I can't believe I let an entire year pass without a single blog post! Really dropped the ball on that one. Ironically, though, 2021 was the first year of my life that I feel like I made the most of every single day--from the time I woke up to the time I went to sleep. Because of this time management I was able to accomplish quite a few goals and experience many amazing things, and this blog post will consist of reflections on the work I put in and the results I saw because of it. This might feel like I'm stroking my own ego (which admittedly I probably am a little bit), but the real aim is to simply share what has worked for me in 2021: the year when I felt the most proud of myself.
Before I dive into my efforts, I want to simply list off my favorite achievements and experiences from the past year--get the real ego-strokey stuff out of the way up front. For achievements I created some of my strongest artwork to date, including Death by Meditation, Beauty in the Struggle, Death by Meditation, and Give and Receive Love. I also sold more art than any year prior, and *started* valuing myself and my artwork as a professional artist should. My hard work in the art world also paid off when applying for graduate school, as I was accepted into one of the best animation schools in the world with scholarships to cover about 40 percent of the tuition. Along similar academic lines, I was able to present my comic book at local and national conferences, and had professors teach it in both graduate-level and freshman-level college classes. As for work, I am currently under consideration for a potentially massive raise at my full-time job, I helped develop and implement groundbreaking pedagogy in my first part-time job (which I got to present about at a state conference), and I have got to work with professors conducting cutting-edge research at the University of Wyoming for my second part-time job. All of this, and I met my goal of running 700 miles this year.
As for experiences, I summited a few mountains; I traveled to Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Louisiana; I visited Meow Wolf in Santa Fe and Denver; I saw two of the best concerts of my life--Tipper, and Opiuo and Clozee (both at Red Rocks); I gave a killer best man speech at one of my best friend's wedding; and, most importantly, I spent a ton of time with new and old friends alike. I'm sure I'm missing a few things, but if you've read this far I imagine you're sick of hearing about them. So onto the good stuff.
When it comes to achieving goals, I've found that my day-to-day habits contribute to success more than any grand single day or week effort--and 2021 is the first time in my life I followed a daily routine to a tee. Every morning I'd wake up at 8 and run for thirty minutes, meditate for 15, stretch for 45, shower, cook, and read while I eat. I'd start work at noon and bust my ass all day, using any downtime to get better at the software we offer (especially Unity and Blender). After getting off at 9 I'd come home and do homework or draw. That's Sunday through Thursday. Fridays and Saturdays (and sometimes lunch breaks on the rest of the days) were designated part-time job days, and if I didn't have any work to do on those days I'd use them for long-distance (10 mile-plus) runs. Every second of every day, with rare exceptions, was accounted for--if not with one of the aforementioned activities, then with preparing grad school applications or with hiking or with something else productive. In 2021 I spent as little time sitting on my ass playing video games or watching TV as I ever have, and I believe it was my daily dedication to growth that really allowed me to take strides towards the person I dream of becoming.
Anyone can get up and grind every now and then, but to do it every single day takes a special kind of determination--a determination that I myself never practiced before this year. I can't tell you how many days I ran until my feet bled. I can't tell you how many weekends I decided not to go out with friends. I can't tell you how many ulcers formed in my mouth from overwork and sleep deprivation. But I can tell you that I gave as much of myself as possible to kicking 2021's ass, and that I am as proud of myself as I have ever been.