Sixteen and Seventeen

At the end of the year, I always try to write a little retrospective blog that highlights all the awesome things that happened. It's one of the few times that I actually take the time to write on this weird little site anymore.

But, I didn't do that retrospective for one of the seemingly raddest and most successful years of my life: 2016.

It took a while, but I eventually realized that despite the rad experiences, I didn't write about 2016 because I was generally unhappy. Over the past couple years, I've been stuck in my head. Overly critical, anxious and destroying myself with perfectionism, etc.

I was straight depressed.

In 2017, I came to terms with that and took a step back to work on fixing things. Through that process, I've been growing a ton, unexpectedly learning a lot more about myself and am becoming much happier.

So, for my own benefit, and hopefully not to sound like a braggert (because these last 2 years have actually been v badass), here's how things have gone...

We sold our first home.

We moved into a new home that I've been renovating the shit out of. It's a project that's consumed a good portion of our time (and much of my sanity), but it's taught me a lot and is shaping up to be a pretty rad space.

We went to Munich, Germany to pick up my dream car and drove it across the country - through the Black Forest, the Austrian Alps, Switzerland, and even on the Nurburgring.

I got to take a driving course at the BMW Performance center in South Carolina and then drive home across the smokey mountains (with a quick detour for the Tail of the Dragon, of course).

I drove in my first autocross event and ... didn't get last place.

Did horribly, but had a lot of fun in a Road Rally with Kari.

Started getting a lot more art and even got a giant mural painted in our home.

We got our first TV and watched the Cubs win the World Series on it. We also watched Donald Trump win the presidency, but... ya win some, ya lose some, I guess.

I got a lot more tattoos. A giant wolf head, the words "Left Lane," a cardinal, a train, a rose, a ram skull, an eagle, and a tibetan skull.

We got Kari her dream car.

I decided to focus more on health, which led to my first doctor check up and physical in over half of my life.

As a result, I started going to therapy (both physical and mental) to keep bettering myself. Both have been amazing.

I also joined a gym to start doing Yoga and really love it.

I shot my first AR-15 and 9mm handguns.

We hosted a lot of parties, including our first Thanksgiving.

I learned how to surf and ate a lot of amazing food with Kari in Nicaragua.

I saw a lot of concerts... Metallica, NIN, Ween, The Flaming Lips, NoFx, Andrew WK, Chevy Metal, Rob Zombie, The Misfits, The Queers, Ministry, Danzig, Wu-Tang, Naughty By Nature, Peaches, Devin the Dude, Reel Big Fish, Gogol Bordello, Vic Mensa, Gwar, MIA, MGMT, Charles Bradley, Tech N9ne, Gucci Mane, Griz, Prof, Psalm One, $uicide boy$, etc

A lot of these were at festivals like Riot Fest, 80/35, and 515 alive.

I also saw my first burlesque show, went to my first Rocky Horror play, got to see my first drive-in movie. and also got to see my first NHL game (The Blackhawks, of course).

I was lucky enough to get to a couple more Cubs games with friends.

I visited Asia for the first time. Got to see Tokyo, Singapore, Bangkok, and Jakarta with some great friends. It was the furthest East and South that I'd ever been. My first time below the equator!

Some of my best buddies and I celebrated a 40th birthday in Vegas.

We also went to a couple more Bock Fests in Minnesota.

I went on a couple tent "camping" trips to clear lake with some old friends and did some cabin "camping" near my college for homecoming.

I took lots of trips to Chicago for fun, events, weddings, and work.

Work also brought me to San Jose for the first time.

There were several trips to the Quad Cities to visit family and friends and, of course, Tug Fest.

We spent our first warm weather Christmas in Arizona with Kari's family and then got to visit her brother for my first time in San Diego.

...It's a bit odd to reflect on all of that and to think that for a good chunk of it, you weren't really happy, but brains are weird, I guess...

It's also refreshing to look back and realize that I've done a lot of pretty cool shit and obviously have much to be happy about. It's even better that I got to experience so much of that with my amazing wife, friends and family.

For 2018, I'm hoping for a continued focus on health as well as seeing and building a lot more.

I'm really looking forward to this year.

Here are a few more quick stats for 2016 and 2017.
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