2015: Laser Eyes & Expensive Purchases

I’m almost a month late this year, but it’s once again time to reflect back on another year of accomplishments and establish my 2016 goals.

While I didn’t do nearly as much traveling in 2015, it was still an adventurous year that included a trip to Hogwarts and a marriage engagement when Tym and I finally moved into our first house in December! (Yes, the house hunt is finally over.)

2015 Goals Reflection

In reviewing my 2015 goals, I’d say I exceeded most of my expectations from last year.

  • I have laser eyes now – I had Lasik eye surgery last March.
  • I participated in three half marathons. Though I didn’t race in any duathlons, that will definitely be a focus for 2016.
  • I haven’t yet earned my Salesforce Advanced Developer certification, but that’s primarily because Salesforce spent several months revamping the process and the exams were unavailable. I completed the final assignment and essay in November, and now I’m just waiting to receive the results.
  • I read another 10 books throughout the year, the same number as in 2014. I also wrote nearly 30,000 words of fiction. This was under my goal of 60,000 words, but I’m giving myself a bit of a break here since work and house buying both took up more of my summer and fall than anticipated.
  • I did not learn as much as I would have liked. This will also be a bigger focus in 2016.
  • I continued volunteering at the local food bank through most of 2015.
  • Not only did I research buying a house — I bought a house!

2016: The Harry Potter and the Cursed Child & Wedding Adventure

As always, many of my goals are staying similar to last year. But I have a few additional goals as well. With a trip planned in August to London to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and a wedding to plan for the fall, 2016 is shaping up to be another busy year.

My main goals…

1) Average 7 hours of sleep per night. This was an unwritten resolution for me in 2015. I’d like to make it more official and to continue the trend. Having a Microsoft Band has made me realize how little sleep I had been getting. My sleep has greatly improved over the past year, but it could still be better.

2) Continue learning. A repeat goal. I started watching a CrashCourse series last year (World History), but I haven’t finished. I’d also like to complete CrashCourse Psychology. And there are several SciShow episodes that have been in my “Watch Later” queue for years.

3) Keep focusing on half marathons, but also spend more time biking and swimming. As I mentioned previously, I raced in three half marathons last year but no duathlons. I’ve also done well at going to the gym regularly, but my bike did not get much use last year at all. I want to start swimming at the gym and to bike around the city more often. If possible, I would ideally start commuting to work this way (by biking… not by swimming).

4) Increase time spent reading & writing – read a book a month. I’ve been averaging 10 books a year. This year, I want to aim for one a month. Now that I have a longer commute to work, reading on the bus has been a great way to jumpstart my mornings.

Additionally, I’m going to aim for another 60,000 words of writing this year. If I’m being honest with myself, this will probably be the first goal that gets cut from the list.

5) Continue volunteering. I wasn’t originally going to put this on the list, but I need to pick this up again since volunteering at the food bank fell off my radar while I was dealing with the move and the Christmas holidays.

My list is shorter this year and definitely attainable. What are your goals this year?

Hoping for yet another great year,

— Robert

House Buying: Navigating A Crazy Market

In my annual goals post back in January, I wrote for one of my 2015 objectives:

“Start looking into what it takes to purchase a house or condo.”

I’ve made progress on all of my goals so far this year, but little did I know that I would go far and beyond exceeding this goal.

Well, sort of.

Not only have we’ve started to look into the house buying process, we dived head-first into the adventure back at the end of May. In the past four five months, we’ve 1) found a realtor, 2) found a bank, 3) walked through approximately 40 60 80 or more homes, and 4) conducted an estimate on a fixer-upper listing and pre-inspections on two others, and 5) put in an offer on three four different properties.

FOUR offers. You would think that after four very strong offers (alright, maybe only 2 or 3 were really strong), I would be the proud co-owner of my first home. But that is not true. The Seattle housing market is so fierce that I’ve heard multiple stories of people placing over a dozen offers and still not finding their dream home.

Thankfully, I’ve at least gotten something out of it: I’m learning the Seattle market. I know (relatively) where I want to live. I know my likes and dislikes, and I understand important things to consider when touring a house. Going through so many different scenarios has allowed me to see various aspects of the business, like submitting an offer with a renovation loan vs. traditional loan.

One Week.

If the house is priced correctly, that’s all the time you have to tour the home and assemble an offer.

The typical week looks something like this… Continue reading

Another Year, Another Reflection

2014 was another great and successful year for me. While there were no cross-country moves this year, I did have two epic adventures – an excursion to Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon, as well as a hop across the pond – and continued to explore Seattle and become comfortable living on the west coast.

It can often be difficult to make friends as an adult, and I think this is especially true if you pack up and move thousands of miles. Now that I have lived in Seattle for a year and a half, I’ve started to establish more life-long friendships and relationships with people in my new city. Even though that wasn’t a goal that I listed at the beginning of the year, I consider this one of my top accomplishments.

Continue reading

A Whirlwind of a Year: 2013

With a cross-country move and a 9-day excursion in Europe (blog post coming soon!), I think I can safely say that 2013 was a crazy year! I thought now would be a great time to reflect on some of 2013’s other events and review the resolutions that I set for myself. I also have new goals for 2014 (including being more active on this blog…)

THON 2013

THON 2013One of the most memorable experiences of 2013 occurred back in February, when I had the opportunity to experience Penn State University’s annual THON event. This event is a 48 hour dance marathon and the largest student-run philanthropy in the world. 2013’s THON raised over $12.37 million dollars for pediatric cancer research.

Many thousands of PSU students experience the dance marathon every year but only a few hundred dancers are chosen to partake in the entire event on the dance floor. As an outsider of the PSU community, I felt very lucky to be able to go on the dance floor with a special guest pass to give one of my friends encouragement during the early morning hours of the last night. I also had the opportunity to meet a THON family, who were some of the most optimistic and upbeat people I’ve ever met.

The year of the comedians

I saw more comedians last year than I think I’ve ever seen. In early 2013, Nick Offerman (Ron Swanson from one of my favorite TV shows, Parks and Recreation) performed at the University of Rochester. Later in the year, I saw Daniel Tosh in Seattle and Colin Mochrie & Brad Sherwood at RIT’s Brick City Homecoming. I also met Aisha Tyler at a book signing event in Seattle. Aisha plays Lana on another one of my favorite shows, Archer and is the new host of Whose Line Is It Anyway?

I doubt 2014 will be quite as eventful, but it’s definitely possible. I already have tickets to see more of the Whose Line Is It Anyway? regulars in February in Vancouver.

Reflections & 2014 Resolutions

Some of my goals for 2014 are very similar to my 2013 goals. This isn’t because I failed at my goals, but because I would like to continue along the same path and improve upon them.

My goals for 2014 include the following…

1) Run my 4th marathon. I successfully completed the Seattle Marathon at the beginning of December, but I would love to run a race that’s flatter.

2) Continuing reading & writing more. My focus was on reading last year, so this year I would like to improve my writing skills. I’m already reading more than I did while in college, and I expect this trend to continue.

3) Volunteer more. I did not volunteer as much in 2013 as I would have liked. I set this as a repeat goal for 2014, which I should be able to accomplish as I am already signed up to be an active participant in my company’s 1-1-1 pledge to give back to the Rochester community. I will likely write on this initiative sometime later in the year.

4) Continue learning. Now that I’m no longer in college, most of the things I’m learning have been related to my current job position. This is not a bad thing, but there’s so much more out there that I could be learning. My goal is to at least complete a handful of online courses, and I’m currently signed up for two courses on Coursera that begin later this week.

5) Improve personal web site & other web projects. Work always takes priority over my personal projects, and I’d like to set a goal for myself to devote more time to them this year. It will probably result in me wasting less time doing inconsequential things like browsing Facebook and Twitter, which wouldn’t be a tragedy by any means.

Happy 2014!

I feel like I’ve rambled quite a bit in this post, so it’s time for me to sign off and watch the rest of the Seahawks game. Until next time!

– Robert

Resolutions & Goals

This year I decided to set several resolutions. I don’t generally make “New Year’s Resolutions” during the first part of a new year, and that’s mainly because the majority of people forget about them a month later (and shouldn’t you be setting goals for yourself ALL of the time?) However, I do like achieving goals and finding new experiences to fulfill my life – so why not come up with a few?

My New Year’s Resolutions (otherwise known as my goals for the year)
1) Continue running & gym workouts. Running for me isn’t hard, but the gym workouts are something I haven’t been doing much until this winter. I’ve now been a member of the RIT gym for almost 5 months, with plans to renew for another 3 month membership soon.

2) Run another marathon. I ran the Rochester marathon in 2010 and 2011, but did not participate in a marathon in 2012. I haven’t decided what marathon I’ll be running yet, but I am currently training for both a half marathon and duathlon in April that will get me in fairly decent condition.

3) Read more. I only read 4 books in 2012, an all-time low. As of the middle of February, I have already finished 2 books, so I’m already halfway to meeting my total from last year! (No applause, please.)

4) Volunteer more. I haven’t done much volunteering since I graduated RIT in May. I am not quite sure how I will fulfill this goal yet, but I’m sure I’ll know when I find the right opportunity.

5) Become CPR-certified. There was no real reason for this goal other than that I wanted to, and it’s something that everybody should learn. My motivation came about when I learned that the Henrietta Volunteer Ambulance offers the course for free! It’s a good skill to have, and I successfully completed the certificate in February!

Those are the plans for now. I’ll post a follow-up by the end of the year to reflect on how successful these goals have been. Now that I’ve written them down and published them to the world, I’ll be more likely to complete them, right?!

– Robert