The year is finally over. Wow, what a freakin' year! The election (don't get me started on the election), the deaths of sci-fi legend Carrie Fisher and pop icons like Prince and David Bowie… 2016 has been filled with its share of craziness.
It's funny that Christmas falls at the end of the year, only to be followed less than a week later by the “new year.” After all the shit, grime, and muck that the world has thrown at us (and that we've thrown at each other *cough* the election *cough), over the past twelve months, maybe the joyful season of Christmas is the universe's way of telling us to end on a high note.
And, I hope that that's what you did – end on a high note.
If you read my 2016: The Year in Review post, you know that my business did pretty well, and I saw some significant growth over last year. What all that growth means, when it really comes down to it, is that I was able to help more people start, build and grow their businesses this year than I did last year. And, to me, that means 2016 was a good year. And, that also means that I hope 2017 is even better.
Almost exactly three years ago, I wrote that our things are important to us, and, sometimes, they even help define us. I'd had another great year. Now, though, I realize I wrote that post just three weeks before I got fired from my job. So, 2013 was great, but 2014 got off to a rough start.
Anyway, I digress. Sorry, I got caught reminiscing about the last three years…
But in that post, I wrote that the meaning we place on the things around us is what defines us. I don't want to get too philosophical (partly because I'm getting over a cold and partly because I want to talk about my toys), but I think it's important for us to think about where we put our time, energy and money.
Ok, Moving On
I want to talk about some of the cool stuff I got for Christmas this year. Since the things with which we surround ourselves help define us, I thought I'd let you know what people gave me for Christmas because that's (partly) how the people closest to me define me.
Why it took so long for Google to get into the connected home game is unknown, but the Home is a sweet device. And it's getting sweeter.
This gift came from my wife because she knows I like gadgets. I've joked about putting 20″ TVs in every room, and I even had a light strip in college that I could turn on and off remotely.
I realized I wanted the Google Home a few weeks before Christmas when I needed some information while working in the kitchen, but none of my devices were within reach. Super lazy, but don't judge!
While I'm fully aware that we're careening toward Judgment Day and the takeover of Skynet, I'm also aware of how cool some of this technology is. Just the other day, I told my Google Home to play Narcos on Netflix in the living room, and she did it! The TV came on, the receiver switched to the Chromecast, and the last episode of Narcos I was watching started to play within a few seconds. That-is-awesome!
Master Chief & Spartan Locke
My friend Paul, a fellow gamer, got me one of the coolest (if not oddest) gifts I received this year. He gave me the comically large action figure display for Halo 5: Guardians.
While I don't currently have any video game memorabilia, I've talked about it for years. And, I've talked about it with Paul. Plus, I've always wanted little collector's edition treasures from my favorite games.
Paul's gift is meaningful because he knows how much I love video games, and because he's an avid collector of video game memorabilia. His office/game room is full of cool things like the mask from Dishonored and all sorts of things from the Assassin's Creed games.
He gave me a gift that was a piece of something he truly enjoys, and it shows a little of both our personalities.
My Smart Watch
Most people who know me know I love to make fun of Apple products, and, especially, Apple fanboys. Those people may also know that I have a LOT of Samsung devices, most of which run on Android.
We've got tablets, phones, TVs, and even a microwave, stove and dishwasher… all Samsung. So, it was a fairly simple choice to get the Samsung Gear S3 smartwatch.
Being a gadget guy, I feel like I waited quite a while before taking the plunge into the land of wearable technology. I would've gotten a smartwatch sooner, but Ashley got me an awesome Bulova watch when she graduated from her technical school.
The Samsung Gear Sx line, meaning the S1, S2, S3, etc., doesn't run on Android, it runs on its own OS called Tizen. It's a bit weird, and it's not Android, but it works pretty well.
Though the smartwatch was a gift to myself, it has several benefits that go beyond just cool tech. For example, there's a “get up and move” reminder which is really helpful during long writing sessions (like this one). And, the vibration means I don't have to worry about missing calls or text messages if I'm jamming out to Sia on my Bose QC35 noise canceling headphones.
The Other Things
In addition to my Google Home, the Halo 5 figurines, and the smartwatch, I also got a box of my favorite cigars, a new butane torch lighter, a Chesty for my GoPro, a pile of cash and gift cards, some clothes, a couple of books and other things.
Each item a representation of how the people closest to me see me.
And, each gift represents the connection between me and the person who gave it.