2020 in Review

This will be my sixth year in a row doing these, so you can also read about 201520162017, 2018, or 2019 if so desired. They are inspired by Tilde, who has taught me that it can be a Good Thing to remember what the last year has been like. Many of the headers in this post are based on my goals for 2020.

The phrase for this year was welcoming others, as I wanted to return to helping others feel welcomed. I did that to some degree, but even more so — I survived this dumpster fire of a year. You did, too! Internet high five!

Let’s pause for a moment, because wow, wtf, 2020

Before getting into the rest of this, I want to pause and just say: WTF, 2020. Having infrastructural social support systemically undermined under Trump since 2016 culminated in this horror show. So many people are suffering. Un- and underemployment, evictions, police shootings, and an eroding safety net were all true before this year, but way to come to a fucking head.

Thinking about goals for this year, let alone trying to devise goals for next year, is a habit I’d like to keep up with. It’s in no way to say “look at what can be done in a pandemic!” or anything of the like. I’m incredibly privileged, and routine is part of my coping. With that in mind, let’s proceed.

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2019 in Review

This will be my fifth year in a row doing these, so you can also read about 201520162017, or 2018 if so desired. They are inspired by Tilde, who has taught me that it can be a Good Thing to remember what the last year has been like. Many of the headers in this post are based on my 2019 goals.

The phrase for this year was building the foundations, as I had just made space for them. I feel like I solidly did this.

Stated Goals

Maintain a healthy routine for myself.

So I didn’t really talk about physical fitness last year, but I’ve kept up a solid routine of climbing, yoga, bicycling, strength training, and (for awhile there) boxing. I don’t work evenings, weekends, or holidays. I took most of the PTO available to me this year. With growing regularity I read books and drink tea instead of drinking. I went to PT and massage therapy when I injured myself. I take my meds and my vitamins regularly. I go to bed around 9p and wake up around 5:30 every day. My baseline is hecka solid.

Figure out more future things with Reed & something that brings hope.

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So uh. We got married. One of the best choices I’ve yet made in my life. Having Reed in my corner makes life more joyful, interested, and stable. He also challenges me to be better, and brings a perspective that brings hope to my brain (and by proxy, the people around me).

Set a metric and improve that metric at work.

Set metrics around time to onboard new Trussels, how many internal projects I was managing (work in progress), and how many new leaders I could uplift with those internal projects. Also implemented surveys around D&I and sense of belonging. Saw major gains in onboarding and developing leadership, small gains in WIP and belonging, and it’s still too soon to tell for D&I.

Try out sparring.

Because I sometimes do security at protests, I wanted to know how I reacted to getting punched. So I took up boxing. There was a point this year where I was training for boxing 5 days a week – in class, at home, and in private lessons. I love Four Elements Fitness and the science of boxing. Highly recommend. But when it came time to spar, I found that I have a really hard time hitting people (even consenting friends) in the face. I’m still not sure if boxing has a role in my life, but my body was at its happiest when I was in this groove this year.

Continue to meet my savings goals and investing in my communities.

I’ve been doing well at this, especially with the guidance of Ride Free Fearless Money, a fantastic person who does consulting and education around finances for anticapitalists.

Contribute to events as support, not as main organizer.

I’ve gone on a lot of bicycle rides that I didn’t organize, from friend rides in the Bay to organized rides with over 100 people to bicycling in the wooded mountains near Susanville. I also participated in a leadership program put on by Rise Together Bay Area without running any part of it (and it was a joy, they really have their shit together)!  And for Priceless, I contributed on tickets and on-site setup, but wasn’t a core organizer! I’m very proud of myself.

Something that brings joy.

I officiated Matt and Jenn’s wedding in Bloomington, Indiana. This was such a joy. They’re excellent humans with other excellent humans in their lives, and to be able to commemorate that through ritual was just dandy.


Reed and I also got a cat. After 7ish years without a pet, this has been baller. He’s sleeping on my lap right now.

Something that feels selfish.

Got my eyes lasered. This was an experience. I did PRK rather than any other form because I might get hit in the eye repeatedly at some point at a protest or something, and I don’t want my cornea to slide off my face. But that also meant a week of pain and blindness, followed by a month of blurry vision and dry eyes, and now perfect vision. It’s hard to describe what a great present perfect vision is. I don’t have to be constantly worried about being stranded somewhere if something happens to my glasses. They’re not always coming down my nose during physical activity. I wouldn’t be blind in an earthquake. I feel grateful every day that I did this for myself.

Previous years’ unmet goals that were met this year

Continue reducing my intoxicant consumption

2019 has been a good year. I’ve found healthier habits for coping with things, plus I have a solid enough baseline that I have available self control even when I’m still having a rough time. I’d proud of myself for treating myself better.

Bicycle further than I walk (without any drastic reduction in walking)

This is bananas, y’all. Something just clicked for me this year with bicycles. Going on long rides while listening to audiobooks on bone-conduction headphones is now my absolute favorite thing. To the point that I rode 2,500 miles this year, including a few populaires (100k), a century (100 miles), and a 200k Brevet. I walked 1,350 miles.

Unmet stated goal

Complete 4 cross-stitch projects.

I finished two, and then I started on that was too big and that I didn’t have the right equipment for. Instead of course correcting I plowed ahead and burned myself out on it.

Other things

Got another tattoo


After last year’s “first last tattoo,” I kept struggling with some personal things. This one a tribute to liminal space. Reed and I are going to try to gestate, and there’s no way to know if it’ll work or not, so this is a time of liminality, of between-ness. I love working with Santa Perpetua so much — as always, I waxed poetic to her about my existential angst and she put it as art on my body so I can carry it with me.

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Once more, this nice spartan lady came from The Estates, put up with two days in a row of my unfriendly needle and crazy rambling, to have in the end my artwork on her skin. I feel blessed to have such awesome people as clients. So, for this one, “Burn your ship” or “Swim out of the fish bowl”… Whichever you like! ;D WWW.SANTAPERPETUATATTOO.COM #santaperpetua #watercolortattoo #brighton #london #uk #avantgardetattoo #graphicarttattoo #eclectictattoo #contemporarytattooing #conceptualtattoo #thebesttattooartists #radtattoos #tattoo #art #ink #skin #abstracttattoo #organizedchaostattoo #toptattooartist #tattoolifegallery #freehandtattoo #swimoutofthefishbowl #onlywatercolor #burnyourship #detailstattoo

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Was intentional about my relationships

Have continued to invest more in a smaller set of friendships and romantic relationships. Have also decided (with the other person) that some just weren’t working out. One of the things about poly is that it allows relationships to draaaaaagggg on for a long time without closing things up that should be closed. I’m proud of us for not following that pattern, as hard as it can be in the moment.

Travel & Culture

  • Went to Indonesia for our honeymoon. Got over my fish phobia, tried out snorkeling, scuba, and free diving for the first times. Pet lots of cats, read lots of books, and just chilled the fuck out for two weeks. Also went on a mad dash for Dim Sum in Hong Kong on a layover that was just long enough on the way back.
  • We also went to France. Bicycled the Burgandy canal, ate at a 3-star Michelin restaurant, and found out that Paris truly is closed in the month of August.
  • Took a class on Neo Futurism. When I was doing crisis response, I stopped telling stories because everything I said seemed like one-upmanship. So I took a class on non-illusory theater from the SF Neo-Futurists to learn to tell stories again.
  • Reed and I have maintained a membership at a local theater and see shows there about once a month. Sometimes they’re exceptional and sometimes they’re terrible, but it feels nice to support Teh Arts.
  • Went to Desert X with friends. The art wasn’t the best I’ve ever seen, but it sure was a blast to go on a roadtrip with this crew.
  • Took other people to see The Jungle. I was so impacted by seeing The Jungle in NYC in 2018 that I made a point to bring some friends to see it when it came to SF. We then all sat together, mostly in silence, in a sushi place nearby while we processed our Feelings.
  • We went to Chicago to see one of Reed’s favorite musicals, Next to Normal. It was a fantastic piece of theater, put on humbly but well.

All this while still managing to decrease my overall speed – 6mph constant (the lowest it’s ever been since starting to track!), with 4 months with no flights at all.

2020

So now we’re on the cusp of 2020, and I should think about what that means for me.

  • Devise new ways to connect with my crew (and do so).
  • I dunno, maybe gestate? O_o
  • Take care of myself as best I can in light of potential gestation.
  • Bring passion back to my work.
  • Pick up ONE side project.

My phrase for 2020 will be welcoming others.

2018 in Review

This will be my fourth year in a row doing these, so you can also read about 20152016, or 2017 if so desired. They are inspired by Tilde, who has taught me that it can be a Good Thing to remember what the last year has been like. Many of the headers in this post are based on my 2018 goals.

Oh dear 2018. This about sums up how I’ve been thinking about this report, and the past year:

Which also reminds me of this excellent piece.

Stated Goals

I set out in 2018 with the phrase Space for Foundations. I do think I’ve done that, despite the above. Continue reading

2017 in Review

This will be my third year in a row doing these, so you can also read about 2015 and 2016 if so desired. They are inspired by Tilde, who has taught me that it can be a Good Thing to remember what one has accomplished over the year. The headers in this post are based on my 2017 goals.

Explore, decide upon, and execute the next work bits.

This was the hardest on me. While my time at Aspiration helped me to slow down, it also removed me from the circles in which I had run, which I feel made finding work far more difficult than it might have otherwise been. Over the course of 2017, I applied to ~200 jobs, and got to the second-interview stage (or further) at 12.

Contracts did come in, some through the consultancy Vulpine Blue my brother and I started. We had 4 clients and a workshop series, including participation in a field scan for technology for social justice (complete next year) and a network strategy workshop around microfinance and direct cash assistance. External to Vulpine, I facilitated a lovely group of folk in creating a game about disaster response, and am working with Megan Yip on a resource repository about digital estate planning. Some of these things have been covered on this blog over the past year.

I applied to a data science bootcamp, and so took time to learn more about Python, statistics, Javascript, and d3. While I didn’t get in based on my lack of memory/knowledge of statistics and calculus, I did learn a lot, especially about coding. The most significant progress in all this has been made under the excellent guidance of Tilde. <3

The work on digital response has also continued, with assisting Greece Communitere in setting up their Monitoring and Evaluation for Accountability and Learning plan, participating in Neighborhood Empowerment Network and Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster Sacramento, apparently having 35 Marines tasked to me for setting up the disaster response section of Fleet Week, and helping with community technical responses during the hurricane season. The influx of attention has improved our response knowledge base and sparked a new Slack group. A donation came in from a friend for these efforts, which means we can be even a bit more prepared in the future to do more work. For a short period of time, I had a Patreon going, and it was a reassurance that I’m not shouting into the void. Some of these efforts also appears on this blog.

For longer term thinking, I also supported the swissnex Crisis Code event, found a co-author and new editor for the mixed-mode system paper book (which progresses a goal for 2016), and set up the Do No Digital Harm Initiative with Seamus and Joe.

In short, I did manage to explore the next work bits. The route I’ve been selected for, and accepted, is to become the project manager at Truss. Truss embodies my desire to do epic shit quietly, in a healthy working environment. I’m stimulated and supported, and it’s glorious. Also, we’re hiring.

I don’t know how *you* celebrate being a new job, but I sure have a way..

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Make a longer-term financial plan (and start on it).

All that means I have a long-term financial plan and am plugging away at those longer-term objectives. 2017 was a year of sporadic income and job hunting, and has drained all personal savings and put me back in debt to family (I am the luckiest, I know). Being paid like an adult living in SF while still persuading myself that I don’t make that kind of money means I can start saving for bigger Future things.

Remain emotionally vulnerable and available even when it suuuuucks.

After taking some time to heal after the multi-level collapse of 2016, I developed a Dating Plan, which perhaps isn’t terribly surprising to some of you. I executed at full-bore and thereby met lots of lovely new folk.

But the dating Plan didn’t go exactly as expected because the casual thing I had going with one Reed Kennedy escalated. Quickly. We worked backwards from when we should decide if we want to do other Life Things with each other, and set a move-in date in August. Be still my logic-based heart. We now share a home (but not a room), and his mom knows my parents.

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This isn’t the only relationship in my life, of course. I’ve also worked to maintain my relationships with Jenbot, Lily, and Estee; and to deepen my friendships with friends old and new. A big part of being able to do all this was getting my average miles per hour into the single digits for the first time in years. 7! Seven mere miles per hour. That’s 61k miles traveled over the year.

There are other aspects to being emotionally vulnerable and available. To me, showing up was also participating in the airport protests, women’s march, and acting as security at a Berkeley march. Another aspect of vulnerability is this: over the course of 2017 I experienced two bouts of depression, the second of which was bad enough to mean I’m on medication. A++ modern medicine, would ask for help again.

Find 3+ adventures of any size to go on, and go on them.

I went a little overboard on this one, but I’m really proud of myself for that. In the past, most of my travel has been for work, with rare exceptions. In 2017, I went snowboarding in Colorado, went to Santa Fe to see Meow Wolf, rode to Pinnacles to go rock climbing, hiked Gunsight Pass with my dad in Glacier, and had romantic getaways with two partners (one to Point Reyes, the other to Virginia)!

Where I was yesterday.

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I also managed to Do Things in the Bay Area, including taking a shining to the SF Neo Futurists, playing D&D for a long weekend in Oakland, experiencing an interactive play set during the Prohibition, and seeing Hamilton and the Magnetic Fields.

Adventures aren’t just for experiencing, they’re also for building. Over 2017, I gave a talk at Odd Salon, did some minor support on Radiance, sat on a panel about Apocalyptic Civics at the Personal Democracy Forum, gave a talk on Weaponized Social at SHA (the Dutch hacker camp), contributed to a Cultivate the Karass event, and sat on a panel about disaster response technology at Hackers. Oh, and I ended up in a coordinating leadership role for the 1100-person, 4-day festival Priceless, which I shall continue doing next year as well.

Yours truly, on the last day of #priceless, with “enough” radios.

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Get back into reading a nerdy amount.

I did ok at this, but not as well as I might’ve liked. Instapaper doesn’t offer data, but apparently I’ve finished 18 books this year on Audible, and maybe 3 physical books (yay dyslexia!). Favorites include Thanks For The Feedback, Marriage (a History), the Broken Earth series, The Gone Away World, and The Fire Next Time. I also binged hard on The Adventure Zone podcast.

Physical Things

Here were the physical goals for 2017:

  • Run 400 miles over the course of 2017 (about twice what I did this year).
  • Beat my time/position for a Spartan race.
  • Climb at least 6 times a month.
  • Bike 50 miles or more a month.

Maybe there are so many because they’re the easiest thing to track?

I ran 307 miles (100 more than 2016, but 100 less than my goal), primarily because bicycling became more of a priority than running. I bicycled 1,163 miles over 2017, which is pretty great for the first year of having my own bicycle as an adult. The hardest (but not longest) ride I did was 31.8 miles and 2,554 ft of climbing. I walked 100 miles less than last year, but 500 miles more than I bicycled in 2017.

Hours and hours spent with @sofauxboho for this Goldie-Locks-fit of a bike.

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The Spartan race I ran was during the same month and same location as 2016’s, but the track was slightly different. I ran a better time (1:40 to last year’s was 2:05) but poorer position (583/4800 to last year’s 255/2617). I don’t know that I’ll do another race. It’s been interesting but I don’t see it building to anything.

The only month I missed my 6x climbing goal was November, and November was a tire fire. I got Reed into climbing, who got Josh and Gordon into it, and I made new lead-practice climbing friends Sophia and Alejandro. I made it up a Mission Cliffs .11C (not Yosemite grading, so not as fancy as you think it is, but still damn hard).

I persisted with yoga and strength training, took up boxing (this also knocks out (lulz) a goal for 2016) (shout out to Four Elements Fitness, and to Scout and Debbie for the encouragement), and started on a ketogentic diet which has had huge benefits to my mood stability. And I’ve halved my alcohol consumption from last year, which was already a drastic decrease. My average workouts per month is up to 15 from 5 last year. This is especially strange, looking back to 2015 when working out regularly was notable. Lest this seem easy or accessible, it’s the equivalent of spending just over 7 straight days in the gym (not including walking or biking), almost 4 days of which was just on walls.

Not-Goal-Related Joy in 2017

Got my motorcycle painted so it is now the right colors.

Personal things : still improving.

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Bought myself very nice slippers. I mean, really nice. I’m wearing them right now.

Now drink only decaf coffee and teas unless under extreme circumstance.

I also learned 3 songs on the ukulele. This was a huge deal to me, as I’ve always been convinced I couldn’t play an instrument. Now, having played those three songs, I don’t know how much more time I’ll spend on it, but it was fun to figure out. Thanks to Katie and Drew for badgering me into believing in myself.

2018

The term I carried with me into 2017 was personal ambition, as I wanted to start considering my own needs while caring about the world. While I don’t think my personal ambition came anywhere close to the ambitions I have for the world, this goal did shape how I thought about things.

The term I will carry with me in 2018 is space for foundations, as I continue to re-learn how to take up space, in light of the things I’ve learned about humility and ambition over the past couple years. So my goals are:

  • Do solidly (excel, even!) at my job
  • Get certified for lead climbing
  • Continue reducing my intoxicant consumption
  • Meet one of my four savings-related goals. I still feel awkward about money so I won’t go into more detail here.
  • Get the book proposal in front of 4 publishers
  • Go bicycle camping
  • Bicycle further than I walk (without any drastic reduction in walking)
  • Complete the coding project with Tilde for the year-end report next year
  • Responsibly wrap up some of the projects listed here
  • Keep on top of my responsibilities during Priceless and other high-tumult times
  • Feel like I’m speaking 1/Nth of the time

2016 Retrospective

I did one of these posts last year, inspired by Tilde, who I continue to be inspired by. In an effort to be more consistent in my life, I’m going to do it again this year.

Unachieved 2016 Goals:

I did a lot this year, but I did not do everything I set out to do. Before we jump into the “lookit how great it was!” here are the things at which I fell short:

Get this paper out the door

I have an editor I’m working on with this. But it’s still not out. Fingers crossed on 2017.

Do 2 speaking gigs max — unlimited participatory events

I ended up doing 3, but 2 of those were 7 minutes long. This is still a drastic change from past years.

Read and comment on at least one blog entry/article a week

Reach conversational comfort in Deutsche, Kiswahili, or ASL. Future years for the others.

Yeah, neither of these happened. I still understand how important they are, but they just didn’t stay at the top of the stack.

What I did manage to do was…

Slowed down. For me.

Only travel for (well-paid) work and family/close friends

This year was a year of transitions and movement, but also of stillness and consistency. I did go completely around the world once. I also went to India and Japan, meaning I’m now only missing Antartica from Continent Yhatzee.

That said, I travelled less than I have in years past (~30k less). There was an entire month where I didn’t go anywhere further than a 3 hour drive (!!). This has not happened since 2012.

This gave me a chance to… Continue reading