2017: A Lifechanging Year

Guys, let’s pretend I didn’t disappear.

2017 took me from one adventure to the next and 2018 will likely astonish me in ways I haven’t even thought of yet. I have to do this month by month. Let’s begin.

January

This was probably the lowest point of my entire life. I was unemployed and I’d worked through all of the money I’d saved up from my previous employment. I was completely lost and had no idea what to do.

Things change so rapidly, though. About halfway through the month I got the one call I’d been waiting for. Travelers. I’d interviewed 12/23 and thought it went well. I had about a month before the start date.

February

Started at Travelers on February 9. It’s been amazing since day 1. But only a few days after starting my dog Charlie attacked one of my other dogs. I got rid of him the next day. I also cried like a baby. He didn’t even look back when they took him from me.

March

A relatively quiet month. I finished my new hire training on the last day of the month, which meant the following Monday I’d finally be on my own at work.

April

The long baseball season begins! The Astros seemed poised for a great year. I embark on my first solo trip to Boston. An unbelievable experience I simply can’t put into words. But the trip told me something about myself I hadn’t yet known. I wanted someone to share everything with. I was having such a great time on vacation until I realized about halfway through that I was still alone. I had no one to share the amazing experience with. While still in Boston I downloaded Bumble, OkCupid, and Coffee Meets Bagel. Dating apps. I had no idea what to expect. I also bought my first car all on my own!

May

Another relatively quiet month UNTIL IT WASN’T. Those dating apps I’d downloaded? I’d found someone. We talked on the app for awhile and then started texting. After another little while we met in person at HALF PRICE BOOKS. Because I’M STILL ME. We had lunch. We completed a puzzle with a bear on it. It was so great. I was immediately drawn to her wonderful laugh and smile. They’re still magnetic to me.

On May 25 we became a couple. Ol’ ordinary me and oh so amazing her.

June

Many of my coworkers were going on trips and I was just chugging along at work. But I had my worst month (performance-wise) of my time with Travelers. But the beauty of working for such a great company is my manager had my back. She didn’t ask me to do anything drastic because she believed in me.

July

I easily got back on track at work. There wasn’t too much going on.

August

I began to realize my relationship with my girlfriend was really in trouble, but remember how amazing I said she was? Yeah, still thought that in August. Couldn’t just give up.

Hurricane Harvey devastated the city of Houston. My city. My hometown. I didn’t flood, but I missed 10 straight days of work. JJ Watt showed what can happen when everyone gets behind something bigger than one person or one team or one city.

September

Immediately after Hurricane Harvey I was selected to help train a large class of new hires. Something only the top reps in the office are considered for. I finished the quarter ending in September as one of the top reps in the company. I signed my first apartment lease! I’d finally be on my own for the first time. 

October

My relationship ended, but my opinion of the girl hasn’t changed. She’s an amazing person. I dont know if she sees it, but I do. The new hire class ended their training at the end of the month. I moved into my first apartment on 10/21. I took 9 days off from work and realized how lonely I really was. I’d underestimated what it would be like to live alone after nearly 26 years of living with my family.

November

THE ASTROS WON THE WORLD SERIES! THEY DID IT! During game 6 of the World Series I went back home to be with my parents if the Astros won. They didn’t. In game 7 they took an early lead and held on to win the first title in team history. I watched with my parents and we all cried. It was incredible to see these guys we’d been supporting all season with HOUSTON in their name winning the final game of the greatest series I’ve ever seen. I attended my first championship parade.

December

Not much happened until the end of the month. My apartment complex told me that the garage I rent from them cannot handle the electricity needed to charge my car. I was/am furious. But I had no other option. The car I only just purchased in April was traded in for a new, gas powered vehicle. I spent my birthday (12/27) more angry than I’ve been in years.

I’m still really lonely. I know people are dealing with way worse things, but I still want someone who wants to share all of their experiences with me. Someone to travel with. Someone to grow with. Someone to wake up next to. Heck, maybe someone to fall in *love* with. 

I’m starting to think I’m Chandler from Friends. I have a good job no one pays attention to. I have money saved up I can’t even spend. I can’t dance at all. I laugh at my terrible jokes. And I’m sometimes overly awkward. I’m me. Just looking for my Monica. I think I know where she is. 🤔

I’m still angry about my car. But in 2017 I learned so much about myself. I’m proud of who I’ve become. I’m proud of where I am. And I’m excited for 2018. I invite you on that journey with me. Come along. Stick around. Pet the dog. Sit back and watch.

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2016: My Year

2016 is over in just a few short hours for us here in the Western Hemisphere. It’s already 2017 in much of the world. A perfect time to look back.

In 2016 I didn’t read enough. I almost let my blog completely die. I quit multiple jobs. And I’m on the verge of rejecting multiple job offers at once. Sounds wonderful.

But there are some positives to come out of this year. I bought my first DSLR, which I’ve wanted for quite some time. I proceeded to take my new camera to Washington, DC during my first real vacation as an adult. I visited the Library of Congress. I visited Austin for the first time on my own. I made some long overdue personal decisions that I’m looking forward to.

Everyone wants to talk about how 2016 has been the year of celebrity deaths. I don’t see the point of this. It sounds to me like people are worried about the wrong things. Old people die. It isn’t surprising. Especially when the world as a whole has actual problems affecting the lives of every human alive today, and those not yet born.

Maybe my year wasn’t ideal and a few celebrities died, but I refuse to complain. There are people without food, shelter, and clothing. How about all these people worried about the deaths of celebrities actually worry about something a little less glamorous?

That’s what 2016 really boils down to. People focused on such trivial things. Instead of making memes about Harambe, why not support an animal rescue organization? Instead of focusing on how many celebrities have died in 2016, why not support some of their favorite charitable causes and organizations? And instead of complaining about how rough you have it, why not think of the people who have to walk miles just to have access to water?

I know my 2016 didn’t go according to plan, but you won’t find me feeling sorry for myself.

What were some of the highlights of your year?

My Year: 2015

I’d initially wanted to write a series of posts this week discussing my favorite things from different categories, but now I’m just going to write one review for everything. Even though I know everyone else already has. But eh. Let’s get started.

Blogging

At the start of 2015 I set some pretty ridiculous goals for the blog that I thought were attainable. They were, but I missed the mark. Here are some side-by-side stats comparing 2014 to 2015.

Posts

282 (2014) – 363 (2015)

Views

30,102 (2014) – 33,469 (2015)

Visitors

12,195 (2014) – 17,097 (2015)

Likes

5,302 (2014) – 8,386 (2015)

Comments

10,159 (2014) – 9,685 (2015)

I’m sure some might look at the numbers and think of how great the year was. It wasn’t. It was okay. About a thousand new followers and it didn’t translate into anything meaningful. No surge in views, comments, or much of anything. But it’s fine. Maybe my content was to blame. I don’t know.

But my original goals for the year were to reach 40,000 site views, to reach 5,000 followers, and to post 25 poems. I didn’t achieve any of those goals. So I won’t set any goals for the blog in 2016. Because it can only be as good as I can make it. And that’s it.

The top three posts published in 2015 were:

Ursula Le Guin is Clueless

Little Free Libraries Have Come Under Fire

On False Claims From Bloggers

Social Media

I’ve all but stopped using other social media. My Facebook app has been deleted but there’s something wrong with my phone and it randomly restarts and re-downloads the app. Not even kidding. I rarely use Twitter. My blog posts go there automatically, but I just don’t tweet hardly at all. I’ve only recently really started using my Instagram account a bit more. But I see people posting multiple terrible photos a day and I’m just baffled. Eh.

Reading

Y’all already know I only read 10 books in 2015. There’s nothing satisfying about that number. I did manage to read some good books, including the best book I’ve ever read. But this has got to stop. From 2010-2012 I read a total of 106 books. Which is nothing compared to some people on WordPress, but at least it’s something. From 2013-2015 I read a total of 32 books. It’s just stupid. What the hell am I even doing? *slaps myself*

BookTube

I know my channel has something like 16 subscribers, but this is probably what I’m most excited about in 2016. Because I’ll be making videos for two different things going on. I’ll still be reading from Amazon’s 100 Books Everyone Should Read list, which means videos for each one of those. And I’ll also be making videos for every book I read from my challenge. The first will be coming tomorrow for The Perks of Being a Wallflower, which I finished last night. So if you’re still working on your first book of the year and you’re doing my challenge, you’re officially in the rear view mirror! I WILL set a goal for my channel in 2016. 25 videos. Easy enough. I released seven videos on my channel in 2015. My most viewed was my first video, An Intro to Johnny Reads!. It was also my shortest in length. Welp.

Hometown Teams

What a year for Houston sports. The Rockets had one of the most improbable playoff series wins in history by overcoming a 3-1 deficit to the LA Clippers and reaching the conference finals for the first time in almost 20 years. The Astros continued their improvement by snagging a playoff spot and having the eventual World Series champions within six outs of elimination. And the Texans just won their third division title in team history. Playoff game this Saturday! Everyone jokes at work that I don’t know anything except sports and books. Not that far from the truth.

Half Price Books

In August I started working at Half Price Books. It”s been great from day one. The people are great to work with and be around (even if they poke fun sometimes) and I’m literally paid to work in a bookstore. Heaven does exist! It’s already been five months and I’m still loving every single day there.

Trip of a Lifetime

My first. I’ve been saving as much of my little bit of money as I can. And I’m rewarding myself by taking the first trip of my life. I’ve been to Disney World. I’ve been to Michigan. But Disney World happened in the 90s and Michigan wasn’t a vacation type trip. But I’ll finally get to experience what it’s like to really travel. And I’ll be able to see the capital city of my country. I think during those four days I’ll be able to learn even more about what it means to be an American. Heck, I might even cry when I see some things. I can’t tell you how excited I am, and how glad I am to have made the decision to go. I’m hoping this becomes my first trip of many trips of a lifetime. Fingers crossed!

Reading Challenge

I said I’m most excited about my BookTube channel, but I’m also very excited about my reading challenge. Mostly because I’ve gotten tons of feedback and support since I first mentioned it a week ago. I have a feeling the post is going to be one of the top two or three posts of THIS year. It’s getting that much traffic. But I’m also excited to see what other people read and say about something I came up with fully on my own. I overhear my co-workers talking about it just about everyday. It’s great because I know others are also talking about it in various places on the Internet.

In a nutshell, I became more and less active on social media. I started working at a bookstore, My loyalty to my hometown teams finally paid off. And I saved up enough money to start my traveling. Sounds like an alright year to me.

Thanks for always coming back, guys. I know I write things you won’t always agree with and I’ll probably push your buttons without even knowing it, but it’s never too serious. And no one is aiming to be disrespectful. This is my little piece of cyberspace, and you’re always welcome.


On this day in 2015 I published Mark Zuckerberg’s “A Year of Books”.

2014: My year in blogging

Hey guys, last year I hadn’t blogged long enough to get one of these reports at the end of the year. Honestly, I’m pretty ecstatic about where my blog is and where I think it’s going. And it’s all because of my readers. Because of you. Y’all have no idea how much I enjoy this. All I can say is thank you. It’s been a memorable 2014 and I promise to keep the posts coming next year. Now check out the full report to see what you helped accomplish! Seriously, it’s all you. I just happen to have my name in the title.


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 30,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 11 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.