New Year’s Day 2019

It’s 7am on New Year’s Day, and I don’t have anything big planned today, so I might as well get started on my traditional New Year’s Day blog post. I’ve been doing this for several years now. Here are some links to the last few posts:

Weight, Sleep, and General Health

My general health was been OK this year. I had blood work done a few weeks ago, and it looks very similar to 2017’s blood work.

My weight has been pretty steady for the last few months. I was 140 on New Year’s Day last year, and I’m 135 now. I’ve been steady at 135 for a while now, +/-2. Last year, I wrote “I can’t see myself dropping to 135, but we’ll see.” Well, I did drop to 135. This year, I’ll say that I can’t see myself dropping to 130. If I do, then that might actually indicate a problem. My doctor this year actually asked me if I wanted to put on a little weight, or if I was OK as-is. I think I’m fine, but if I drop another 5 pounds in 2019, that might be a problem.

I’m still using Lose It every day, and recently paid for a lifetime subscription.

I’ve been doing OK with exercise, relying on the Apple Watch to keep track of things and give me a little nudge now and then. I got a new Series 3 Watch for Christmas, so I’ll likely be sticking with that. My move goal was 440 for a while earlier in the year, but has been adjusted down to 390. I generally hit that goal 5 or 6 days per week.

Sleep is still an occasional problem. I did OK (but not great) last night, and I’ve had a few bad nights recently. I still use Sleep Cycle to track my sleep. I’ve cut back on caffeine a bit, but probably not nearly enough.

I’ve been meditating on and off this year. I had a little streak going back in October, but I stopped again and haven’t started back up. When I do meditate, I’m using Insight Timer. I’ll likely stick with that. I want to get back to meditating regularly. If Bill Gates can find time to meditate for 10 minutes a few times a week, so can I.

My vision is continuing to go downhill, though I haven’t had anything really bad happen yet. (Given my family history, I’m kind of expecting that I’ll be legally blind at some point in my 60s, though maybe I can avoid that.) I went to my eye doctor earlier this month and got a prescription for progressives, so I’ll get that filled at some point this month and see if I can get used to those, and if they help me with computer work and reading. We have a vision plan at work now, starting in 2019, so I can at least get those at a discount.

My hearing is also going downhill. I haven’t seen a hearing doctor yet, though I plan to do that in 2019. I’ve been following advances in hearing aid tech, so I hope that, if I need a hearing aid, I can at least get a good one that works with my iPhone and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.

I signed up for AARP last year too. I’m hoping I can get some useful information out of that in 2019. I’m trying to be proactive about aging, from both a health and finance standpoint.

Work

I hit the five-year mark at SHI in January 2018. I spent a lot of time this year working on a project related to Microsoft’s Partner Center, so I got to do a good bit of C# programming this year, and got to play with a few things in Azure, so that was good. This year, we should be opening a new warehouse, so that’s going to keep us busy, with related projects.

I, once again, got a very good performance review from my boss this year. I’m not going to get too specific, in case any coworkers stumble across this post, but I’m doing well.

Professional Development

I didn’t do any structured professional development this year, really. I watched a few Pluralsight courses, mostly related to specific stuff I needed to learn for work. Looking at my Goodreads history, I see that I read a handful of programming-related books this year:

Wow, that’s actually a longer list than I thought it was going to be. Some of those aren’t really programming books, like “Hit Refresh,” Satya Nadella’s book, and some are just short ebooks, but it’s still enough that I feel like I put some effort into keeping my skills sharp and staying current.

Finance

I did a quick year-end finance review over the weekend, and it’s a bit depressing. Any gains I had for the year were soundly wiped out by the recent stock market plummet. But, ignoring that, I can at least say that I have things in order. I did a little bit of reorganization in 2018, including moving some money from my legacy Merrill CMA account to a new CMA Edge account, where I can do my own trading online. I invested some money there into a couple of Vanguard index funds. I read John Bogle’s The Little Book of Common Sense Investing in May, and I’ve tried to reorient my finances in a more “Boglehead” direction, though I still have a lot of old-style mutual funds. I also made an attempt to book a session with an independent financial advisor, but failed to find someone who looked good and was willing to take on a new client. I should probably try again in 2019, since I really should have someone else look at things, given my age and the somewhat haphazard state of my portfolio.

Reading

According to my Year In Books on Goodreads, I read 106 books this year. A lot of those are actually short stories, short ebooks, and comic books, but I did read a fair number of novels this year too. I participated in a Great American Read group on Goodreads, and read a number of books that were outside my comfort zone. I posted about that in November. I’ve finished a few more TGAR books since then (Lonesome Dove, The Lovely Bones, and Lu), and started To Kill A Mockingbird, which was the winner of the TGAR poll.

I should note that I used my local library system a lot more this year than I have in previous years. I’ve used it for physical books, ebooks, and audiobooks. I’ve visited both my local branch, and the larger Bridgewater branch multiple times. So I’m thankful that we have such a good library system here in Somerset County.

As to comic books, I posted in December about my current indecision about sticking with Westfield for buying new comics, or maybe just giving up on buying new monthly books for awhile. I think I’m probably going to stick with Westfield for a few more months, at least, but I’m not sure. The reading pile is getting too big again. I’m pretty sure that I’ll stop buying monthly comics at some point this year though.

Looking at my Goodreads 2018 list again, I see a lot of Batman and Batman-adjacent stuff this year. Probably my favorite comic book read of the year would be Warren Ellis’ The Wild Storm series.

In terms of general reading goals for 2019, I want to (finally) read a couple of books on meditation that I bought early last year, Search Inside Yourself and 10% Happier. I also want to read this book on “finances after fifty” that I bought last year. I don’t have any specific goals related to fiction reading. I have a bunch of books piled up that I’d like to read, that I didn’t get to last year, including Ready Player One, and several other science fiction novels. I put off some of my genre reading in favor of TGAR books last year. I’m glad I did that, but I’d really like to get back to some SF. My “want to read” list in Goodreads has 308 books on it right now, so I’ve got plenty to choose from.

Summary

I’m skipping over a few things I could include here, but it’s now almost 10am, and I have a few things I want to do today, since it’s stopped raining and it’s reasonably warm out. So this post will be a little shorter than last year’s. Maybe I’ll write some follow-up posts over the next few weeks.

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