As we end 2016, it seems to once again mimic the other 20+ NYE’s as I gather my thoughts introspectively and digest the happenings of the past 365 days quietly at home. And it’s definitely been an eventful year which built upon the lessons learned in 2015. Even as I review and compare my present self to the one from a year ago, I can tell things are changing and continue to change around me. Which is definitely a good thing, as a stagnant life leads no where, and it’s the ever turning uncertainty of life that keeps us on our feet.
School/academically/career wise was definitely saw the most development of all. As I ended 2015, I was going through my clinicals, and for better or worse, April 2016 will be a lasting memory for me. In the sense that that’s one of the new scars I’ll carry forward because of how much of a whirlwind experience that was. Even as I was studying for my boards, or when I’ve some down time, I get occasional flashbacks of getting berated for this or that, and then, shudders.
But, with the low points of the education process, there comes the high lights. Finally completing clinicals mid-May. Graduating in June. Taking and passing the boards to officially becoming a licensed PTA in October. Getting hired and starting my first full time job in November. It’s all come as a welcome sigh of relief after treading the various wandering path I’ve been on since… graduating high school, really. I’ve never been happier to have an obligation that requires all my time. Sure, school gives you a lot of free time, but you also have a lot of time that’s dedicated to studying outside of school hours. As opposed to work, where you clock in, clock out, and the rest of the time is yours. Good stuff.
Other fun events happened too. Snowboarding in Jan. Hopping on a little sail boat in Feb with some school friends. A couple shows in the first half of the year (that’s something I’d like to continue building on). Various hikes here and there. A half marathon in Sept (gotta not let that be a one time thing). Weekend in Mammoth. And various nights out drinking (not past the point of no return, but a drink or two or three).These little things sprinkled about help add spice and flavor to living.
I also recently wrote about the credit cards/mileage hobby I’ve gotten into, which has allowed me to stockpile points for future trips, and augment my current trips with lounge access. And that’s already starting to pay dividends, as I’ve 2 little (domestic) trips booked for March already. Maybe 2017 will be the year of exploring more of the US as opposed to int’l trips?
2016 also included 2 big trips; one of which was a solo trip (#DL2EUR16) booked like 3 weeks in advance, and a group trip (#DL2GER16) for about a week in duration. Two trips, two different feels to the trips (solo vs group, duh), but overlapping with Germany on the list. It’s always fun to visit Germany (x3 now, with 07, 16, and 16). And I feel like my thoughts on the two trips were fleshed out in their respective blog series. Too bad a friend I went with is no longer interested in talking except for trip $$$ stuff.
As you get older, one of the more important things you can do is invest. Of course, there’s the practical sense of investing in yourself via fitness and financial independence for your future self, but the more social sense of investing in people and memories that don’t quite have a tangible feel. I’ve gotten into a profession that requires a lot of investing into the patients, with the obvious sense of being vested into their physical well-being, but also their mental/emotional health secondary to their physical impairments. And there’s actually a little surprising amount of similarity between this PTA field and the experience I had in the youth working days with HS kids at church. The biggest problem is making sure you don’t burn out, so that’s something to keep an eye on moving forward.
This is also the first year (I guess of the rest of my years) where I have to take into account savings and financial goals and the like, thanks to finally starting to join the working class. It’s a tough long road ahead for saving towards… a new car, a new house, checking and savings, 401k’s, IRAs, investments, and the like, and it almost seems overwhelming what with how much money you have to squirrel away. Using math from just working my full time job, at 1/3 gone to taxes, it’d take over 20 years to accumulate $1MM. Short term goals first then, I guess.
My recap for 2015 said I was riding a wave of optimism going into this year, eager to see what new and exciting things would unfold. A lot has happened in 2016 that has had a definite impact of who I am, and here’s hoping to continued growth in all aspects moving forward with 2017. With which I guess the new year brings a feel of expectations unraveling as opposed to optimism from last year.