Reflections on Each Day of 2019

Reflections on Each Day of 2019

I’ve always been one to quantify and record things.  Been journaling since I was a teenager, have always documented my workouts and runs throughout the years, and since 2014, I’ve been taking 1 second of footage everyday and compiling it into a short video at the end of the year.

Here is 2019’s ‘1 Second Everyday.’

In regards to journaling, for a few years I’d only journal a few times a year when something was on my mind.  Additionally, I found that at the end of summers I often wondered ‘what the heck did I do all summer?’  To solve that problem of not knowing how I had spent my time, I started keeping a ‘done-list’ where I just bullet pointed the things I did that day.  

What time I woke up, what I got done in regards to my morning routine, what I worked on before school, any noteworthy moments from school, anyone I called or spent time w/ that day, what we had for dinner and what we did to end the evening

This year I started adding a ’storyworthy moment’ (SM at the bottom of the entry) which is an idea I got from Matthew Dicks; the idea is to write down a moment of realization or change from your day.  It wasn’t always just one of those two things; sometimes it was just something interesting from the day, or a thought that was with me at the end of the day when I wrote my done list.

2019 was the first year I did this done-list / storyworthy moment reflection every day.

I spent a few hours these past couple days just reading through all of it.  I was able to quantify things that I’ve never really quantified before (like how much time I spent w/ friends or how I spent time w/ my wife).  I also jotted down any little reflections that I felt were worth holding onto.

Below are the different areas of my life along with what I ‘quantified’ and any noteworthy moments from the year.  Some of them are word-for-word what I wrote on that particular day.

I don’t expect anyone to read through all of this but have formatted it so you can jump around to any of the areas you’re curious about.



I counted anything out of the ordinary of having dinner together at home and watching TV (going out to eat, seeing a movie, seeing friends, doing something fun, etc)

We got pregnant, bought our first house, went to Alaska with her family, went to Hawaii to visit my sister, went to NYC for our baby moon, and got her a newer RAV4 🙂.

A few notes from my journal:

  • 5/30 – our house offer was accepted
  • 7/2 – Sara did 3 positive pregnancy tests
  • 8/27 – we’re having a baby girl🙂
  • 9/11 – Sara had a rough day at work today but at dinner she prayed ‘thank you that we have Thom’ and I said ‘we?’ She said ‘me & the baby.’  Made me feel good.
  • 11/25 – felt the baby kick for the first time.



This included:

  • Podcast networking (online or in conferences)
  • Recording, editing, uploading, promoting podcast & YT to social medias
  • Podcast interviews
  • Creating, managing, and promoting online courses
  • Livestreams
  • Setting up workspace
  • Troubleshooting computer issues



  • 4/6 – got my LLC | Thom Gibson Media LLC
  • 4/20 – ‘the energy from the potential of the class economy stuff beginning to find an audience is exciting.  Perhaps speaking opportunities?  Or nothing, that’s OK too.’  This reflection was funny b/c it was the time on someone’s podcast talking about a classroom economy and in my mind I’m like ‘everything is going to take off now! So many people will buy my course’  Haha, but loved the realistic note at the end that there may be nothing at all that visibly happens from this.
  • 6/7 – first classroom economy course sale
  • 6/13 – gave my first conference presentation at LearnFestATX
  • 8/28 – been feeling the pressure of posting to Instagram – as more days pass I feel I need to post something – GOTTA STAY RELEVANT!  It’s dumb.  I guess it’s more of not meeting my goals to build an audience there for my business.
  • 9/4 – Harrison Ford was 47 when he made Indiana Jones & some of his best movies were still ahead of him.  I’m 32 – I have so much time to let things happen with my business & career – just keep working to help other teachers.
  • 11/19 – John Spencer said I could be the Smart Passive Income of education.  Should I go all in w/ the teacher internet content making or have the ‘help you in the classroom’ and ‘help you out of the classroom’ paths?
  • 11/20 – A parent talked about the need for other teachers to create well-produced content (higher production value).  It in turn helps more kids. That could be my market?



I counted ‘moments’ as:

  • Meals w/ friends
  • Drinks w/ colleagues
  • Bible studies / church
  • Phone calls w/ friends
  • Time w/ students outside of normal class (advisory lunches, field trips, project week after school stuff I volunteered for, etc)

5/14 – Brewtorium w/ TJ, Lauren, and Sara.  Cider, food, and Joking Hazard; hardest I’ve laughed in a while.  Being outside w/ perfect weather, being w/ my wife and friends while listening to retired folks play in their ukulele band and laughing at the ridiculous game; such a good place to be. 

6/6 – Lunch w/ Colby at Oakwell BBQ; BBQ outside in the shade w/ someone I enjoy is probably my favorite part of summer.



This averaged about to about 2 classes per week when I was hoping for 3-4 this year. Less time means growth takes longer. I did have a good day at our in-house tournament in March where things really began to feel instinctual and less intellectual.

You can see some of my frustrations though in what felt like a lack of progress in some of the posts below.

  • 3/30 – my first BJJ wins at in house tournament 4 wins, 4 losses
  • 10/8 – tried to relax in BJJ and got rocked by a frantic dude.  I then try to amp up my energy and it gets used against me.  I hate feeling like I’m not only getting better but getting worse.  Have I learned anything?  When coach asked me what I was struggling with, I felt like a child who just felt like he couldn’t do it.  All my conversations w/ students about growth mindset were worthless in that moment.
  • 12/13 – feels like I’m going to be stuck at the ‘not bad for a white belt’ stage for a long time.


190 runs
2 marathons
1025 miles (most miles in Nov – 133)

  • 8/12 – had a mental win over body today.  In last sprint, I was tired but my mind said to my body ‘you are here to move me along- I am not tired – you are tired – but as I am not tired you need to go faster – you CAN go faster b/c that will only tire YOU out, it won’t tire me out – do your job.’  Finished at 4:20 pace.  Usually struggle for a 5:05 pace on the last lap.
  • 11/12 – had an internal dialogue during last sprints today.  Kept telling myself that my body isn’t in charge but my mind is.  But my mind is the one that wants to quit…my body can keep going.  So it’s more about which voice in your mind you decide to listen to.
  • 12/8 – ran marathon in 3:59:53.  Paid for parking w/ cigarettes since I had no cash.



I counted moments as:

  • Phone calls
  • Visits
  • Full days with family counted as 2 moments

While I got to do a few family trips this year and see some unique places (Alaska, Hawaii), had my first death in the family of someone I was close to. My grandmother had dementia that worsened throughout the year and her death was the first time I really ever experienced mourning.

Going out to the funeral in Alabama was important time with family and resulted in a 14 hr road trip back to Texas with my Dad which was a highlight of the year for me.

  • 4/6 – Mema asked who I was
  • 5/26 – brought dad’s charger and McDonalds up to the hospital at midnight.  He was at the ER all day for Papa’s heart issues.  We chatted outside the hospital while he ate his burger.  I enjoyed sitting and chatting as men.  I don’t look forward to him being 80 though.
  • 10/20 – Mema died today
  • 10/30 – drove from Florence to ATX w/ Dad.  Last trip with just the 2 of us was 10 years ago for Christmas when Julianna & Rich lived in AL and Mom was in Panama.  We got McRibs for lunch.  Trip took 14.5 hours.  Didn’t feel that long.



I’ve bolded my top 5 books and linked to my review of them on my book Instagram account (@booksandbeefjerky). I’ve also noted which books I didn’t finish and which I’m still reading. Italicized books were my least favorite.

  1. Off to be the Wizard | Scott Meyer
  2. Can’t Hurt Me | David Goggins
  3. A Prayer for Owen Meany | John Irvine
  4. Storyworthy | Matthew Dicks
  5. Ego is the Enemy | Ryan Holiday
  6. The One Thing | Gary Keller
  7. The Only Investment Guide You’ll Ever Need | Andrew Tobias
  8. Keep Going | Austin Kleon
  9. The War of Art | Steven Pressfield
  10. YouTube Secrets | Sean Cannell & Benji Travis
  11. Open | Andre Agassi
  12. The Number Devil | Hans Magnus Enzensberger
  13. I Will Teach You to Be Rich | Ramit Sethi
  14. Dare to Lead | Brene Brown
  15. Start With Why | Simon Sinek
  16. White Noise | Don DeLillo (didn’t finish)
  17. Finding Ultra | Rich Roll
  18. Mandarin Companion ‘Zhou Haisheng’ | John Pasden & Jared Turner
  19. Dividing By Faith | Michael Emerson & Christian Smith
  20. What I Talk About When I Talk About Running | Haruki Murakami
  21. Building A StoryBrand | Don Miller
  22. Educated | Tara Westover (in progress)
  23. The Expectant Father | Armin Brott (in progress)


I finished my formal classes this year and took the IB Mandarin test (similar to AP).  I did OK.  Felt like a test on how to take a test; how much can you put together when a good chunk of this is characters you may not have learned.

When the new semester started, I began doing private lessons to practice conversation. But like jiu jitsu, the less time you invest, the longer it takes to progress.

Most of my studying took the form of reading simple books, practicing with a flash card app, watching a few TV shows in mandarin during the summer, and of course the lessons where I practiced conversation.

  • 5/20 – Took the IB Mandarin written part today. I expected to do well on that but man, didn’t even know what the prompts were asking. Had a moment where I thought about just not taking it…b/c I’m only doing this for fun, why put myself through feeling like an idiot! Realized that’s not really an option though. Scored a 72. Was surprised to get that (thought it would have been lower). Really discouraging though. Apparently the reading part is harder.
  • 11/24 – Lyft to Times Square. Driver was Chinese and had a sign that said he didn’t speak English. I chatted with him but didn’t understand most of what he said. I said I’m learning, can speak a little bit but have a hard time listening, can read some but there are so many characters, and that since NY has so many Chinese people, I could practice my Chinese a lot there. He said something about Chinese people and writing characters but I couldn’t make it out.


Not much new stuff this year in school. Taught the same classes as last year so just made minor tweaks here and there. A few complaints in the journal about difficult days but overall, have felt really good about my time in the classroom in 2019.

  • 8/20 – first day of school.  It’s my 1st first day where I can say I didn’t have any nervousness or anxiety.  Didn’t feel like a first day, just felt like coming back from a long break.  Good classes so far.  Not sure what no nerves means.  Is it b/c I feel prepared?  I’m confident in my abilities even w/out every minute planned?  I’m bored?
  • 12/3 – had a thought about how I don’t want to leave the classroom – time w/ kids feels so meaningful when I recognize it’s value – when I see them as getting in the way of my ‘real’ work, it’s less fulfilling.  Looked at them today and thought of how it really is a pleasure to get the chance to be a part of their lives – need to keep reminding myself of that.


This year I made it a point to notate anytime I said something that made me think ‘man…did I just say that?’ Most of it had to do with moments I was recognizing my own ego / insecurities manifesting in a need for praise and approval from others.

Some of them were too cringy to include in a public blog but here’s a few of the notes my developing self-awareness.

  • 2/10 – I find that I try to find ways to tell people how early I wake up and hope that they’ll be impressed.
  • 2/17 – I was excited to tell people about my marathon to the point that someone talked about how they ran the half and I said ‘you ran the half-marathon??  I ran the full!’ and just hearing myself say it out loud made me quickly self-deprecate and make fun of what I just said. 
  • 4/2- Talking to people about some of my first BJJ tournament wins and showing the take down video, I had said ‘yeah and that video doesn’t even show my best take down that day!’ 
  • 5/30 – during acknowledgements at my school, I think ‘what about me?’ most of the time and rarely have acknowledgements for others – I felt I should be more present in my colleagues lives
  • 6/5 – I thought of people I want to have breakfast w/ this week and it was all about who I’d want to talk to about all the stuff I’ve been thinking about – I didn’t really wonder ‘who would it be good to hear from.’  Basically it’s all about me.
  • 7/28 – met someone new today.  I find that if the conversation dies, I defer to talking about myself instead of asking questions.  Did the same w/ another guy I met last week.
  • 11/27 – I was pushing and shoving to get to the front of the line when getting on the plane.  We weren’t even basic economy, we were Comfort + which is after first class and before economy.  I had Sara’s suitcase but she started getting ahead of me.  Tried to catch up by squeezing between some folks.  A dude said ‘we are all going to the same place.’  To which I responed ‘uh…I gotta get my wife her suitcase.’  I sounded so stupid.  He just gave me a ‘ok ok, whatever you say man’ look.  I’m not that guy that people say that to!  That they make a remark about how ridiculous I’m being – and if they do, I’m the kind of guy who’s got a quick witted reply.  Except today showed that I am that guy, but without the quick witted reply.
  • 12/10 – while on the field trip to the Facebook offices with the coding class, I didn’t want to ask a question to the engineers that would show my ignorance but did so for the students’ sake – tried framing it as an opportunity to show I’m open to learning & not afraid to ask questions if I don’t know…even though I am afraid and don’t want to look stupid.


Lastly, I’d like to share a few lessons I learned this year on the power of being in the present moment. This usually took the shape of not overthinking things and of not allowing my mind and thoughts to be elsewhere when I was with people. It led to better performance and gratitude for the present moment.

  • BJJ when I just relaxed and didn’t overthink stuff and things going well. 
  • my classroom where I realized school isn’t a time for me to look for pockets of time to steal away to work on my business or check my phone; I’m there for the kids, even if they’re working on a test and no one needs me in that moment; I’m there for them – they feel that presence (or lack thereof).
  • moments of gratitude for Sara when I think about something horrible happening and being thankful it hasn’t.
  • 4/27 – driving home after dinner & sitting outside; imagined it being 1989 but being from present day and thinking ‘so much time until 2019, slow down & relax.’  Smell of the air at dusk reminded me of playing outside at Mema & Pa’s catching lightening bugs.  Enjoyed the peace of dusk – enjoying this season of life
  • 4/29 – cried while listening to ‘Stop This Train’ by John Mayer as part of my devotional.  A beautiful look at the fear & uncertainty of getting older, coming to grips w/ it, & enjoying the moments when everything feels as it should.
  • 6/14 – seeing Sara and I in a mirror makes me want to be a better husband for her – something about the detachment of it that gives me perspective
  • 12/5 – talking Spanish to 5 ladies at the running club – way more self-conscious than when speaking with one person and my Spanish was then garbage.  I do better if I don’t care about looking / sounding dumb.
  • 12/12 – in 5 years, I’m not going to regret that I spent more time w/ my daughter in her first months.  If anything, I’ll wish that I hadn’t tried so hard to keep doing everything during that season (YouTube, business, BJJ, etc)
  • Quite a few entries on going first; saying hello first, asking someone something I’m curious about (where did you get that hat…what are you doing in town?).  Most people are pretty open to conversation, you just need to go first.

It was really meaningful to go back and read through my year and I can say that I spent my time in a way that I don’t feel it was wasted; I spent my time on things and people that were important to me.

Felt this process was important before I began to make plans for 2020. I’ll probably write a blog on that.

Thanks for reading!

By Thom H Gibson

I help middle school STEM teachers create meaningful & memorable experiences for their students. Teacher, podcaster, YouTuber. Two-time teacher of the year

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