It doesn’t seem possible that we have started a new decade but there is no denying that 2020 is upon us!
I wanted to take a few minutes and look back on 2019. I want to organize my thoughts and reflect on what was accomplished and what I want to get done in 2020.
Highlights of 2019
Retirement: The biggest highlight from 2019 was that after 21 years in the chemical industry I took an early retirement at age 47. I was fortunate that I did not have a horrible boss and I should have loved my job. However, the reality was that I simply did not enjoy the work anymore and the commute was killing me. Life is just too short and it was time for a change.
Taking an early retirement was exciting and terrifying.
This is the first time that I didn’t have a steady paycheck coming in since I was in school and the first thing I did was figure out how to cut some costs. We got rid of cable (my buddy Michael has an article about cutting the cord and finding cable alternatives if you want to pick up some tips), stopped eating out so much and worked on weekly meal preps.
It turns out that the biggest challenge with retirement was not financial but were related to daily structure and giving my family space. I finally figured out how to work from home and not drive my wife crazy but it took a few months for us to get there. It turns out that retirement is a work in progress!
Oklahoma Joe’s: I was fortunate to have an opportunity to work with the folks from Oklahoma Joe’s to evaluate their new Bronco Drum Smoker. I loved playing with the new smoker and providing them feedback. It is a solid little cooker 🙂
YouTube: I used the Bronco Drum Smoker as an excuse to start my own YouTube channel. I learned a lot about video editing although I still have massive knowledge gaps to fill. I only made three or four videos but I enjoyed the process. I stopped making the videos because I struggled to find anything unique to film that would help my audience. There are already a ton of great barbecue channels and I didn’t see the point in creating yet another video on how to smoke baby back ribs.
I’m still kicking around the idea of growing my YouTube channel…I just need to find a unique and valuable perspective to share.
Graduation: Both my kids graduated high school. Let’s just say that I am glad to have that behind me. My kids are not taking the same path, or even anything close to it, that I did when I was their age. That is perfectly fine…I am just curious as heck to see what they eventually decide to do!
Hiking: I was able to spend some time outside with my wife doing some great hikes this year. We hiked Red Rock Canyon outside of Las Vegas, The Great Smoky Mountains, a section of the Appalachian Trail, Chimney Rock State Park in North Carolina and a couple of other great spots.
We now spend some of our evenings watching Youtube videos of other people’s hikes! More hikes will be planned for 2020!
Movie and Television Roles: It turns out that something you can do once you are retired is get yourself into the movies and onto television! I signed up with a local casting agency and got a featured role in made for TV movie on the Lifetime network called, “A Christmas Wish”. I also got a recurring role on an upcoming television series for the Paramount Network called “Paradise Lost”.
It is a blast seeing yourself on television!
LSU: A great highlight for this year has been enjoying the incredible performance of the LSU Tigers football team. Just about every weekend during football season was a major party and we still have one game left to go. Even if LSU doesn’t win the National Championship this weekend it has still been one heck of a ride!
Plans for 2020
After a successful collaboration with Oklahoma Joe’s in 2019 they sent me a new grill to evaluate for 2020. I have started breaking in their new pellet grill and will be writing extensively about that in the near future.
I managed to tear up my knee in the fall of 2019 and had to slack up on the exercise/hiking routine I had going. I am going to get my knee back in shape and hit the trails again as soon as the weather permits.
My biggest plan for 2020 is to take the time to appreciate my family. I spent too much of last year worrying about financial security and not enough time telling, and showing, my family how much I love and appreciate them. That is a mistake I will not repeat 🙂
What About You?
I hope your 2020 is off to an incredible start and just gets better as the year goes by.
If there is anything you would like to have me write or make a video about then drop me a line and I will see if I can create some content for you.
Be Awesome, Grill Happy!