A Past Year Review (PYR) is used to plan the next year by looking back on the past year. During this review, you examine the people, activities, and commitments that produce the most positive and negative emotions. You use this information to map out the new year by adding positive experiences to your calendar and eliminating negative ones.
This will be my fourth year doing a PYR. However, I could only find two past editions on the website. I remember doing one in 2018 but must have not published it. See below for the older PYRs:
This year’s PYR was more challenging than the previous years. I stopped writing in my planner in August, which left a four month gap in the review. Thankfully, I started writing Morning Pages in April and had those journal entries to plug in the holes. This made the PYR process longer because I was reading two written pages for each day instead of scanning the calendar for notable events. However, the review was more insightful as I got to examine my thoughts from the last half of 2020.
What caused the most positive emotions?
Hanging out in person - Coronavirus and social distancing made seeing friends and family in person almost non-existent this past year. However, the few gatherings that did happen reminded me how important it is to socialize in person. I caught up with a friend outside her apartment while dropping off a gift. I attended a small outdoor barbeque in my friend’s driveway for his birthday. I also enjoyed my mom’s home cooking during special occasions.
Engagement - I made one of the biggest commitments of my life this past year. I proposed to my fiance during our two year anniversary. I consulted with my fiance, parents, and close friends before making the decision. I spent a bunch of time researching the engagement ring and planning the proposal. I am glad that everything worked out and that I am moving forward in life with a wonderful person.
Thor - I’m not talking about the hammer welding superhero. Thor is my fiance’s Jack Russell Terrier. He started living with my fiance a few months into the pandemic. I got a crash course in pet ownership. I experienced the responsibility and joy of taking care of a furry companion. My home life revolved around Thor’s feeding and pooping schedule. I taught him a new trick last year and smile every time he performs it.
Thor posing in his business suit
Anti-racist bookclub - The George Floyd shooting exposed the systemic racism inherent in American institutions. Many thousands of people across the country took to the streets in protest of these inequalities. Several of my friends from Teach For America started an anti-racist bookclub to learn more about racism in America. I joined this book club last summer. I now feel more aware of the systems in place that favor white Americans. I also get to keep in contact with my friends through monthly Zoom meetings.
Starting a podcast - My friend and I started a podcast about our fantasy football league this last August. We did everything remotely with free tools. We planned out the episodes on Google Docs, recorded the audio with Zoom, edited the audio in Audacity, and shared the episodes through Google Drive.
This was a great learning experience for me. I improved my public speaking by hearing myself talk. I also learned how to edit and mix audio with Audacity and Pro Tools First.
Sports Betting and Cards - I expanded my love of professional sports by diving into sports betting and cards over the last months of the year. I got back into sports betting during the football season. I wanted to parlay my fantasy football research into picking winners. I fell into a rabbit hole studying predictive football models, probabilities, and data scraping.
I got obsessed with sports cards after watching an Instagram Live video featuring Jason Concepion and Josh Luber. I had no idea that sports cards were worth so much money. I was blown away by the complexity of the hobby. I got familiar with terms like grading, break groups, gem mint, and RPA.
What caused the most negative emotions?
Granblue Fantasy - I dumped over 700 hours in Granblue Fantasy (GBF) during April to October of this past year. GBF is a mobile JRPG with collectible characters, weapons, and summons. I was obsessed with the progression and systems in this game.
I always felt guilty after playing this game; I believed there were better ways to spend my time. Getting stronger and killing bigger bosses always felt great. But there wasn’t anything more than that. I am not picking up skills or creating a shared experience with others.
I stopped playing the game in November. My interest moved onto fantasy football and the podcast. I didn’t have extra time or attention to spare on the game.
Blending of Days - Throughout the summer, I felt like my days blended together. I was doing the same thing day after day. It didn’t matter if it was a weekday or weekend. I would walk the dog, eat breakfast, jump on my computer for 8 to 9 hours, eat dinner, watch TV or get back on the computer, and go to bed. It all seemed pointless and I was not experiencing much joy.
My fiance noticed it and tried to help me out of the funk. It could have been mild depression but I am not sure as I did not seek professional help.
I snapped out of it in September. I credit the return of sports with the NBA Bubble and NFL season. I was engrossed in writing a NBA newsletter, producing fantasy football podcasts, and creating sports betting spreadsheets. These creative projects added variety and excitement to my days.
IT Support - I wear multiple hats at my small engineering firm. One of those hats is IT support. 80% of the time this part of the job creates no friction. I set up new computers for the other engineers and support staff. I also answer questions about blue screens and software updates.
However, with remote work, IT support was a nightmare this past year. I lost my cool when explaining how to access our network drives remotely to one of our employees. I believed he did not read any of the instructions or made an attempt to fix the issue. There were two other employees who were able to complete the task with the same set of instructions. The tech issue was sorted out but it produced a lot of negative emotions.
Cancelled Japan trip - My friends and I planned a bachelor’s party in Japan during March 2020. We decided to cancel just days before the trip due to COVID. We were all disappointed that we couldn’t celebrate together. But we recognized that it was the right decision.
I had a hard time making the decision to cancel. I was stressed about the possibility of being stuck overseas. I was also worried about the quality and cost of healthcare in a foregin country. I was waiting for the government to make the decision for me instead of taking matters into my own hands.
What have I planned next year?
YouTube Videos - My interest in audio production has led to an interest in video production. I will be working with my podcast co-host on this project. We plan to produce at least 10 videos within the next 3 months on YouTube. These videos will be centered on sports cards. I am excited to learn more about video editing and cinematography.
Fantasy Football Podcasts - My friend and I plan to resume the fantasy football podcast at the start of the 2021 NFL season. We plan to publish the podcast on Spotify, Apple, and other podcast platforms. This will introduce more accountability and professionalism into the project. I’m looking forward to new challenges and learning opportunities.
Blog posts - My interest in crafting audio and video stories bleeds into writing. I plan to write more this year. I have a backlog of story ideas and want to execute this year. The goal is to publish a new post every week. I was able to do this in 2018 and hope to do it again in 2021.
Wedding - Last year’s engagement was only the first step in the marriage process. My fiance and I plan to get married on 3/6/2021 with a small intimate wedding. I am sure there will be many logistical challenges, especially with the pandemic. However, this process will be a preview of the many trials of marriage.
Return to normal (?) - The COVID vaccine is currently available to first responders and healthcare employees. The indications are that they will make their way to high risk people during the spring. The rest of the US population would get it in early summer. If this is true, we would be looking at a return to normal in the second half of the year. I am excited to eat at restaurants, see my friends, and possibly visit another country. At this point, I would be glad just to visit another island in Hawaii. Here’s to hoping that timeline holds up.