Coronavirus, Life
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Looking back and looking forward, My Annual Review

In 2017 I created a post where I went over my resolutions for 2016.  It was a good post, if I say so myself, where I had 13 resolutions for the year.  I achieved 9 of my resolutions.  It was a good year and I was really proud of myself for those things.  I also had hoped I would’ve done another good list and just kept it going.  In reality, as I generally like to say, “Life happened.”

There was no resolution post, I think I might have made a list, but needless to say my follow through didn’t happen.  Overall 2017 was a good year, took a few trips, had a lot of fun things happen.  I mean I was living in Germany; it was always a good time.  In any case, this isn’t about that year, though I do have some great trips to reminisce about, but that’s for another day.  I really thought I would be able to continue a process of goals and making myself better.  After 2017 I didn’t do any resolutions.  I had a lot of things going on, which made me rethink the entire resolution thing.  The good thing about life and how I try to do things is that I always look for something new.  In walk one of my favorite people Chris Guillebeau and his annual review

The annual review is so much better than doing resolutions because it allows you to look back and then look forward.  I think I found about the annual review in 2018, when I first heard about it, I was enlightened.  The idea of the annual review is to find a way to keep yourself accountable.  I tried to do it at the end of 2018, again, life happened.  Now we are in 2021 and after the shit show that was 2020, I needed to keep myself accountable.

I was happy to read that Chris was doing his annual review and was reminding other to do it too.  You can read about his process, as well as do as he suggest.  There is Susannah Conway who I looked up and she created an excellent review packet of her own.  It really pushes you to look back and see what you want to do for the future.

With all of that, it’s time for me to review what happened to me in 2020.  I should mention that is the first part of the review.  You need to look back at what went well in your previous year, then you need to look see what didn’t go well.  Normally you would be doing this at the end of the year, but I’m behind.  The thing is though as Greg Roth tells you on his own review post at the beginning of 2020, that’s OK.  This review isn’t about the time that you do it.  Yes, it would be good to do the review at the end of the year, so you can set goals for yourself before your new year starts, but this is one of those better late than never situations.  I agree with the idea of, you can be reading this in June and start at that point.  Just get this going.

What Went Well in 2020

Finally Financially Stable

Now, yes, I know we are in the middle of a global pandemic.  No one can go out, or rather I should say that we aren’t advised to go out, but you must be able to find some positives somewhere.  The first thing I’m happy I can say is the fact that 2020 allowed me to get financially stable.  What does this mean?  In the 2017 resolution review, I talked about my debt.  My debt was one of the most crippling things.  It was my Achilles’ heel.  If I wanted to do something, if someone invited me out to do stuff, I would say yes, then proceed to put whatever it was on the credit card.  You know the thing you shouldn’t do, unless you are going to pay it off.  My debt was bad, I think it really hurt my ability to proceed in life with as well as stopped me expanding on other goals as well.

Anyhow, 2020 was the year that debt consolidation happened.  In about March or April anytime I had to pay for things on a credit card it has been paid off.  Now I’m looking for ways to get points on my credit card, as well as save money.  You know like an adult is supposed to do.  I mean, I’m not getting any younger, but life is different now and I’m happy to proclaim that my debt is under control.

All those travel photos, plus photoshop are going to use

I’m not trying to create a theme but staying in because of COVID really did make me review things, plus relearn things.  I traveled to 17 countries, while I lived in Germany, took a lot of pictures, as I’ve been reviewing, some were totally better than others.  In any case, I learned about different stock photography websites, where you can submit your photos, then get paid if anyone wants to purchase the photos.  This has been something that has truly been a learning process.  The biggest part of the process is knowing what will be accepted and what won’t be accepted.  I already knew I wasn’t a good photographer.  I think over the last I don’t know how many years I’ve said I was going to get better.

I’ve actually worked on it and I think I’m getting slightly better.  I’m not great, but I’m getting to a decent level.  With that being the case, this is where relearning photoshop, not to mention lightroom have helped.  Knowing how to use these things won’t completely fix really bad photos, but they will help fix minor things, where I’ve been able to submit things and they have been accepted.  Now the next thing is to get someone to purchase them.  That’s harder of course, but the way I see it is, if you provide something, then at least it can be found somewhere.  This is my plan for the photos I’m submitting.  It is going to be a, if you build it, they will come model.  Let’s see if this works out or not.

The stock market is still a thing

The great thing about becoming financially stable is the fact that I could get back into caring about the stock market.  I’ve always been someone who paid attention to the stock market.  I know companies, I know what some do.  I just had no money to invest.  That changed thanks to the pandemic and having a few more dollars.  I didn’t have a huge killing, but I was able to earn something.  This just makes my goal for 2021 to be higher and hopefully things will work out.

The stock market isn’t something that’s easy and you should be careful, but there are resources to utilize.  I’ve just decided to not be afraid of it.  If there is anything to know, you need to get yourself out and do stuff.  Not to mention, one of the best plans is to just get a good savings account and stock away money there, but interest rates for savings accounts are horrible, so none of have any chose but to invest in the market.

What didn’t go Well in 2020

Reading just isn’t my thing

I think every year I say I will read a certain number of books, then I end up accomplishing 1% of my goal.  Last year, I read 3 books, which is better than the previous year I think, but who knows.  I do like to justify this lack of reading books by pointing out I read articles in magazines, newspaper articles, and other random things.  However, reading books is important.  I was so bad I barely listened to any audio books too and I have an audible account just sitting around.  Figuring out when and how I was going to read is the biggest issue. 

Didn’t practice photography

Now I said that I found stock photography websites to post things, but with COVID, somehow my practicing and using my DSLR didn’t happen as much.  I somehow hit a creative wall with my camera.  I found myself using my iPhone more than anything, plus doing things on photoshop and lightroom.  I also decided I want a new camera, but a new camera isn’t cheap, especially when I want a pro model.  I’m going to figure this one out, so I can get better and product some amazing things in 2021 and beyond.

These are just some of the highlights of things that I feel could’ve gone better and did go well in 2020.  Some of these things might not seem all that good or bad, but I prefer to not complain about how I couldn’t travel.  Though I will mention I was supposed to go back to Germany in April, but of course that was totally canceled.  I can say I’m happy to say I did get refunded back for that flight.  This was after I had to reschedule it from another date originally that wasn’t going to happen.  Getting the refund back was the best thing that could’ve happened.  Especially after I was saying how happy I was to be financially stable and all.

Thanks for reading this part of my review, the next part is the goals for 2021.  Even with everything going on, I want to make this one a constructive and memorable one.  We know all of the problems we have, but we have to work on the things we can control and make them better.

This entry was posted in: Coronavirus, Life
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I like to travel. I love to try new things, meet interesting people and most of all learn. I’m Jacob K. Thomas. This site was created with the idea that I wanted to share my time in Germany and beyond. Now I've left Germany. I'm back in America on the West coast in Washington state. This isn’t supposed to be your typical travel page. I love to cook and eat, so along with the trips I've taken and will be taking, I will throw out a few tasty treats along the way, OK so this might be your typical travel page. Come along the way with me, I know you will enjoy everything. I frankly don’t see why you wouldn’t. Enjoy my travels, food, and let me know what you think. Feedback is what makes us all better. Oh, one more thing. I am always interested in hearing from those who come to this site. If you would like to leave me a comment, get information about where I am going, or anything like that, please contact me using the information below.

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