A look ahead to 2021

It’s a new year, and with this comes a time to look back and reflect, as well as set a few goals. 2020 was interesting to say the least.

We’ve been quarantined / working from home since March of 2020. Admittedly it was slightly challenging the first couple months to find my rhythm, but since I did, I have been able to look at things with a new level of gratitude. I’m extremely lucky to have a fantastic job that I actually enjoy and can do from my home office. We have a house that we love being at, with a giant yard where we can build out a garden, and wonderful neighbors around us. Lastly, I have been so grateful to have my garage gym. Aside from the downtime I’ve been on with my knee injury, the garage gym has been keeping me sane. I wish everyone had these things.

Looking ahead into 2021, I’ve decided I want to set a few goals for myself so here we go:

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  • I set a goal each year, and every year I fail to make the time to accomplish it. I intend to change that this year.

500 lb deadlift

  • It’s been years since I’ve pulled 500 or above. I’m just coming back from my meniscus surgery and know the road will be a long one, but I don’t see any reason that I can’t hit this goal. I intend on getting my 500 lb deadlift back in the books.


  • We own a 1/4 acre of land and have been working towards building a large garden. This spring we’re planning to grow enough to can and preserve, and hopefully enough to take donations to food banks to share with others. Intend on continuing to educate myself about growing food.


  • I work for AWS in a non-technical role as a Community Manager. However, I feel like I would better serve our community members, and better navigate the complexities of the cloud if I pursued becoming a AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner. I intend to study and pass the exam this year.


  • Minimalism has been a pursuit of mine for a long time now. It’s helped us as a family see what we need to focus on, see what adds value to our lives, and see what we need and don’t need. I intend on continuing this to see where else we can simplify our lives.

I’m sure there are a few more things I intend on accomplishing this year, but this is my list for now.

An Empty Room

I walked in to one of our bedrooms and marveled at how empty it was. We’re in the middle of a big shift between all the bedrooms in our home. It is a daunting task to say the least, but at the same time, an opportunity. An opportunity to clear out the unnecessary. Purge the excess. Remove the unneeded. This is an opportunity I’ve personally needed for a long time.

As we move things between 3 bedrooms, I can take a look at my own possessions and make sure they are not possessing me. Upon reflection, many of them are. Do I need t-shirts that I honestly never intend on wearing again? No. Donated. Do we need to hang on to receipts and memorabilia from our honeymoon that I intended on framing? Well, this October will be 17 years and I still haven’t framed them. Nope, don’t need them. Recycled. Some of these items were genuinely hard to part with. My wife was the strong one on a couple of the decisions. Yep, those possessions were possessing me. No longer though.

The room that was empty will not stay that way. It was a temporary state while we cleaned the carpet. But it offered something to reflect on; only fill it with the necessary and let life fill the rest. If I keep hanging on to old t-shirts and ancient memorabilia, isn’t that just getting in the way of the life that could be in it’s place? What am I hanging on to?

Emptiness is a funny thing.

If you enjoyed this, I always appreciate when you recommend or share. Anyone else working on minimizing old t-shirts, memorabilia, and the like? Leave me a note, let’s motivate one another.

Grandma’s Coffee Pot

Your version of minimalism does not have to lack sentimental items

Coffee is the way I wake up in the morning. It provides that little jump start to my day. I remember years ago it took me a lot to even try coffee; it doesn’t taste very good at first. In fact, I don’t know anyone that enjoyed it on their first try. Over time, I trained myself to enjoy it. For one, it was much more affordable than drinking multiple sodas to start my day.

For many years I would require cream and sugar to get it down. In retrospect, this was not any healthier than having multiple sodas. But as I have aged I have found the ability to enjoy black coffee. In it’s own way, this is a minimalist approach to coffee; enjoying it for exactly what it is. It also affords me the experience of coffee without a bunch of other decisions to make.

Quite a few years ago, my Grandmother gave me this little personal coffee pot. It doesn’t make much, but since I am the only one in the house that drinks coffee it is the perfect size. At this point Grandma’s little coffee pot is probably about 14-15 years old and it still works for me. It is a little worn out, the once white form of the machine is more than a few shades of faint brown. The warming plate is burnt and chipped. And the handle on the pot itself has loosened enough to notice.

I often see those nice machines where you insert a single pod to make a cup and I’m tempted to purchase one. The office I work in has one and I enjoy it 5 days a week. Stock up on enough of those pods and you can enjoy a different taste for each cup. But then I reflect and see that this is not necessary. I also realize this defeats my current goals of simplifying life and working towards a version of minimalism that works for me.

I have a coffee pot that works. And the one I have even offers more than a simple cup of black coffee. It offers me the memory of my Grandma to reflect upon as I enjoy my morning drink.

The Mall

We ventured over to the mall last evening. There was a point when I enjoyed going, looking at all the new items each of my favorite shops had for sale, even if I didn’t buy anything. Seeing the new pieces of hardware the Apple store was offering. Seeing the new arrivals at the Microsoft store. Seeing what random shiny object each random store had. Searching for neat things to look at.

I realized last evening as we were walking around, I don’t really enjoy that now. Sure, it was fun to walk around and try to pick out things for others; I’m not yet one of those minimalists that has given up on gift giving. It is still a normal, happy occurrence in my family. I do have to admit, I have a hard time picking things out these days. I find myself thinking ‘would I want X item for a gift?’ And 99.9% of the time; the answer is no. Sure I still like what the Apple and Microsoft stores have to offer, I’m a card carrying computer geek. Sure I still like what the LEGO store has for sale. However, based on my own answer of ‘no’, I have also found my follow up question to myself ‘well, if I wouldn’t want X, why would I get it for <insert name here>?’ This may be a good change in my transition to a version of minimalism that works for my life, but I have to also admit, it is a challenging one.

Written 19-Dec-2013; still working to minimize ‘things’ in my life

A Few More Bags Gone

Took a trip to the donation center yesterday, made it just in time as they were closing up for the evening. We had four large bags of donations to give. The funny thing is, when I got home I sat and thought about what we had placed in those bags.

For the life of me, I can’t remember.

Now, my memory isn’t what it used to be, but what I took from that was how much it proved that I didn’t need any of it. Someone else can hopefully use whatever we had placed in those bags to give away.

As part of that realization I continue to wonder how many more bags of things I can fill up. How many more items do I own that could be instantly forgotten when placed in a bag. And why do I leave them laying around? Time to forget about more things in bags.

Written 6-Dec-2013; still working to minimize ‘things’ in my life