2022 Second Quarter Review: Bon Jovi Edition (Because We’re Half Way There)

I know I should really apologize for that title…but I’m not going to 🙂 Hopefully everyone is having a good 2022 as we’re trying to leave the utter dumpster fire that was 2020 further and further behind in the rearview mirror.

One of the most interesting things for me with any year is by habit to always try to massively overshoot, which I actually think is a positive as long as the attempt is still there to stretch, as long as those goals are a catalyst to do more and stretch/challenge myself rather than the failure to have the absolute perfect year serving as an excuse to stop.

Part of the reason I feel this is so necessary is because of the necessity of a pivot. You make early year goals based on what you think the most important goals are, what will move the needle most, which projects your energy pours into at the time. And almost certainly if you really are changing, growing, working, a ton of those will be wrecked by the first quarter.

No exception here!

In fact, there are few times I can remember recently when a non-Pandemic caused pivot was more pronounced, surprising, or in my case, straight up welcomed. While that will get more mention section by section, I also will deep dive into that further down because in many ways that really has been a big part of my story in 2022.

So let’s jump into it!

man celebrating on mountain surrounded by clouds
Not quite there yet, but hey we are making progress up that mountain, so enjoy the journey, right?

Looking at the Most Important Targets for 2022

The top of my 2022 goals post features 10 bullet points, so it makes sense to check on them, and I guess we’ll hit them one by one to see how we’re doing at this point.

Because I’ll be honest: I don’t check in on this list, I simply use the tools that have my work flow, work schedule, and goals laid out and hope that covers the main points on this list, so reviewing this each quarter is as much

  • Health in order – We are getting there. I am thoroughly unhappy with STILL needing to arrange further dental work and the Thyroid biopsy. Still, the sleep studies went great (as in they panicked so much I jumped a 9 month waiting list to get a CPAP) and that CPAP machine has been life-changing. I can’t believe just how much of a difference these make.
  • Weight loss – For the first time in 5-6 years I’ve gone the wrong way by 10-15 lbs, and I’m not happy about it. This is extremely important to get under control and I am moving to make this a bigger focus of my daily life and get this back on track.
  • Business Investment – Still happening, still growing, it’s a very slow ramp up but it is happening.
  • IRA Investment – Most of my freelance income dried up the past 2.5 months which means there hasn’t been a lot to spare, but I’m all about buying when the market is down and have made those small purchases when I could.
  • Big content push for Assorted Meeples – Oh yeah. And I mean, oh yeah. We completed 100 full-sized articles in the first 6 months of 2022 and many of these were NOT small articles. This is in addition to multiple quality guest posts, Quora answers pointing back, and more. So I’m very happy with how this is going, and the results are starting to show despite the customary 9-12 month lag from work to results in the world of online publishing.
  • First draft of novels – I haven’t done nearly as much fiction writing as I’ve wanted, but more has been added including full outlines, some new story notes, and a new story based on an TTRPG system I’m beginning to develop.
  • Traveling/adventuring again – Still more of a summer/fall goal and I’ll be honest: not going to be able to do as much as I wanted. But already have 1-2 trips planned and doing what I can to live large locally while realizing that incredibly heavy time investment into business/health/self-development may need to last another 12 months to really open things up I hoped they would this year. But it is very solid progress.
  • Visiting friends – See the above. But seeing a lot of local friends again and it’s great.
  • Rebuilding habits – This is really start stop, and there’s no question that the major health issues end of last year sunk the previous 8 months’ of backbreaking work I did to build most of them. But the bed still gets made so I guess that’s something.
  • Be happy – Doing better with the positivity. Enjoying the moments I have here, the victories I am winning, the little things that have improved recent quality of life. Some of this will continue to improve as more of my old life opens up to me again, but for now doing the best I know how to do and doing it better than I have in the past. This is a long-term one for sure.

So progress is still being made in several areas. Some things I’m doing for finding new work, looking at decent job offers coming in, walking the backyard now that it’s fenced in again, these are helping move forward some of the other things on this list in their own way.

darts in a dart board
Aiming for that target, darts into the dart board.

Financial Goals

The losing most of my freelancing from a previous contract hurt, but that’s the thing about freelance contracts: they come to an end whenever the employer’s project hits the next step. There will likely be more in the future, but for right now I’m looking at new work, seeing the landscape, and things change fast. The number of recruiters reaching out to me for my long-time SEO & online writing skills tells me there are some markets where the economy is still on fire for employees in a good way.

But those work sprints are still effective, I’ve been testing out some other freelancing and the early tests are incredibly promising. The emergency fund is in good shape, the debts continue to get paid off, and while the markets may have hammered the net worth, I just keep on buying.

As I keep growing the websites that show early promise, it only takes one to blow up, or a couple with moderate success, to move this entire category into the “Done and Done” category, so I’m not discouraged.

While we hit a bump in early summer, a lot of irons in the fire, a big fat emergency fund, and all the bills still being paid with ease so we’ll just keep on keeping on.

Business & Website Goals

I enjoy this one because it shows January 1st Shane at his most insanely optimistic for how perfect and super human he can be over the next year. On the other hand it doesn’t necessarily look good when comparing those Jan 1 goals to where I am throughout the year, but take the motivation and run with it. See what happens.

So let’s jump through those super unrealistic goals and production and see:

  • Did some article outsourcing with limited budget and very happy with results, learning the best way to use it.
  • More insane progress with Assorted Meeples. It might not technically be what my unrealistic goal was, but it’s been a crazy amount of production that shows no sign of slowing down, so I’m all about that. There’s still a good chance we will triple the size of our site by year’s end, or more.
  • I haven’t done a lot of work on the top three DIP sites, but those traffic movements continued on #1 and #3 and I’m in the process of putting Ezoic ads on both.
  • Speaking of pivots, most of my niche site writing attention (I don’t count AM here as we’re building a gaming authority brand with that one) has actually gone to two of the four niche sites I’m working on. I just became very excited on both topics, make logos, found some good longtail keywords, and started writing again. If they keep growing the way the earliest articles on each did, they are likely to become major sites in the near future.
  • Haven’t done any work on the personal niche website. I very much need to get my butt in gear to get that up and moving, especially consider the lone post on it gets nearly 1,000 views a month. Yeah, I know, I need to get on that.
  • The Assorted Meeples special project is moving forward as we are beginning a lot of filming in July and August as well as story boarding a larger end of year project, so we’re all super excited about those.

These goals were always overambitious and yet I’m impressed by how much was done already this year with all signs indicating that the second half of the year has every chance of putting the first half to shame.

Physical & Health Goals

The all-important long-term goals that end up affecting everything else.

  • Sleep tests done and CPAP machine secured (seriously, if you’re thinking about getting one believe your friends who say it’s life-changing).
  • Focusing on slowly moving to better/healthier eating habits
  • Cutting out more unhealthy snack foods
  • Re-committing to healthy habits I’ve been struggling to establish

This is an area where I have admittedly struggled, and prior to getting the CPAP the lack of sleep was affecting me badly. There was also a mild bout of depression which fed into trying to create that spiral.

Thankfully I’ve struggled through and as summer is now here and I’m getting restful sleep for the first time in decades, I’m optimistic that I’ll be able to turn this around throughout the rest of the year.

weights in gym
Feels good to be starting to hit the free weights again.

Mental Health Goals

This is progressing. Probably at a slower rate than I care for, but it is moving and considering how much I goaled to achieve over a whole year, that makes everything I have done even more impressive.

  • I’ve created a second daily affirmation and am working to continue making both an integral instinctual work sprint
  • Ditched the daily meditation goals
  • Still reading more
  • Working on reflecting over daily behaviors/attitudes so I can continue to improve my Stoic mindset
  • For the first time in my life I have taken mental health days when I really needed it. In other words, for the first time, I’m making taking care of myself and my mental well-being an actual priority in my life.

So there is progress here, though I think some of the optimistic “This would be nice…” like poem memorization or skills journals are going to be bumped by the limited time to do everything I want to during each day of this busy busy year.

Creative Goals

Haven’t done as much as I wanted, but things are going well. The fact that creative writing is a part of my daily life again shows things have changed in a good way with this part of my life.

  • City of Crypts had several new scenes added and a few thousand words added
  • A detailed scene outline for the rest of City of Crypts was created, so I have the full book mapped out including the ending
  • Writing poetry again, and some half way decent stuff to boot
  • Writing more on the TTRPG I’m designing
  • Writing on a new story tied into the TTRPG world
  • More creative ideas coming up

There’s actually a lot here to work with, I just wish there was more. But I’ve always been my harshest critic and this is undeniably progress!

Skills, Hobbies, & Travel

Travel is something I wanted to do more of when I was making 2 cross country trips a month so in fairness this is always going to be a “Wish I could do more.” I am moving to set up some trips and there’s going to be at least one trip to Florida to see family this year.

  • Still working to straighten out passport issues (it’s getting frustrating now)
  • Thru hiking put off until next year but planning has begun
  • Eyeing those post-4th garage sales to see if I can find some deals
  • Done some YouTube research

This is a trifecta I’m a bit behind on but this will pick up a lot towards end of year because when we hit the holiday season there will be a lot of downtime from work, freelancing, and I should have all health issues put away by then as well.

It’s just a good time of year to reflect, look at things, and use that extra “free time” to figure out which odds and ends shouldn’t have been odds and ends, what needs to move forward, what drops off the list, and how the pivots of 2022 go into planning out 2023.

Though almost certainly the sealed letter where I can’t ignore it and tinkering with Excel sheets will continue.

Life Architecture

Basically exact same as the quarter one life update. I’m killing it in a few small areas and struggling but refusing to give up on winning back the old habits I fought so hard to establish last year as well as establishing new ones based on my goals, what I want out of my life, and everything else that is wrapped with that.

So in short, I’m killing the journaling, dream journaling, brain storming, dreamscaping and moving from ideas to actual early planning for a wide variety of things. The rest of the list…well there’s still half a year left. Maybe I’ll get to them, if those items turn out to be important enough.

Victory Arch Paris
If we can make incredible beautiful pieces of architecture in the world, why can’t we do the same with our own lives?

Goals for This Site

Well, remember when I mentioned pivoting? I enjoy these posts. I enjoy the fact this is my site, my blog, I can just write anything I want whether it’s about the site, branding, or a random topic or rant I want to put out in the world for the all of 7 people a month who aren’t bots likely to find it right now.

The cleaning up on the technicals of setting up the site is coming in the next couple weeks, but honestly as for averaging one post a month, not so much. It just isn’t a priority compared to the sites that are turning into a job for me or which can earn for me or get my brother and I’s business rolled back up.

So if I’m not fully caught up on those goals…this one just won’t make it. Then again when I made daily word goals for writing based on the total words I thought I’d need to make the annual goals, it does still look very possible that I will make 100% of the annual word goal without having to write a full dozen new articles.

So if that’s the case we’ll just call that a possible win. TKO might not be as fancy as a KO, but it’s still a win 🙂

The All-Important Miscellanea Category

As stated many times before for anyone who has been reading any of these posts: miscellanea does NOT mean unimportant or less important. I generally don’t even list those things on “to do” lists but just, you know, do the work.

So anything in this category is important, but it’s not necessarily an easy fit into another category or way of organizing. So for the rundown so far:

  • Outreach for Assorted Meeples has gone extremely well
  • Planning out next year’s international trips has started and is going well
  • The two clean-up and unclutter goals have started and give me until the end of the year to organize
  • I’ve pivoting strongly where the energy, excitement, and progress dictate I should move them

One or two things on the original list for the year are just no-go’s, and sometimes that happens. But we tried.

Most Interesting Pivots So Far 2022

The shift to caring about my own health, something that still seems like a foreign concept to me (as strange as that seems to many more well-adjusted people) is a big one and an overdue one. I grew up in a very “Walk it off until you’re in your grave” type of old school mentality family. And I’ll be the one to say it now: that’s not safe and it’s not good. But I’ve gotten older, and am more open to embracing positive change, and here we are.

The other major pivot that jumps out immediate is how completely the writing interest has shifted. The writing for my gaming group has always been top priority the past two years and change but after that I always had Niche Site #1 and Niche Site #2 as major priorities, with Niche Site #3 not too far behind. Everything else was so distant past it mine as well not be counted.

But now, Niche Site #1 and #3 are mostly untouched, Niche Site #2 is seen as important but is the one I’m 3rd most excited about, and Niche Sites 5 & 6 have come roaring forward with getting my attention. I’ve had a lot of fun writing them, I’ve had a lot of fun re-visiting those topics, and it’s amazing how the top sites have more or less fallen to the bottom of the excitement list and vice-versa.

pivoting road in Norway
Sometimes you think the straight path should get you there, but if you could step back to see the view of the pivot, you might see something much more extraordinary!

Those major pivots aren’t small things at all, especially in comparison to how the goals for the year started. That doesn’t mean I can abandon the top three sites that used to be 1-2-3 and are now more 3-4-and not really interested at all anymore, but that’s happened. Will that hold until the end of the year, switch back, or be something in between? Who knows?

But those were two pretty seismic pivots, and that’s even before the “You know what, I’d really enjoy the right job over freelancing,” decision that early spring and a lot of calls from recruiting brought along.

I suspect even more will happen by year’s end, but for now I’m all about diving back in and seeing what year two can bring.

So How We Looking for Quarter Three?

I mean I’m very optimistic. While more could have been done, that’s always true, and the sheer amount of work done already is amazing. Hand writing 100 blog posts for Assorted Meeples is a very good year’s worth of work done in six months. That’s even before the dozen plus quest posts, the Pinterest uploads, writing on anything else at all.

The full scene outline for City of Crypts will make it much more likely for me to complete a first draft by the end of the year, which is super cool. Few feelings match printing out an entire manuscript and holding it in your hands for the first time.

When I get my exercise and diet back on track starting immediately after the 4th of July and start dropping weight again, that will just continue to speed up the process of getting healthy. Any good job can fast forward the process, as can a return of the premium freelancing client for the next project, as can a random good break.

Just enough simple growth from any of four income-producing sites, continued increasing web 2.0 royalties, or any type of good profit (break) when it comes to a garage sale or flea market flip and things are even better.

The same applies to getting even half of the good habits from last year before the heart issue back into the category of firm habit that is virtually daily second nature.

So there’s a lot of good that’s going for me and now that I’m sleeping well thanks to the CPAP, I’m more confident than ever in my ability to go out and do that much more the second half of the year. When you actually have energy from actually breathing when you sleep, it makes life much easier.

There’s no question I wish I could have done a little bit more, but with that being said I’m thrilled with how much I’ve done this year, after all I’m on pace to write well over 200 full sized articles on my own this year and that’s damned impressive, and there’s no reason the second half of the year can’t be even more impressive and amazing than the first half.

So until the quarter three update, thanks for reading, and hope ya’ll have a safe and happy 4th of July!

fireworks in sky
Enjoy the fireworks show!

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