2016: Year in Review

While it may be cliché to say that the year flew by, it doesn’t make it any less true. In what has become a great tradition, I’d love to share some highlights from 2016.

Becoming Cat People (Again)

Two years ago, I had a wonderful cat named RANDY. Due to a string of unfortunate events, I had to put RANDY up for adoption. I was devastated. I loved him. He was so affectionate and loving, in a time where I was sorely lacking that in my life. Fast-forward two years, and life was completely different, filled with love and happiness. But I still wanted a cat.

My beautiful Minnie. She’s so cute.

So we got two. We have a wonderful rag-doll that we adopted as a kitten named Pixel. And Minnie, a beautiful polydactyl cat we adopted from the Humane Society. Pixel has picked Kelly as her human, and Minnie has picked me. Would I have liked both cats to have picked me? Yes, but it all worked out.

Concerts of a Lifetime

I believe I was 11 when I said to myself that if I ever saw Beyoncé perform, I could die happily. The concert was at TCF Bank Stadium, an outdoor stadium. The day of the show was rainy and right before it was about to start, there was a lightning storm. They emptied the entire stadium to wait it out. There we were, packed like sardines in the concourse, foolishly wondering if this would all be worth it. The Queen B did not disappoint. Beyoncé is a spectacular performer, and her voice—my God, her voice—was magnificent.

That concert alone would’ve made the year. Then Kelly surprised me with Adele tickets. Adele. People I saw not one, but two mind-blowingly talented women perform in the span of three months. When I heard Adele’s voice, I couldn’t help but cry. Not because it was her, but her voice is unbelievable. Multiple songs gave me the chills and she sang all of my favorites. You see a lot of Adele’s personality during the concert, and let me tell you, she is a delight. I would love to hang out with her.

Our Trip to California

We went out this year for a friend’s wedding, but we also had a great time with family. For those of you who may not know, California is where I was born and raised. As much as I dislike my home state (and wouldn’t move back unless absolutely necessary), I do miss my family. We’re a tight-knit bunch of Latinos, and I regret taking for granted how often we saw each other and spent time together. It was an awesome weekend. I took about 300 hundred pictures on a DSLR that I rented. Only kept about 15. Using a DSLR was a new challenge for me, and I look forward to doing it again.

My First Cruise

I was so nervous about this trip, almost to the point of not looking forward to it. I worried that I’d get sea sick and it’d be a long week. How wrong I was! The ship was nothing short of amazing. Not only is it an engineering and architectural triumph, there is something for everyone on it. We had great food and drinks, watched stand-up comedy, enjoyed Broadway-caliber shows, listened to some insanely talented musicians, and karaoke-d our hearts out.

Kelly and I on the catamaran that took us snorkeling

And that’s only what we did on the ship. Our time on the different islands was a blast, snorkeling was breathtaking, and my Minnesotan-pale skin got the tan it deserved. If you’ve been on the fence about taking a cruise, I whole-heartedly recommend it. I’m positive you’ll enjoy it, no matter what your definition of fun may be.

Leaving ACL

In November, I decided to leave ACL after working there 4 months shy of two years. The company was really good to me, but some of our values didn’t align, and I felt that I wasn’t interested enough in the domain to continue doing my best. Still, I had a great time there. I learned so much, and had the privilege of contributing to several applications the company makes. I walked away with more knowledge, and great friends.

My awesome Adamantium teammates

What’s next? I don’t really know yet. I hope to have something more concrete to share soon.

Diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes

This was the real blow of the year, but I can’t say I was shocked. I wasn’t feeling good for a while, and I stupidly put off going to the doctor. I was at a point where I just had to go, and after doing a blood test, it was confirmed: I had Type 2 Diabetes. Learning to live with Diabetes has been difficult. I have to watch what I eat, make sure to take my medication, poke myself to test my blood sugar, and plan meals for a set time. I used to be able to skip a meal or postpone it, now I have to eat something or my blood sugar will drop and I’ll feel crappy.

Honestly, I hate it. I have moments where I cry because of the constant frustration it causes me, and I regret the decisions that got me here. But as with every other mistake I’ve made, I cannot undo it. The past is the past, and I can only focus on the future. I have a fantastic partner in Kelly, and she’s been so supportive and loving with me. I appreciate all her help, and how much she cares for me.

While parts of this year felt difficult, and anxiety and stress-inducing, it was still great. I lost 15 pounds, traveled a lot, and enjoyed great new experiences. I spent time with family, got closer to new and old friends, and saw some enter exciting new eras of their lives.

What’s in Store for 2017

Just like last year, Kelly and I have decided to follow my friend Phil’s tradition of setting a motto for the year.

Our Motto: Embrace the New.

Here are my goals for the year:

  1. Dedicate 10 mins each day to learn French
    I want to learn a new language. I’m fluent in both Spanish and English, but it’s not fair because I was taught both from birth.
  2. Lose 40 lbs.
    My battle with weight continues, but I realized I’ve never actually put a solid number that I’d like to lose. My hope is that setting a specific goal will help me accomplish it.
  3. Make $200/month in side income
    I don’t have a specific plan for making this happen yet. I do know I have knowledge I can impart to others and hopefully make a little money from that.

This year feels like a good one.