How I Spent My Year 2013

Ten years. That's how long I've been doing this annual survey thing. Ten f'ing years. I don't write much original content on this blog but if there's one blog post I can count on making each year, it's this one.

I am going do this annual blog post every year for the rest of my life.

I try really hard to give answers that'll still mean something over time. Maybe one day, a loved one or a child of mine will find a lot of value in all this, maybe even years after I've passed.

Or if nobody ever reads this, that'd be fine too. I've been keeping up with this tradition because I love taking the time to reflect on how I've grown.

In 2011, my life was in shambles. In 2012, my focus was getting my career back on track. In 2013, things finally started falling into place. It feels good.

Here's how my year 2013 went.

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The Best of The #SantaHat Tradition

My Last #SantaHat Season

I seriously have no idea how I pulled these off:

  • 2008 - 79 santa hats
  • 2009 - 190
  • 2010 - 446
  • 2011 - 532
  • 2012 - 669
  • 2013 - 706

That makes six epic seasons of staying up late for 3-4 weeks, looking back at old photos, revisiting good times and photoshopping santa hats, fake snow, and even ugly Christmas sweaters on all you guys. Then over the course of a week, I get the pleasure of watching my newsfeed turn into a joyful stream of Christmas red and white.

By far, my favorite part is getting flooded with notifications not just from you guys but from your friends. When I see your friends getting into the Christmas spirit, my heart does a fist pump and I know I did my job.

These past six holidays seasons have been a BLAST. I can't help but smile when I look at each and every one of those pictures in that epic collage of my best Santa Hats.

But alas, with all of the changes going on in my life, I feel like the universe is telling me it's time to focus on other real world things; specifically, my career.

This year was by far the hardest. I honestly didn't think I'd come close to last year's 669 santa hats because I didn't pick up steam until five days after launch. My new job (which I love and plan to keep for a very long time) just gets so hectic around the holidays, there is simply no way for me to keep this going.

As epic as it has been, this indeed is the final #SantaHat least from me. I know other people on other parts of the internet have been doing the same thing for years and they'll continue to do it after me.

I just wanted to say thank you to all you guys. Thank you for all the good times, being a part of my life, and being part of the tradition these past few years. The end of the #SantaHat Tradition is definitely the end of an era...but we sure made it kick ass while it lasted.

Wishing you all a whole lot of love, a very Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year. <3


p.s. For my newer friends, here's a throwback post of the story behind the tradition: The #SantaHat Tradition: What It Means to Me

Holy shit. I think I'm dyslexic...

My mom, as far back as I can remember, has ALWAYS mixed up my name with my brothers. ALL THE TIME. "Michael. I mean, Mark! I mean, Melvin!" Seriously, ALL THE TIME. I kinda just got used to it and got desensitized to it.

Yesterday, my mom did the same thing...but this time, I jokingly thought to myself, "What if she has dyslexia or something?"

I didn't really know much about dyslexia to being with. As far as I knew, it was a thing that caused people to mispell words frequently. But as I read through a fat list of symptoms, it just hit me.

"Holy. shit. This is totally me..."

Here are some of the symptoms that are all too familiar:

  • Thrives in careers where visual-spatial/kinesthetic talents can be realized: For example - Entrepreneurs, Engineers, Trades (carpentry, plumbing, electrical), Artisans, Interior Decorating, Actors, Musicians, Police/Investigation, Athletes, and Business Executives (usually with staff/assistants).

  • May pass up promotions or advancement opportunities that would require more administrative work.

  • Has difficulty focusing and staying on task - may feel more comfortable managing many different tasks simultaneously.

  • Difficulty with tests - passing standardized tests can be a barrier to career advancement.

  • Out-of-the-box thinker or operates with very strict rules for themselves.

  • Learns best through hands-on experience, demonstrations, experimentation, observation, and visual aids.

  • May be able to sense emotions and energy of others.

  • Remembers struggling in school.

  • Misspeaks, misuses, or mispronounces words without realizing it.

  • May have excellent recall of events that were experienced or not remember at all.

  • May confuse past conversations or be accused of "not listening."

  • Difficulty remembering names of people without tricks, but remembers faces.

  • Difficulty remembering verbal instructions or directions.

  • Poor recall of conversations or sequence of events.

  • Avoids reading out loud. May dislike public speaking.

  • Will commonly perceive that they "read better silently."

  • Has adopted compensatory tricks to remember spelling and homonyms (their, there, they're), or misuses homonyms and has poor or inconsistent/phonetic spelling.

  • Reading fluency and comprehension fluctuates depending upon subject matter.

  • Frequently has to re-read sentences in order to comprehend.

  • Fatigues or becomes bored quickly while reading.

  • Reliance on others (assistants, spouses, significant others) for written correspondence.

  • Uncertainty with words, punctuation, and spelling when writing. Reliance on spell-check and grammar-check.

  • Poor handwriting.

  • Relies on calculators or finger counting. May have difficulty with making change.

  • Difficulty with left/right and/or North, South, East, West.

  • Gets lost easily or never forgets a place they've been.

  • Difficulty reading maps.

  • May have anxiety or stress when driving in unfamiliar places. Relies on others to drive when possible.

  • May lose track of time and is frequently late - or is highly aware of it and is very rarely late.

  • Finds it difficult to estimate how long a task will take to complete.

  • Self-conscious when speaking in a group. May have difficulty getting thoughts out - pause frequently, speak in halting phrases, or leave sentences incomplete. This may worsen with stress or distraction.

  • Sticks to what they know - fear of new tasks or any situation where they are out of comfort zone.

  • Confusion, stress, physical health issues, time pressure, and fatigue will significantly increase symptoms.

UPDATE: Found a few more symptoms from Quora:

I make mistakes when copying down numbers, especially addresses and account numbers. When I write down an important number I have to check very carefully two or three times to see that I copied it correctly. Often, I have switched a few numbers without realizing it. Several times, I have knocked on a stranger's door because I copied an address down wrong.

I struggle with paying restaurant bills and figuring out tip, and how much change I should get. If my bill is 24 dollars, and I want to add a tip, and I am paying with a 50, I can't for the life of me figure out how much money to get back. It feels like there's a wall between myself and the answer. Mental math is almost impossible.

I get confused by pronouns when speaking. If I'm telling a story that involves a lot of "he said to her that she told him that she wanted..." I will get very confused. It feels like the story is getting away from me. Sometimes I struggle to express myself verbally. all makes so much sense now. All of my deepest insecurities stem from these very things...

It totally explains why I have NEVER been able to comprehend fictional books. Why I've always HATED reading aloud. Why even with a GPS, I'll still get lost in LA.

Why I'm so shy around big groups of people. Why I avoid confrontation like the plague. Why I remember names, dates, and outfits so well but I can't remember names for the life of me. Why I repeat the same questions or tell the same stories over and over.

Why I can never come up with the right words to say when I'm put on the spot. Why I rely on texting/chatting/emailing over talking on the phone or in person. Why I frequently ask people to repeat themselves. Why I suck at expressing myself verbally and compensate by being a perfectionist writer. Why I always get called out for saying "nutterbutt squash" or "California Pizza Chicken."

Why I frequently mess up my own signature. Why I have never been able to keep track of the score when watching or playing basketball. Why I can never remember if I've closed the garage door or not and had to drive back home to make sure.

All those times when people have given me shit for doing any of the above...all those countless times I've unintentionally hurt people because I was a poor listener...all those times I've wondered why I am so damn introverted...

This is why.

(I need to get tested and find out for sure.)

I miss heart-to-hearts.

I really miss having really, really deep heart-to-hearts with someone. I miss being able to pour out all of my deepest emotions to someone and not have to worry about the slightest bit of judgement.

But I've learned that I can't trust anyone anymore. I've learned that telling someone, "Please don't tell anyone," means they're just gonna turn to the next person and say, "I'm gonna tell you something but don't tell anyone else."

So I'll just keep everything to myself.

How I Spent My Year 2012

I've spent a lot of my time this year focusing on myself. Taking a step back, looking at the good times I cherish, and the hard times that humbled me. I've been putting it together to see how all of that has affected who I am today.

I'm gaining a much better understanding of myself now. I really starting to understand what makes me tick, what inspires me to take bold steps, and what kind people/things hold me back.

I think know the right formula for me to move on (at least I think I do). I just have to put it all together.

A big part of that formula is getting my career back on track. Because when I have financial freedom, I can go out and spend more time with people that inspire me.

That's why my career has been my top priority for the past year.

Anyways, without any further ado, for my 9th straight year, here is my annual survey.

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I like to be alone. →

Micah Marie:

Yeah, that's right. I like to be alone. Don't misunderstand this though. I don't like to be lonely, if this makes any sense whatsoever. But I do, I like having "me" time. I like being alone. It gives me time to evaluate myself and my relationships with others. It doesn't necessarily even have to be about contemplating the meaning of life and other profound things. I also just like to sit there and watch movies, and read books, or clean and take my time to do whatever I want. I'm often busy tending to others and life feels so fast-paced sometimes. My mind feels so occupied all the time. So I truly cherish the moments I have alone, when my mind can just be free.

But ironically enough, it would be nice to have someone to just be alone with. It'd be nice to just be able to call up a friend to talk over coffee, or to have them come over and just sit around and watch movies with me. We don't even have to talk. We could just share each other's presence in silence. Don't get me wrong, I could do all of these things with my boyfriend. But a friendship is different. A lover should be your best friend, but not the only one. Sometimes I feel like calling up girlfriends is pointless. They almost always want to go out to a party or the nightclubs. I do enjoy going out, but not all the time, especially not in single-people environments. I feel so out of place. All of my closest friends have moved away, and it's difficult to coordinate free time to converse on the phone. I've always been more into quality, not quantity. And it's hard to find genuine friendships. Alright, I'm just blabbering on now. I started going off on a tangent, and forgot the real purpose of this post. I don't even know what I'm really trying to say. I don't even think anyone else would understand either.

People have always told me that I'm a very social person, but I don't feel like it. Truth is, I think I'm just an awkward person who is scared to trust people. I just make a bunch of small talk or talk about things that don't really matter, because I can't trust just anyone with who I really am.

Don't mind this post that doesn't make any sense.


I wish I could say that everything from my past has made me a better person instead of a bitter one.

But I can't.

I don't know how to trust anymore. The times I stepped up to do the right thing are the times that I got burned. I've learned from my mistakes but the bitterness is still too much.

I push people away. I keep everyone at a safe distance. I'm too damn scared to let anyone close enough to hurt me again.

It's not the right way to live"¦but it's the only way I know right now.

My Eight Stages of Hunger

When I can't figure out what to eat, I"¦

  1. look at my list of 50 favorite nearby restaurants

  2. look at restaurant websites

  3. instant message my friends and ask what they've eaten today

  4. text message my friends to see what they've eaten today

  5. scroll through Instagram for food porn

  6. scroll through my own food porn

  7. turn on the TV and eat at the first food commercial that pops up

  8. lie down and think about food until I either decide on something or I pass out.

That's totally normal, right? lol