With the year coming to a close, I thought I would spend a bit of time reflecting on this past year. Be forewarned, this is more of a personal post rather than a personal finance one. I do have a financial 2016/2017 post in the works, but that won’t come out until maybe the first week of January. So without further ado, here are some of my thoughts on the year that was 2016.
News and Other Current Events
This year will go down as probably one of the worst in regards to celebrity deaths. It’s quite sad. This is just a partial list of those who passed away this year:
- Carrie Fisher: I grew up watching the original Star Wars trilogy. I always thought it was cool that the character of Princess Leia wasn’t really a “damsel in distress” but rather a strong female character that could kick some major ass.
- George Michael: Wham! Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go, Faith, Careless Whisper, Father Figure, Last Christmas. So many good songs, so many memories (especially of the 80’s).
- Alan Thicke: Growing Pains was one of my favorite TV shows. As you can tell, I’m a child of the 80’s.
- Arnold Palmer: Probably my dad’s favorite golfer. He also has a beverage named after him.
- Gene Wilder: Hands down the best Willy Wonka.
- Muhammad Ali: Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. I still remember my dad talking about the Thrilla in Manila and how amazing a fight it was. I also remember watching him light the Olympic cauldron in Atlanta in 1996.
- Prince: One of the most iconic musicians and performers ever. His songs are still awesome to this very day. He was even able to teach us some money lessons.
- Alan Rickman: Although most will probably think of him as Severus Snape from the Harry Potter movies, I’ll always remember him as Hans Gruber from Die Hard. Probably one of the best movie villains ever… well-dressed, sophisticated, intelligent, charismatic. He made Die Hard all the more awesome.
- David Bowie: Nothing more needs to be said.
- And more: Craig Sager (TV sports personality), John Glenn (astronaut), Jose Fernandez (MLB pitcher), Gordie Howe (hockey great), Joan Laurer (Chyna from the then WWF), Malik Taylor aka Phife Dawg (musician, A Tribe Called Quest), Nancy Reagan (former first lady), Glenn Frey (musician, Eagles), Maurice White (musician, Earth, Wind & Fire), and more…
In other news, volatility dominated the financial markets early in the year, particularly in February when the S&P 500 was down about 10%. All the talking heads said that we were undoubtedly headed toward a bear market or recession. Didn’t happen. There was also Brexit and the certain catastrophic effect it would have on the markets. While it did cause a temporary drop in the various indices, both domestic and international, it certainly wasn’t the financial Armageddon that it was talked up to be.
There was also this little thing called the Presidential Election of 2016. You might have heard of it. I don’t like talking politics and will keep this blog apolitical, so that’s all I’m going to say about that.
Personal Year in Review
My wife and I were able to do some traveling during the year. We try to find medical conferences in great locations since we both get reimbursed for these, up to a certain amount, by our employers. In February we went to an Emergency Medicine conference in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. It was several days of lectures and workshops for a few hours, then skiing and snowboarding for the rest of the day. How fun! We were also able to go to an Internal Medicine conference in Las Vegas. And while we both have been to Vegas before, it was a much more enjoyable experience knowing that travel and hotel accommodations were paid for by my wife’s employer. We did have a trip planned for Greece in October, but we had to cancel that as my wife would have been in the third trimester of her pregnancy at the time.
Speaking of which, I became a father just a few short weeks ago. So far it’s been awesome. Tiring, but a great experience. He’s already grown so much in just the past three weeks!
I also started a blog. Finally. It only took me several months to do so. And while I’m not the greatest writer, so far I’ve found it to be a positive experience. I still remember the feeling of jubilation and excitement when I got my very first page view! Since then, readership has gradually increased. I’m thankful for that, as well as for the regular readers and commenters that I’ve interacted with.
Personal Goals for 2017
At this point, I do have a few personal goals in mind for the coming year.
- Be a good father and husband: I have such an amazing wife and son (and dog). I want to be the best father and husband that I can for them not only next year, but for the many years to come as a family. I want to be there for my wife through all the ups and downs of parenthood. I want to be there for my son as he grows up, starts crawling, starts walking, and starts talking.
- Live healthy: I’m rather fortunate in that I have no major health problems (at the moment) even though I have not been living the healthiest lifestyle since residency. I don’t want to take my health for granted anymore. I want to exercise more than I have been with a goal of three times a week. I don’t even need to join a gym. I live in sunny California, so outdoor activities such as biking, running, and hiking are all viable options pretty much throughout the year. I already have a bike. I just need to get on it.
- Continue to blog: I want to continue blogging and contributing to the personal finance community. I also want to make this blog “official” with an actual domain name and not just a free WordPress site. I plan to do this by the end of January. At the moment, I’ve been posting about once a week on average. I’d like to get up to at least two posts per week by the middle of the coming year. I also want to expand my social media exposure, which currently is zilch. My plan is to first start off with a Twitter account once my blog becomes “official”, then expand to a Facebook page. Should be fun/interesting.
If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed some of my personal thoughts and reflections on the past year. Stay tuned for my 2016/2017 year in personal finance review/preview coming up early next year. Until then, enjoy the last few days of 2016. And here’s to a happy and healthy 2017!!