I love a good annual review. And I love data and stats. So it made sense to put together a non-exhaustive review of the past year. Part random, part thoughtful, what follows are a few snapshots of my experiences in 2018. I’m so thankful for Stacey, my kids, my work and the Fishhook team, and for all that is yet to come. I’m looking forward to a new year, in part because of taking time to be grateful for the good and the hard from the past year. It all belongs and all is grace.
59,697 MINUTES OF MUSIC PLAYED ON SPOTIFY
I’ve reached the same point with Spotify that I have with Netflix – my kids are taking over and my “favorites” and recommendations are slowly taking on a split personality. I listened to a lot of Foy Vance, Lauren Daigle, Sleeping at Last, and a playlist comprised entirely of songs with my favorite drumbeat. But then my kids also listened to a lot of Greatest Showman, Phineas and Ferb, and their bedtime playlist (including a Sara Groves song they’ve fallen asleep to for essentially the last seven years). I also happened to make 18 Christmas playlists this year (I may have a problem).
It all adds up to 994 hours or 41 days worth of listening in 2018.
A FEW FAVORITE PODCASTS
There are too many podcasts in this world—can everyone just stop making great new episodes so I can catch up?!?! Apparently, I listened to approximately 34,000 minutes of podcasts in 2018–which is about 23.5 days.
I’m due for a bigger post on amazing episodes and podcast rankings, but for now, here are a few podcasts that stand out when I think back through 2018:
FAVORITE DOCUMENTARIES + NETFLIX
And because streaming has created another endless flow of content, here are some of my favorite documentaries I watched in 2018:
Jim & Andy (Jim Carrey)
The Final Year (Obama foreign policy team)
Won’t You Be My Neighbor (Mr. Rogers)
Everything is Copy (Nora Ephron)
May it Last (Avett Brothers)
And a few things from Netflix can’t go without mention:
11 STATES VISITED (and two countries)
Between work and family vacations, I was fortunate to see a good stretch of the country in 2018. Work took me to Michigan, Pennsylvania, Tennesee, and more. Family vacations took us to Disney World (and the Bahamas for a minute!) as well as Colorado to see family at Thanksgiving. No new states for me in 2019 (currently holding at 42 visited), but still thankful for the opportunity to see some beautiful places for work and play.
78 VISITS TO COFFEE SHOPS
My go-to coffee shop is The Caffeinery. It’s a local gem in downtown Muncie. When I’m working from home, I usually start out my here. Great people, lively community, and wi-fi! I don’t drink coffee, but have developed a strong tea habit. Plus they have great homemade apple fritters and make some incredible seasonal cakes and confectionaries! (And if that wasn’t great enough, Stacey got me a fancy Caffeinery mug for Christmas. She’s the best!) This was the fewest coffee shop visits (by quite a few) since 2014.
29 FREAKY FAST DELIVERS FROM JIMMY JOHNS
I’m not a morning person, so it’s all too tempting to not pack lunch when I head to the office and then just have JJ’s bring me a tasty sandwich in a shockingly short amount of time. It’s kind of a thing at our office, too. Once every two weeks (roughly) isn’t too much, is it?
626 PLAYS OF “THE SPEECH” PODCAST
This was a story I had always wanted to share with a broader audience. So in April, when I decided to put together some audio of the impromptu speech Bobby Kennedy gave in Indianapolis on the night MLK was assassinated, I felt good just to put it out there. I never expected it would be listened to more than 600 times. And the one iTunes review I got was icing on the cake: “That was dope. I hope there’s more.” It’s available in all the normal podcast places, so you can still listen.
91 HEADSPACE SESSIONS & 2 FLOAT SESSIONS
In January of 2018, I bought a subscription to Headspace, a meditation and mindfulness app I had previously tested out for a month. They continue to add new sessions and features and I have to say it’s awesome. I wasn’t as consistent as I had hoped, but I’ve picked up some very helpful skills for dealing with stress, anxiety, and a mind that tends to constantly spin. The app was essential when I experienced some legit panic attacks in August.
I also experienced a float tank for the first time in 2018. Also known as a “sensory deprivation tank,” you get into this pod with about 16-inches of salt water that allows you to effortlessly float. Close the lid, pop in the ear plugs, and you get a 90-minute session of total isolation. Complete darkness, no sound, and barely any physical sensations since the air and water match your skin temperature. It was a wild experience.
647,000 WORDS READ IN THE POCKET APP
It’s my go to “save to read later” app. Using the mobile app and the Chrome browser extension, I save articles, posts, and videos to catch up on when I have some down time. This is the 6th year in a row I’ve been in the top 5% of Pocket readers.
ONE OF 16 FINALISTS FOR THE SCHOOL BOARD
File this under “most unexpected development” for 2018. When Ball State University was given the authority to take over/manage Muncie Community Schools, they were also given the responsibility to appoint a new seven-person school board. There was an application process, and having some desire to make a difference locally and offer up fresh thinking, I put my hat in the ring. 88 others did the same, and they whittled the list down to 16 candidates. Entirely to my surprise, I was one of the 16 finalists who were then invited to participate in a public forum. This was the final step before the recommendation from the Ball State President determined the new school board. I wasn’t selected, but it was a fascinating experience and made me realize I need/want to continue looking for ways to contribute to the local community.
2 BOUSES ON THE BOARD FOR MUNCIE FELLOWS
Stacey and I are both excited to be joining the advisory board for an exciting new program called Muncie Fellows. I’ll be helping with communications and Stacey will focus on finances. The Fellows will welcome 10-12 recent college graduates each year, giving them a intensely practical nine-month leadership program that equips college graduates to live out their faith in every area of life. They’ll get an internship, serve in the local community weekly, take classes on calling and vocation, and be paired up with a mentor and host family. We’re just getting started, but the potential for impact is already very high. Learn more at munciefellows.com.
9 ORGANIZATIONS INVESTED IN BY GIVING
A friend of mine wrote a book this year called, Where Am I Giving?, and made a great point: people regularly post when they buy a new car or house or phone, but why don’t we share when we give or donate just as openly? We’re probably worried about being seen as bragging or getting on our high horse. But what if we more openly talked about where and why we give our money, time, and resources? Detailing specific amounts probably isn’t wise (or necessary), but perhaps having a more open conversation in this area can spark us all to be more generous, to give more regularly, and to develop a more generous circle of friends and community.
SOME OF OUR FAVORITE PHOTOS FROM 2018
click to see full-size images