The Year That Was

Considering everything that has dominated the headlines around the world this year, one might best describe 2018 as a glorious dumpster fire fueled by the antics of an orange bloviating toddler and those who would emulate his example (or at least be emboldened by it). And yet, despite all of the awful things we’ve read or heard in the news, I end this year inspired by the actions of students and colleagues who work to make the world a better place, and who have helped me reach some of the goals I set in the early days of 2018.

So how’d I actually do with the goals I’d set out with at the beginning of the year (which you can find here)? As always, it’s a mixed bag, partially because life happens and partially because priorities change. Also, perhaps because I’m lazy (which pretty much explains why I haven’t accomplished much in the way of exercise). Whatever the case, it seems to me that 2018 turned out to be a rather good year.

  • One of my Oh So Lofty Goals and my Not So Lofty Goals for 2018 was to write more, mostly because it keeps me grounded, but also because it reminds me of what I’ve done as I tend to forget all the things. This particular goal included publishing five peer-reviewed papers, as well as a lot of blog writing. While I didn’t quite hit the five paper goal (only two have been published), there are six that are currently in the peer-review process1. And as for blog posts, so far this year I’ve published 155 posts between this blog and my professional one (which was recently syndicated by Science Borealis – woohoo) and an additional 61 posts between the University of Guelph’s PSEER and School of Computer Science websites. I also started a new blog for the wireless mobile mesh project and updated the ICON website. Excluding the University websites, my various blogs were viewed over 26 thousand times (an increase of 23% over 2017). Not too shabby, if I do say so myself
  • Given that travel represents such an important part of my life, I’m happy to say that for the fifth year in a row, I’ve managed to travel more than the circumference of the earth in one year2. Part of these travels included a return trip to China and New York City, several trips to Rigolet, first-time visits to Taiwan3, Nunavut4, and Boston, and numerous trips to the east and west coasts of Canada. Granted, I travelled less than I expected to this year and fewer kilometres than last year. Regardless, my travels still had me away from Guelph for at least 113 days. Fortunately, I expect 2019 to be much the same.
  • I began the year with the idea that I was going to try to raise $1000 per month for charity. This doesn’t mean that I was going to donate that amount, but that I would work to somehow raise money for various groups and events (as well as donate). I don’t have the exact dollar amount, but if I allow a soon to be announced (sometime in 2019) but confirmed donation to be listed as part of this year’s efforts, I have almost tripled this goal.
  • Increasing my net worth by 30% seemed a little crazy when I first wrote it down, but due to some rather fortunate and ultimately out of my control events, I actually crushed this goal. I’m going to aim for a more modest and I believe realistic increase in 2019.
  • As I wrote in my previous post, reading more for fun was a big goal of 2018. Thanks to my sabbatical, I managed to complete this goal while reading some rather great books.
  • Also detailed in a previous post, I managed to cook more. This included learning how to make bread; something I plan to do more frequently once my kitchen is put back together.
  • And on the topic of my kitchen renovation – this was only possible because I managed to purge 2 of the remaining 3 closets. It also, however, means that my goal of finally installing trim on the main floor will be slightly delayed until the bulk of the renovations are complete. The goals related to upstairs renovations will also wait until the main floor is finished, but with any luck, this will happen before the end of 2019.
  • Lastly, my goal of going on more dates in 2018 has also been achieved. But that’s probably a story for another blog post.

Beyond all of the goals that I started the year with, my 2018 was full of weird and wonderful things. From being featured on the School of Batman podcast, giving interviews to both BBC World Radio and Motherboard, presenting invited talks around the world, learning about the successful Mitacs grant application (complete with a congratulatory note from the Prime Minister of Canada), and watching three of my MSc students successfully defend their theses, it has been an incredibly rewarding year. And once again, I got to proudly watch as so many of the students I work with were given various awards, scholarships, and grants – I’m looking at you Nic, Brandon, Frazer, Keefer, Marshall, Joel, Jamey, Michael, Chris, Danielle, and Jarrett. I somehow also managed to fit in another skydiving adventure and I went bungee jumping for the first (but definitely not the last) time.

The year was clearly packed and full of all sorts of amazing things. I hope your year was as rewarding and fun, and here’s to an even better 2019.

Happy New Year!


1 I don’t know if they will be published in 2019 or not, as the peer-review process can take some time, but I feel pretty good about this result.

2 It’s also the fourth year in a row that I’ve travelled more than twice the circumference of the earth in one year!

3 Representing the only new (to me) country that I visited this year. Not quite the five new countries I wanted to visit, but it’s better than zero.

4 A new to me Canadian territory. Woohoo!

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