Following Steve Kamb’s lead, I treat my life as a video game with a series of levels. Whenever I unlock five new achievements, I count it as a level-up.
Level 8’s 5 new achievements:
- Pass 50,000 Monday email subscribers. The Brent Ozar Unlimited mailing list has over 70,000 subscribers, but it feels pretty magical to know that over 50,000 folks want our favorite links in their inbox every Monday morning. Completed February 2016.
- Tour a winery in Napa, California. The Brent Ozar Unlimited team went to Napa for the 2016 company retreat and had a blast. My favorite by far was the Cliff Lede Vineyards. Completed February 2016.
- Visit Israel. I’ve always wanted to go, and I don’t exactly know why. For years, I’ve asked the SQLSaturday Israel organizers to let me know whenever they pick dates, and this year my work schedule finally worked out! Teaching a pre-con and spending a few days walking around the city, plus doing Vienna on the same trip. Completed April 2016.
- Have readers on all 7 continents. I’ve always thought this would be a nifty badge to unlock, but Antarctica never showed up as a continent in our Google Analytics list. I sat down one day to figure out if there’s a SQL Server professional in Antarctica, and it turns out that Google Analytics tracks Antarctica as a country rather than a continent. We had a visitor from Antarctica this year! Completed June 2016.
- Own the same car for five years. I know this sounds ridiculous, but I’ve never pulled this off before, and I was proud to pull it off. I have a serious attention span problem when it comes to cars. I bought my current 2008 Infiniti G35x in mid-2011, and I’m still happy to get into it and hit the start button, so I’ve made huge progress. Completed June 2016.
I feel a little guilty about three of these because they seem passive at first glance. Passing a subscriber number, having readers on all the continents, and owning a car for 5 years – these seem like you could just sit still and do them. They all required discipline along the way, though, so I’m marking ’em down as goals.
I also kinda feel like I cheated on the car one because I’m living in downtown Chicago at the moment. Parking spots here are $250-$350/month to rent, or >$50k to buy (plus homeowners association fees). I would really love to have an old Fiat or Alfa convertible for tooling around on nice spring and fall days, but I can’t justify putting a $3,000 car in a $50,000 parking spot. That just doesn’t make financial sense.
When our lease is up here in early 2017, though, we’ll likely move out of downtown Chicago and to somewhere with cheaper parking. That also means I’m probably going to keep the Infiniti almost another year. It’s still got under 70K miles – as telecommuters, Erika and I just don’t drive all that often. In the meantime, I do splurge on road trip rentals every now and then.
What I’m working on for Level 9
I have no idea.
My life went through several unplanned changes in the last year: the company buyout, then hiring our first developer, and then a few that I can’t talk about publicly yet. They’re all good – they’re just surprises that I had to take advantage of. Life is what happens when you’re making plans, and for once I catch myself full of life and not quite full enough of plans.
I have an Alaska cruise coming up in August, and I use those to reflect. I sit on the deck for hours with a notebook and a drink, think about what I’ve done right recently, and what I need to do better.