This really feels like the good ‘ol days. Drinking rye whiskey, quiet cabin in the woods without Internet and Coldplay blasting on my speakers. I haven’t had a writing session like this in a very long time.

I read a few of my birthday blog posts from the last few years and realized, just now, that my “Life: 34” post was really about my engagement. That was fun to write and I enjoyed reading it a year removed. Over the last 5 years, it seems “Life: 32” is my favorite. Please go and give it a read. It’s only been 3 years but it feels like I’m reading a version of me that has no idea what he’s getting himself into. Seriously….what a child.

32 is just funny. I felt like this is me a couple of years into my 30s. Homeowner, getting into motorcycles more and building up my credit score. Hah. I also talk about a new income stream which has actually played out quite well since writing about it just 3 years ago. I also write that post from the Green Mountain Forest in Vermont which, oddly enough, is where I’m writing this post. I’m at the same motorcycle event but instead of attending, I’m running it. How times have changed.

Historically speaking, no one reads these posts. These are for me 3-10 years from now. I generally overshare and since the first one of these in 2009, I’ve grown a lot and these always act as a cool time capsule.

Today, I logged into my IRS account and paid them $8,200. It’s my 2nd time in the last 12 months that I’ve given them a sizable chunk of money. Business and Personal income that is taxed. I used to read Small Dog Electronics magazines and drool over $3900 Macintosh computers and now I wire double that much money to the tax-man. Paying high taxes is a sign though that I’m finally in a place in my life where I have enough income to be seriously taxed for it and that makes me very lucky.

There was a discussion on the Reddit group FatFire about luck versus hard work and it was a really heated discussion but ultimately, luck won. I’m not in that group financially but I appreciate the dialogue and advice there that is given away for free from people much wealthier than I but basically the discussion was “are we lucky or are we just a harder worker than the rest?” And most of them agreed, LUCK was a huge factor in making 300-450K a year at age 29 and that enabled massive amounts of saving money and smart investments that allows these folks my age to now retire early. I’m not there.

I regret not taking advantage of Apple’s 401K matching and Employee Stock Purchase plan when I was 18 and making $48K a year living at home as an assistant manager of an Apple Store. I could have squirreled away 5-10K a year for 3 years and the Apple stock price in 2005 was $1.67 and ESP was a 10-15% savings on daily close price. AAPL today is @ $156 or so. If I can think about my life in a nutshell, it really should have been a mantra “buy and hold AAPL” truly should have been priority #1. Anytime I wanted to buy something just refuse and buy a share of Apple, Inc. stock instead. I’d be a rich man had I followed that mantra but, hindsight is always 20/20 as you know. 

In 3 weeks, I’ll be getting married. My anniversary, forever and ever will be October 2nd of 2021, 35 years after I was born and 31 from Heather’s birth year. I really don’t want to underplay everything here. That’s not why I’m so aggressively about to move on to the next topic but only because that will be deserving of its own post. Heather deserves that and our future together requires it. We’re going to embark on a life of memories and she doesn’t deserve to be lumped into a birthday post. 

One year ago, I asked her to marry me and I’m so glad that she said yes. We are going to have a remarkable life together and seriously, it’s going to be an awesome wedding party. Someone asked me a few days ago if I’m getting nervous or getting cold feet. That thought had not even entered my head. Why would I be nervous committing to the rest of my life with a woman who is worth spending my life with? 

Do I have regrets or perhaps can I allow myself to let remorse trickle in when I think of my 3 previous relationships that didn’t pan out into marriage? Sure. I can definitely think of me at that moment, her at that moment, our situation, our alignment of priorities and I can also acknowledge all of the mistakes I made at that time but I can also recognize that all of these failed due to timing. Knowing those women now, I am glad I didn’t marry them because I changed a great deal from age 16 to 30 and while my change is slowing a bit now, the great thing about Heather is how much we will grow and age together. It won’t always be easy but there’s no blinders or blindness about it. I know she’s it and all I need for the rest of my life. I’ll eat an 8.5×17 inch Tabloid sized full color print if I’m wrong…no expiration on that one.

…man I wish I was writing this to a glass of Robert Mondavi Reserve instead of this Thomas Handy Rye. The rye just stings too much to make me feel creative.

There are so many topics to dive into that I feel as if I could fill a book. Let me try to bullet these out and we’ll tackle what we can before it gets too close to 1AM. Here are some highlights from the last 12 months:

  • Work…11 years at TomTom TODAY and the future is bright. This is still the favorite job I’ve ever had
  • Work…4 years in Real Estate and property management
  • Work…YouTube and successes
  • Work…Moto-journalism and my newly discovered place as an ‘influencer’
  • Work…Photography and my being on the cover three times in 12 months of the national BMW magazine and elsewhere
  • Haven’t contracted COVID-19
  • My spot as the Vice President of the 400 person Vermont BMW Club
  • My spot as Secretary of the 26,000 person National BMW Motorcycle Club
  • COVID-19 and how it influenced EVERYTHING (this should be its own post)
  • Working remotely from March of 2020 to around July of 2021 and my return to an empty office full of just my direct reports
  • Attempting to and failing at making BMW’s Team USA in their GS Trophy international competition
  • I launched a newsletter! WTF?
  • My Credit score finally hit the spot that I wanted it to be (throwback to my Life: 32 post)
  • I dabbled in actively investing in the stock market for the last 18 months and I’ve learned a lot and haven’t lost any money
  • I officially turned my Golf R into a weekend car and purchased a new daily driver
  • I sold my dirt bike and replaced it with a middle-sized adventure bike (Beta < Husqvarna)
  • I finished my K75 RT Retro-Mod conversion and it’s now a daily ride
  • I actively and for the first time …. Like ever skipped an iPad and iPhone upgrade cycle and I’m like totally okay with it. Waiting 2-3 years between purchases is okay, right? RIGHT?!?!? Okay, I miss having the latest. My 2018 iPad Pro and 2019 iPhone 11 Pro are lonely and I’d like to replace them
  • I almost refinanced my house thanks to COVID’s insane values. Maybe we should talk about house returns? I know most of you don’t care but thanks to some incompetence @ the lender area, I gave up and chose to just stay where I was which is honestly a bad choice. I need to do something about this place. ReFi isn’t really what I want to do.
  • Heather and I committed to establishing our dream home but this needs to be another post. We’re talking 3-4 year project from now to get it done…yes it has enough room for my motorcycles.
  • Beer…well the collection at the house is huge but unfortunately, no huge beer updates this year. I actually considered giving it all away but then realized how delicious it all is to drink instead.
  • Paid off the Golf R and sold the Hyundai Ioniq and Ford Escape
  • Flew to New Orleans, bought a truck and drove it home
  • Saw the SF Giants play  at Citi Field in NYC. SF Giants will go to the NL West playoffs this year so I’m so glad I got to see them play
  • Did a lot of traveling to make up for 2020’s lack thereof. I’ve been traveling a lot this year and it’s been an adventure every time. I’ll be qualifying for Marriot Platinum status next week and Delta’s Silver Medallion by October and that’s with zero travel for work. So yeah, definitely pretty busy year for travel.
  • I tried on a size Large shirt and realized “not this year” and for the 18th year straight, I bought an XL instead

—–

Quite a freaking year!

I believe we’re getting close to 1500 words now and while there are a lot of things I wanted to dive deeper into, I think I’ll leave this be for now and say…I’m looking forward to what’s next.