Another Year In Review - 2020

Rovani in C♯

Another year has come and gone, and it’s another year with lofty goals that fell well short of what I had hoped. This seems to be a common theme at the end of each calendar. There’s probably a lesson to be learned there, though I doubt I’ll carry that into the new year. I have already started thinking about what I want to accomplish in 2021, which makes it tough to look back and see what this last year was. I have found, though, that these posts have become a journal of sorts. I occasionally go back and reread my chronicles from years past, just to remind myself of what it was like. Perhaps sometime in the future, my kids will read through this and see what happened while they were growing up.

Starting the Year With S.M.A.R.T. Goals

For 2020, I thought I would start the year with some solid goals that I would publicly announce in hopes that it would help hold me to account. What an easy way to review the year than to go through the goals.

  1. Write more - I tweeted more than in 2019, but I’m not confident that I added any extra thought value then previously. I definitely wrote less posts (12 in 2019 vs 5 in 2020).
  2. Build more - I fell off the first goal before I even spelled out the second goal, but the thought was that I was going to write more code (didn’t happen), DIY some more work on the house (didn’t finish the projects I started), and grow my personal and professional networks (I all accomplished was more “I’d like to add you to my professional network.”).
  3. Run more - this did happen, though it didn’t end up mattering. I finished the year having run 1,125 miles; but with the pandemic, there were no races to get that feeling of accomplishment.

The Global Pandemic

There is no way around it - the global COVID-19 pandemic shaped everything in 2020. My work schedule, the kids’ lives, the projects taken on, the goals unmet, and the races not run. Everyone’s lives were radically changed by the unexpected office closures, business lockdowns, and forced remote-school. Even with the talk of “going back to normal” one there is wide distribution of the vaccine, I can’t even fathom anymore what that means. I just don’t see losing this freedom of working whatever hours are convenient and the flexibility to take care of my family when necessary. While there is still the appeal of seeing coworkers in person and getting that physical interaction, the is nothing enticing about commuting to an office five days a week to just sit in a chair and work on the same hardware that I have at home. But on the other hand, having forty-five minutes before work and forty-five minutes after work to just decompress and separate work and home life… but on the other, other hand, not getting to drop the kids off at school in the morning, and losing that contact with them… but back to the first hand…

And that’s how it has been for me as we think about what the future of office work looks like.

Fitness Goals

This was a S.M.A.R.T. goal that I was able to achieve and I feel quite good about it. I didn’t really struggle until October to fill out the necessary miles. Once the 26.2 mile end-of-season run happened, I lost the motivation to log more miles. But I squeaked in the minimum extra to close out the month, did the same for November, and then completely dragged my feet in December. This is a goal that I will be rolling into 2021.

One piece that I added in November to try and motivate me to continue running was a “4 Miles Every Day” challenge. I lasted 14 days until I stressed my ankle. Even though cutting it short with an injury soured the experience, I did enjoy having a daily challenge.

This was another mid-year fitness goal that turned out better than I expected but also ended abruptly because of injury. I want to try this again in 2021; I just need to learn better form, I think (and be more careful with overhead belt sanding). After 36 days, I had significant improvement in the number of pushups I could do consecutively, and my recovery rate between sets was noticeably improved.

Because of all the time I had at home, I was able to do a lot of training this summer. I ended up running almost double the distance for the year, with only April being lower than 2019. Of course, all that training did nothing for getting me to Boston, because the Chicago Marathon (and all other marathons) were cancelled. CARA, however, replaced it with a “26.2 Power of the Group” run. I helped a fellow runner set a PR by pacing him. The weather was absolutely perfect, the run was completely free of stress, and completing it in 03:25:06 was a nice way to end the season. While I hadn’t trained intensively for the last month, I feel like with a dedicated season, I could have met by BQ goals. For better or worse, I’ll consider this a “success, all things considered.”

In Conclusion

Much like the whole of 2020, I am happy for this to be over and am encouraged to flip to the next year.

My family is healthy, our employment is secure, the house is stable, and our neighborhood is doing well. In the grand scheme, I have nothing worth truly complaining about; only reflections on what might have been and what I can do to improve in the next year.