By the time you read this, there will likely be less than 2 weeks left in the year 2018. This is the time of year that I like to slow down, think back and reflect on the past 12 months.

Last week, there was a trending hashtag on Twitter that said #2018in5words and I decided to chime in:

In many ways, 2018 was a dumpster fire. By January 11th, my boss quit for a higher paying job in the private sector and my new boss decided to fire the new guy we had just hired a couple months prior. This suddenly left me as the only State employee covering 468 communities in 67 counties for the material in which I offer specialized support. There was scuttlebutt that my work-from-home situation was going to be recalled, and I would be required to move 400 miles away to Tallahassee or start looking for another job. Thankfully, that did not materialize, but my position was going to be treated as temporary unless I made the move, so in effect, there was truth to the rumor.

In June, my air conditioner froze up and I was left to deal with the 90°+ days without A/C for a weekend. Fortunately, this was resolved with a service call and a couple hundred dollar bill. I wasn’t quite so lucky in late August and early September when my water heater fried itself and I struggled to get someone qualified to come replace it with a tankless water heater system (and the accompanying electrical upgrades that were necessary to make that work). 18 days and about $2,300 later, I finally could take a shower in my own home again.

But overall, it really was the best year I’ve ever had. After 3.5 years in a job with no vacation and no paid holidays, I made a job change in May and I’m accruing 10 vacation days and 12 sick days, plus have 11 paid holidays and 3 floating personal days each year. With my FY2018 floating days, I attended FinCon18 in Orlando and met so many of my wonderful personal finance Twitter friends and many others!

With my new job came a new commute (no longer working from home), so I decided to use those nearly 2 hours per day in a positive way. I’ve been devouring episodes of several podcasts each day, from ChooseFI, Afford Anything, FIRE drill, The FI Show, Radical Personal Finance, His and Her FI, Chain of Wealth, Miles to Go, Do You Even Blog, and many more. It’s always such a treat to hear the voices of my actual friends on this podcasts sharing their knowledge and experience with the rest of us!

Travel was certainly the theme of 2018, with a total of 20 flight segments (and one epic train ride) to visit a total of 10 states:

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In February, I flew home to Indiana for a weekend trip to see my high school’s girls basketball team compete for the State Championship. This was the first time I’d been able to feel like a wealthy, accomplished alumnus, even though the whole trip was paid for with Southwest Rapid Rewards miles and Hilton Honors points for my lodging 3 blocks from the game site.

I had work travel that took me out of state to Atlanta, Phoenix and San Diego, and I had my first opportunity to give a presentation at a national conference (the Association of State Floodplain Managers) in Phoenix.

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Other work-related travel took me to St. Petersburg, Miami, Orlando, Tallahassee, and Daytona Beach, but I was able to drive to those locations.

In between the two jobs, I took off on a round-the-country trip over 13 days that took me from Tallahassee, to Atlanta, to Los Angeles, then onto the Coast Starlight train to Seattle, a free business class flight to Boston, and then back home to Fort Myers for a few days of relaxation before starting the new job. It was in Seattle that I first met in person with a personal finance friend from Twitter, Ty Roberts from CampFIREfinance.

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I’ve made incredible new friends and forged closer friendships with existing friends. I’ve met celebrities of the personal finance and FIRE space, and I take pride in my own unique position within the space as champion of others’ stories and friend/ally that can be counted on for support.

I quit a soul-sucking side hustle (Ubering) and found other avenues to supplement my day job income. I’ve hammered out thousands of words (sometimes in one post) and restarted my own blog back in January at the behest of Penny. 😉

After 13 years of living on my own after college, I finally cut the cord and went with a WiFi and streaming entertainment option that is saving me over $100/month. Along the same lines of entertainment, I went to the movie theater and watched first-run movies almost a dozen times. In the name of frugality, I had given up in-theater movies for the past several years, but I really enjoy going sometimes, so I finally splurged a little bit on some movies and I do not regret it.

I read a dozen books, which is about a dozen more than I usually read in a given year. Favorites include The Year of Less by Cait Flanders, The Feminist Financial Handbook by Brynne Conroy, and Retire Early with Real Estate by Coach Chad Carson. I’m happy to call these three friends, and I can’t wait for more book launches in 2019 such as Tanja Hester’s book Work Optional: Retire Early the Non-Penny-Pinching Way.

Speaking of books and movies, the crowdfunded documentary and book for Playing with FIRE should be released in January or February, and I was pleased to be in a position to donate to the cause. The FIRE is spreading! Another (larger) donation I made was to my state professional organization; I bought a quality projector for use in training courses and our annual conference. I know how much the hotels and convention facilities charge for A/V equipment, so my donation this year will save the association many hundreds/thousands over the course of its useful life.

Speaking of donations, I was able to successfully give blood a couple weeks ago. I’m such a baby around blood and needles, but I overcame my fears and they tell me my donation will save 3 lives. That feels way better than a little bit of fear feels scary.

I set 6 resolutions for 2018 and I smashed 5 of those, so I call it a win.

I have been thinking about resolutions for 2019, but I like the idea of setting intentions instead of resolutions. I fully intend to build upon the successes of 2018 and to forge ahead with new plans. I cannot wait to make so many more new friends at CampFI Southeast Week 2 in January, and to reconnect with my favorite people in the world at FinCon19 in Washington D.C. in September. Travel remains high on my priority list, but I don’t have a whole lot of time saved up, so I might just need to take some long weekends and use up some of my accumulated hotel and airline points to go see some more of this beautiful blue and green marble we call home.

How would you recap 2018? What goals do you hope to achieve in the new year 2019?

  1. I’ve really taken a liking to a saying that Jonathan from ChooseFI says a lot: “the aggregation of marginal gains.” If we can just get a tiny bit better every day or week or year, in a few years when we look back, it will have felt gradual but you’re in a totally different place.

    1. I think it’s a good idea to step back and take stock of where you are and where you’ve been. And I can’t be too upset with that rough start, because it gave me the push to start looking for this new job that is working out so much better for me in many ways! Looking forward to seeing your recap 😉

  2. Wow you positivity is infectious! Even though there were some snags (and that commute-ouch), you put a positive spin on everything! I don’t do resolutions either but set goals and pick a theme year. So far, that idea has worked…almost too well for me. lol! Hope you have a great 2019 and look forward to following your journey.

    1. Ohmigoodness, this comment totally made my day! Thanks for reading, Tonya 😃 I hope you have an amazing New Year, and I’ll be excited to follow along!

  3. Love this post. I think my 2018 in five words would be: Learned to drive in Scotland. LOL. It’s the thing I keep coming back to. I was so afraid and I did it anyway. As for 2019 goals, I just want to dig in deeper. Take my writing more seriously, but not myself. It’s gonna be an interesting balance. Happy New Year, Josh.

    Oh, and another 2019 goal for me is this: MEET JOSH OVERMYER IN PERSON IN 2019.

  4. Josh, we interact on twitter and so I thought I’d finally get around to reading your blog. WOW. you did a lot in 2018. Congrats on smashing your new year’s resolutions!

  5. Sorry I’m a little late to the post. My 2018 was a time of huge change: I got a divorce. It was a long time coming, so it was a huge relief — as was my getting out of it with most of my assets intact. I earned it all — usually in spite of him — so I’m glad he was reasonable about that.

    So I have no idea exactly what 2019 will bring. Probably a slew of (hopefully entertaining) bad dates that will amuse myself/friends/readers if they have to happen. But hopefully some good connections. And lots, lots more savings if humanly possible.

    Good luck on your intentions this new year. I think they’re pretty achievable!

    1. Hooray for new chapters and getting through the old one (mostly) unscathed, at least financially!
      Good luck with re-entering the dating scene. I’ve never really dated, and that’s something I know I need to get around to doing or nothing will ever change on that front.

  6. Nice post, and it sounds like you’re keeping it real. I like the idea of setting intentions instead of resolutions as well. Ms. Fiology and I talked about choosing “one word” as a realistic way to keep track of goals for the year. My word was “start” and hers was “truth.” I have started commenting on more blogs of people like you who have been supportive on Twitter (to start with) It feels really good.

    1. In the past, my “resolutions” have been little more than a wish, with no gusto behind them. If I’m going to successfully changed who I am as a 36yo male, I’ve gotta start doing more than wishing!
      I really like your word for 2019! I like Deanna’s too, and it was something we talked about at CampFI a couple weeks ago. The flexibility of Start will allow you to Start doing something else if the prior start isn’t getting you where you want to be!
      Thanks for stopping by! 😃

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