Christmas Letter 2019

What a year it has been!

At the end of December 2018, I decided that I would challenge myself this year to track my calories and make sure I ate less than one million calories. It was a fun challenge, at first, and then the grind set in. I managed to keep tracking, but the real spirit of the challenge was lost along the way. In 2019, I plan on doing shorter challenges, but always focused on improving my physical and mental health.

We are still living in Kingston, in the same apartment that we first moved into when we came back here in early 2017. In less than two months, we will have been here for three years. This is one of the longest times in recent memory where I’ve stayed in one spot, and not only is it a record for not moving, but also for my career. I’ve been with PressTitan almost two and a half years, and it is officially my longest single continuous job.

Speaking of PressTitan, it is doing rather well. I still love what I do, and working with my co-founder, David, continues to be great. I feel like we continue to fill any gaps that the other has and we work well to keep us both from going too far off track with our creative ideas. We are growing, albeit slower than we would have liked, and we are constantly learning and improving our processes. We are definitely more ready today for a jump in clientele than we have ever been before.

We have some ideas of how to make 2020 our best year yet, but as we all know, ideas are easy, execution is hard. There isn’t a week that goes by where I don’t think to myself, “I hope I get to do this forever…”

One of the coolest things from this year is that I finally got to meet David in person. Annie and I went to the Philippines for three weeks. It was amazing. The more I travel, the more I feel connected to the world and grateful for the opportunities I’ve had. There is nothing better than expecting a huge amount of culture shock, only to realize that even on the other side of the planet, people are mostly the same.

I will say that the outlook of the average Filipino on our North American style of life made us laugh more than once. More than once we were told that they think that the treadmill we put ourselves on with acquiring stuff and having larger and larger bills we are required to pay is dumb.

Luna, our dog, continues to be a huge joy bringer in our lives. As it gets cold outside, her washroom breaks have us a little exhausted from the winter weather already, but her demeanor, intelligence, and more has really improved our lives. It was hard leaving her with family during our big trips this year, but we super appreciated the opportunities that our family’s care of her afforded us.

I said trips with an “S”, didn’t I? We also went to Florida this past summer. One of Annie’s nieces and one of her nephews, both adults, both able to drive, came with us. We drove down and back as quick as we could, taking shifts and going through any kind of weather so that we could enjoy as much time in Florida as possible. We went to Universal Studios, and did a few other activities to fill the time. Mostly, we enjoyed the beautiful weather, scenery and just getting away.

Two of the major highlights for me were seeing people. I got to meet a younger friend of mine that I play video games with. His family welcomed Annie and I in like we were their own, and his dad took us out to an air boat ride. It was a great visit. The second person that I got to see was a boss of mine from a previous company I worked at. She was a strong mentor to me, despite how short of a time we got to work together. She helped me refine my sense of order and build some true project management skills. She wasn’t afraid to highlight my shortcomings or compliment me on the things I did right. It has always been very powerful to me that I got to experience that, and so it was amazing to be able to spend time with her. We went to a fondue restaurant that was amazing, but probably a once in a lifetime thing as it was fairly expensive.

The medicine the doctor prescribed for my depression has continued to work well. It has helped me maintain a good control over my emotions and that has given me the energy to manage my anxiety a bit more.

My personal blog finally got over the 1,000 post mark. I didn’t do as much writing for myself as I had hoped, neither on my blog or my creative writing projects. Most of my time and focus has been on work more than anything else. I did make some progress on The Forgotten Vanir first draft, but it isn’t done yet and doesn’t look like it’ll get completed until sometime in late 2020.

Annie finished a successful year at St. Lawrence College working on her Bachelor’s of Psychology and entered her second year of the program. She is excited to continue forward and has continued to develop and cultivate friendships at the school.

We’ve also been spending more time with my family. Going to my aunt and uncle’s place for dinner around three times a month seems to be the new norm. I love visiting with them and they make such great food. I hope we get to continue spending time with them often in 2020.

In 2018, I also found the confidence, in part thanks to Annie, to start working on changing my name. I have assumed the name Malcolm for more than a year and a half at this point and feel good about it. I have the paperwork pretty much complete to make it a legal name change, but things like travelling and other things have come up that have delayed the change. It will happen in 2020! I hate needing to remember which name I’m using for what… That’s getting old real fast.

Annie and I are looking forward to what 2020 brings and we are hopeful it’ll be our best year yet, from her education to our heath, our finances and our families. Thanks to everyone that has supported me over the past year and continues to do so. Thank you to everyone that has reached out over this past year, your love and support made 2019 the best for me in recent memory.

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