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I had not yet returned to my post, but it was always on my mind. Last year, on my birthday, I wrote a list of goals that I wanted to complete by today. I memorized them, and it wasn’t until I sat down to type this year’s version that I revisited what I had promised myself.

I knew, all along, that two things would happen. First, I would not write my goals for this upcoming year. Turning 29 only mattered in the sense that it was another birthday and, thus, a day on which I could reflect. But turning 30 – next year – is a milestone. Nothing I would accomplish this upcoming year could trump what I have been working towards for the past decade.

The second thing I learned over the course of the year – in reality, I knew it when I was typing last year’s version of this post – is that I wouldn’t complete my goals. Each one would have required a specific amount of time and dedication that I could not commit. I did, however, know that I would address a piece of each one, and whichever deserved more attention would receive it.

Admitting that I have bigger plans in mind for the upcoming year, I felt it would be disingenuous to not address where I stood 365 days ago. I generally have a clear vision in most areas, so I find it interesting to assess how accurate or off-base my ‘predictions’ were. More importantly, I find value in revisiting my thought process.

Regardless, this past year has been the most productive, yet exhausting one yet. I cannot attribute my success entirely to the fact that I made promises to myself, but I also can’t discount it, either. To that point, the first item on last year’s list – share more of my writing – was a direct voice I heard in my head as I searched for a place to write publicly. To my pleasant surprise, I found my outlet.

Considering that I had a general plan in mind for how this would play out, I was dealt a curveball. Rather than write more of my personal work for a slightly bigger audience, I was given the opportunity to write a more focused set of articles for a much bigger pool of readership.

This August, I will have written sports articles – mainly football and baseball – for XN Sports for one calendar year, where a significant amount of my work gets shared through AOL.com. When I promised myself that I would find a way to get more people to read what I write, I never expected this. Of all my goals from last year, this one was the home run, and I am truly grateful to everyone that was involved in me landing a writing gig at XN Sports.

Much like the first goal on my list, the second one – start a second company – came to fruition in ways I never expected. Unfortunately, until circumstances allow more to be shared, I will have to be content with simply stating that I decided to go in another direction last year, and I am currently in the process of taking the first real steps in this journey.

Posting a video of my playing a song and actually writing a song were two of my most definable goals, yet neither were actually completed in a concrete way. I never was comfortable enough to sit in front of a camera and play a song – this was a shame, as I wanted to force myself outside my comfort zone – nor did I find the time to sit down and craft art with an instrument. I did, however, practice my skills to extent with which I am extremely pleased – thankfully, my wife agreed from the first day that we moved into our house that I could leave my keyboard and guitar out, to encourage me playing at any time; it worked.

While extremely late nights of work cut into any time I would have liked to dedicate towards music, I did find that some of my quietest nights involved me leaving my chair to plug headphones into my keyboard and strike some keys. The power of music is amazing.

The only other ‘definable’ goal was the hope that I would reach 1,000 Twitter followers, although I openly admitted that this would be out of my control. As expected, this failed, but my writing has allowed the number of followers to steadily grow. The most rewarding part of this experience was also the interactions with some followers, as my sports articles – namely, this year’s football predictions that turned out big winners – allowed for some great discussions via social media.

When I consider the result of each of these goals in a ‘pass or fail’ grading scheme, I find that I would have well under-performed what I desired. But nothing that has transpired over the past year leaves me disappointed. In fact, it’s the opposite. Everything that has consumed my time has been in the effort of approximating the result that any of these goals would have accomplished. Maybe I didn’t do exactly what I wanted, but I did more with my time than I ever would have considered possible.

To that point, my only goal for the next year is that I find a way to take the foundation of what I built and complete the building.

After all, that’s the only plan I have ever had for my 30th birthday.