Summer 2017

Summer 2017 turned out to be an unintended break from blogging. I am so sorry for disappearing without notice. With a day job, blogging, freelance writing on the side, coaching two couples, planning for a family summer vacation, and kids being home, I ran out of steam.

One thing led to another and I kept thinking I will get back to blogging but never did. I also realized that I had bitten more than I could chew and it was time to slow down because what I was doing was not the least bit sustainable.




What I felt and what I still feel lousy about is the fact that I didn’t let you know.

Mea Culpa!

(I apologize, literally translation from Latin – “through my fault”)

In future, if I am taking time off from blogging, I will let you know in advance.

I am going to try to pick up from where I left and I thought it would be good to start out by providing a quick update on the progress towards my goals for 2017. I am going to share where I have succeeded and where I have failed miserably.




#1 Attend church every Sunday – PASS

I have been attending the 7 am mass as well as going to church with family at 11 am on Sundays. My older daughter, Teddy, started joining me for the 7 am mass. It was her decision and I didn’t ask her even once to join me.

I am certainly happy about it and it sure has been a blessing.


# 2 Read the new testament – FAIL 

67% of the year is over.

38% is my reading progress. I have fallen behind.

Oh well, there is still hope, and I need to get my act together.



3# Dates – the lunch dates with Sarah were working great when kids were at school. With the summer break, it has been a bit of challenge. We plan to make up for it when school starts. FAIL 

#4 Family Outings – Saturday for the family continues to work great. Teddy and Otter are growing up and have a strong influence on where we go out for dinner on Saturdays. PASS

5# Vacation – my goal for 2017 was to go for a week long vacation with the family and have a blast. – PASS

I would say we hit it out of the park on this one.

We went to Puerto Rico for a week and had so much fun!

This is by far the best vacation we have ever been on.

We spent six weeks to prepare for the vacation and I plan to write a separate post on Puerto Rico.

(Puerto Rico – a view from the high rise condo we were staying at)



#6 Lose 12 pounds and reach 190 lbs – FAIL!

Let me tell you that sipping pina coladas and rum punches are not the recipe to lose weight.

Is there a grade below F?

In summer, I have gained a few pounds from my baseline weight. My doctor friend tells me that in summer people generally gain a few pounds due to the body retaining more fluid. A quick google search revealed it is the fault of aldosterone, a hormone that helps the body retain fluids in hot weather.

I have a renewed focus on returning to my baseline weight before the end of this month.

After that, I am going to continue my pursuit.



7# Work – as I had mentioned in my earlier post, overall good and the raise I received was greater than what I had conservatively hoped for. – PASS

I have a new boss now and am learning to work with him.

8# Savings Goal – we have achieved our savings goal for 2017 – my fiscal calendar starts in October and ends in September. A long time ago, I started tracking my finances and it happened to be an October when it all began. Hence I just stuck with a 12 month window to measure my progress. I achieved my savings goal in 11 months.

Now, I have started focusing on the 2018 goal. -PASS

9# Investment Project – I am making a slow and steady progress on this front. -PASS

10# Passive Income Streams – The passive income streams have been dividends from my investment portfolio and the “investment project”. I have not broadened my passive income stream any further.

Overall, On Track!



#11 Complete two courses on Coursera (my choice) – FAIL

I started a course of Javascript / HTML / CSS and did not finish it.

Right now, I am in the middle of  “Introduction to American Law” from University of Pennsylvania offered via Coursera. It is very interesting and my goal is complete it before the end of September.

I think I still have a chance of completing two courses this year.


#12 Read 6 books (my choice – fiction / non-fiction) – FAIL

I have completed reading 1 of 6 books – 17% progress towards my goal.

The jury is out on this one – I am not sure if I will be able to meet this goal by end of year.


#13 Complete reading / working Word Power Made Easy and improve my vocabulary. -FAIL

I have not paid any attention to this goal since my last update in March 2017.

As of my last update, I had completed 7 sessions in this book.

Once again, jury is out on this one as well. I am going to make as much progress as I can. Any progress in improving one’s vocabulary is good.

If I don’t finish it this year, I will carry forward the reminder of the goal to next year.

 #14 Learning Piano -PASS

I started learning to play the piano in March, and to my pleasant surprise it has been a very rewarding journey.

If all goes well, I will record a piece and share it here before the end of this year.

At the beginning of the year, I had no plans of learning to play the piano. However, learning to play the piano is one of the best things I have done.

It is never too late to start learning something new!



#14 Stay engaged with my current circle of friends (meet at least once a month) -PASS

We are meeting our friends and summer break made it easy to meet this goal.

#15 Connect with 5 personal finance bloggers and get to know them. -FAIL

I connected with 1 personal finance blogger at the beginning of this year – 20% progress towards my goal.

The obvious fact is that I have work to do here 🙂



# 16 Publish a blog post very Sunday – FAIL

Honestly, the summer break from blogging was excellent.

With everything going, I was killing myself.

I spent a lot of time with my family and slowed down and enjoyed life.

I am still thinking about my post schedule. My hope is to write about 3 to 4 blog posts per month.



I took a break from freelance writing. Honestly, I am not sure if and when I will be getting back into it.



I continue to coach couples for free on budgeting and debt management on an as needed basis. Being able to help others has been a very rewarding experience.


That’s it for me.


How was your summer? What did you do? What did you learn? Are you still tracking your progress towards your 2017 goals? 



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8 thoughts on “Summer 2017”

  1. #6 made me giggle. 🙂 You’re doing great, Michael. Keep up the good work. With the Bible, I set my goals on reading it every day and not getting through a certain number of books or pages within a certain allotted time. Sometimes I’ll just sit and reflect on a few passages for an hour. Every minute your eye gets in that blessed word is important, even if you’re making little progress as far as page numbers go. 🙂

    1. I ‘m glad you had a good laugh, Laurie :). I was laughing as I was writing #6 as well. Kidding aside, I am working with a renewed focus and hoping for a pay off.

      With regards to the reading the Bible, I agree with what you are saying. There is also the discipline part where I need to sit down every day to read a passage and make it my second nature. I am not there yet and that is what bothers me. I am hoping for a transformation here.

  2. So glad you’re back, Michael, we’ve missed you. I hope you are refreshed and raring to go.

    As for Pass/fail, you had a lot of goals on your list. Considering all that you were working on, I think it’s great that you’ve accomplished as much as you have.

    I also think “give yourself some slack.” Everywhere you say you failed, you actually made some progress. For instance, you and your wife didn’t have dates during the summer, but maybe you had more than you would have otherwise because you worked it in during the school day when school was in session.

    1. Thank you, Emily! 🙂 I am glad to be back. Thank you for your kind words of encouragement. It does make me feel good.

      Yes, making some progress is always a good thing. I will try not to overwhelm and / or be too harsh on myself.

      I definitely feel very rested from the blogging break and am easing back into it.

  3. Welcome back, Michael. I passed several times here and I am happy to see if everything is going fine!!

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