After the last several years of making New Year’s Resolutions that ultimately never stuck, I’ve become one of those people. You know the type. The people that claim that New Year’s Resolutions are stupid. The people that drink their bubbly when the clock strikes midnight and call it a year. We’re like this for a reason. Not because we aren’t hopeful that 2017 will be “our year,” but rather because our Resolutions in years passed have turned out to be nothing but wishful thinking. And besides, if we’re really going to change ourselves that much, shouldn’t we be working towards it all year? Shouldn’t we be planning and working towards bettering ourselves every day? I think so. You optimistic Resolutioners should probably think so, too.

Last year, I decided that I was really going to try and lose a bunch of the weight. That was probably the highest priority for me on my list of Resolutions. I tried going on a low-carb diet because it’s all the rage right now. I managed to convince myself that I would be motivated to go to the gym if I were paying for a year-long membership. So I joined Planet Fitness and wound up only going maybe five or six times.

I also wanted to spend 2016 finding other ways to better myself. I decided to try and volunteer at the Indianapolis Zoo. It seemed like a good chance that I could be around something that I love (animals) and help them at the same time. This volunteer opportunity never came to fruition though.

And last but not least, I needed to get writing again. Since I closed up shop on my last website in 2014, I had done little to no writing. But to be fair, all of this was for good reason. The gym was always too crowded to actually get on any equipment. Volunteering at the zoo wouldn’t fit in with my full-time work schedule. And nobody was reading anything that I was writing about my boring life anyway. Why bother?

Shifting Gears


Rather than continue eulogizing 2016 and all the things that I failed to do, it occurred to me at some point that there were more good things that happened to me last year than bad. Most of which outweigh the more negative situations too! For example, I didn’t really lose any of the weight and didn’t stick to the low-carb diet. I love bread and pasta, what can I say? This major part of my Resolutions went out the window.

Instead, back towards the beginning of June, I became more aware of the horrors of factory farming thanks to websites and organizations like The Dodo and Mercy for Animals. Using this information coupled with my love for animals, I decided on a new diet instead and went vegetarian. And somehow, for a guy from the Midwest whose entire family and most friends are big meat-eaters, it turned out that going without meat was the easiest dietary change I’d ever made! It’s also been the longest-lasting. I still haven’t eaten meat since June! I’ve even started referring to it as a “lifestyle change” rather than a diet, just like those hippie-dippie Paleo nerds.

Once you see a video of a cow, who knew what was coming and looked terrified for her life right before her throat was slashed, you might understand why I eventually said, “I don’t want to do this anymore…”

My new school!
My new school!

Educating myself on something that I was really interested in was also high on my priority list last year. I think it was partially the reason why I thought the volunteer opportunity from my list of Resolutions seemed so great. So when that opportunity fell through, I started searching elsewhere. Ultimately, instead of just giving up and being content with my office cubicle job, I decided to enroll in Ivy Tech Community College.

It’s very nerve-wracking since it has been 14 years since I graduated from high school. But rediscovering and expanding upon my more formal education is going to be a journey that I’m finally really interested and investing myself in taking. I decided to enroll in the Software Development program because, if this website is any indication, I’m really interested in learning how to create more computer and web applications. It’s a far cry from working with animals or focusing on my writing, but it’s still something that I enjoy and could maybe even turn into an eventual career. And who knows, maybe I’ll even be able to create software that could be implemented to assist in caring for animals or long-form writing? My first classes start January 17th!

And even though I shut down one website in the last few years, I started up this one: Almost Epic. When I launched this website, I envisioned it being completely different. I wanted it to grow into this (almost?) epic web community where people could geek out in this totally safe space outside of social media where your friends and family won’t judge you. It’s still here for that purpose, but it’s also become a hybrid personal blog for me as well since I apparently still need that outlet.

Though there haven’t been nearly as many people join and geek out or tell their stories as I had hoped, there are still a handful of you that I know will read no matter what. And in spite of what those moneymaking bloggers might tell you, I really feel like a few loyal users are a lot more important than a million casual readers. If you’re one of the former, thank you for being here. I love you.

Other Cool Happenings

pawTree. We’re changing pet lives daily!

Those aren’t the only cool things that happened in 2016. Here’s a bunch of other awesome things that had nothing to do with my Resolutions:

  • Baby kitten Rufus and his late brother Oliver joined our family!
  • Got a raise at work!
  • Discovered and joined pawTree as an Independent petPro!
  • Saw Garbage in concert!
  • Went to an Indy Fuel and an Indianapolis Indians game!
  • Jdiggity reached max level in the Broken Isles!
  • Went to Christmas at the Zoo!
  • Spent Christmas Eve in a church for the first time ever!
  • Did about two dozen tarot readings for friends on Facebook during Halloween!
  • Ate basically my entire weight in pie during the holidays!
  • Did not vote for Donald Trump in the 2016 Election (sorry Republicans)!
  • Upgraded my phone to a Samsung Galaxy S7!
  • Saw the rare Hunter’s Supermoon!
  • Got treated for generalized anxiety and super sensitive skin issues!
  • Celebrated Star Trek‘s 50th anniversary!
  • Discovered Bar Louie, my new favorite local hangout!
    Bar Louie
    Bar Louie – My favorite!
  • Was still curious about the plural form of “apocalypse.”
  • Discovered “Panfrunola” at the Court Street Café!
  • Participated in Free Comic Book Day!
  • Witnessed two good friends get married to each other (and went to both their bachelor and bachelorette parties)!
  • Began an ongoing fight with my sister @chy1973 over cake vs. pie!
  • Participated in my first “pay it forward” chain at Starbucks!
  • Celebrated my 31st birthday with a champagne toast at The Eagle!

And I’m sure there plenty more that I’m forgetting about. But overall, I don’t know that I truly believe that 2016 was a “Year of No Chill.” I didn’t accomplish what I immediately set out to do with my so-called “Resolutions,” but I think that I actually took them and improved on them in some ways. I still have a lot of irons in the fire as we continue into 2017, but it’s my hope that by this time in 2018, the list above will be even longer and more exciting.

Tell me about the awesome 2016 you had! Comment below or sound off in the discussion forums!

Author: Joseph Black

According to Wikipedia, I discovered magnesium and carbon dioxide, so that's something.

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