still have a lot of catching up to do, but I feel like I’m on the right trajectory.

Garden and Food Forest

In early March, my dad told me to not get overloaded after buying four additional fruit trees. That text conversation has stuck with me. My response was:

I won’t. I’ve just been thinking to myself lately: why wait to accomplish the things I want to do with the fruit orchard? There’s no better time to do it than today and while I’m able.

That’s felt like my journey with the garden and food forest this year. Why wait to build my own little paradise while I’m still here on this tiny little planet in the cosmos? Tomorrow isn’t a sure thing.

For perennial trees and bushes, I may have went a little wild this year and planted:

  • 4 Tifblue blueberry bushes
  • 3 Legacy #5 blueberry bushes
  • 2 Fuyagaki persimmon trees
  • 2 Sun Red nectarine trees
  • 2 Moonpark apricot trees
  • 1 D’Anjou pear tree
  • 1 Bartlett pear tree
  • 2 Cot-N-Candy aprium trees
  • 1 Red Haven peach tree
  • 1 Santa Rosa plum tree
  • 2 Pawpaw trees

The last thing my dad helped me repair was my garden tiller, so my kitchen garden is now full of beans, peas, tomatoes, lettuce, cabbage, peppers, zucchini, and cucumber plants. So far, at least.

Thanks, Dad. I can only hope that you’re out there walking some garden in your own little paradise.

Previous years: 39, 38, 37, 36, 35