Another year has almost gone. There might be four seasons, four quarters every year. It feels like there have been several more than that. It’s been one of those years. I’m tired, thankful, and looking forward to a break before planning what comes next.
Since entering my thirties, I’ve felt a growing sense of change and inevitability around it. My review of 2021 certainly focused on that a lot, both with ‘revisiting’ and ‘change.’ Looking back now, I see that I wasn’t ready to surrender to it. That bled into the beginning of this year and has caused me plenty of emotional turmoil, and overall, 2022 has been a rollercoaster. At some point, I realized nothing would change unless I accepted my feelings. Ultimately, we can’t help how we feel. Sometimes our heart doesn’t respect our own wishes. So in September, I ended the longest relationship I’ve ever had, and while it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, it was for the best for us both. Now I’m focusing on what comes next. It’s exciting, scary, and difficult because, after a decade, that becomes your normal. The important thing is to have a fresh start and not a fresh slump which can easily happen when old wounds are still so raw.
One word. Clarity. My biggest weakness over the years is that I’ve struggled with knowing what I want to do. There was always an abundance of ideas and possibilities, especially in my 20s. This last year, I’ve been incredibly consistent. I’ve got my niche websites and a few niches I’m invested in. The biggest and most important thing for me is building a media company with diversified traffic sources. What’s that saying? Rome wasn’t built in a day. It’s completely true.
So while growth continues steadily, I’ve been keeping busy with Optimizers Club, Face Digital (where I’m now strategic advisor), and occasional technical audits or development work. Honestly, I like to work. Sometimes the passive thing can be overrated when you live in rural areas without much to do.
Optimizers Club has been an area of clarity for me because it’s something that I love doing. Just teaching others is a rewarding experience, but the community has been strong for years. I’ve made some excellent friends, and I want to keep improving that for them as they’ve supported me since the beginning. It’s also time to bring in some fresh perspectives, which means the group is now always open to anyone that wants to join. It’s important in any mastermind or place of learning not to create echo chambers.
I’ve also revived my public group, which is called on-page academy. I’ve not put much time into it these last 18 months because after running it for years, I’d felt that I’d given all that I was willing to in public. However, things have changed in that time. In some ways, massively. When I started the group, on-page optimization was a specialist role in itself. Nowadays, there are specialists in that role. There are structured data experts, technical experts, entity experts, and more. It’s a really important time to give those people a platform and let everyone benefit from others’ voices, not just my own. I’m a technical expert and I’m amazing at optimizing what we optimize (systems & strategy). I’ll continue doing that. It just means that now that group can really blossom without me having to talk about subjects that others are probably more knowledgeable about than I am now. So if you’re reading this and you see yourself as an expert on-page, let me know, and we can do an interview or an AMA.
Just before the pandemic, I was the heaviest I’ve ever been—almost 16 stone (225lbs) which is no good for someone that’s not quite 5’10. I cleaned up my diet during the lockdown. Then last year, I started doing cardio almost every day. Now I’m fully back in the gym for the first time in almost a decade. It’s made me feel so much better and positive in my mood. I’m down to 172lbs, with a lot of muscle added on. It’s a lifestyle change that I want to keep, and it’s one of the things I’m proudest of this year because all previous attempts to find consistency with the gym since becoming an adult had failed.
Having turned 32 this year, focus has become more important to me than ever. Inputs affect outputs, so I’ll continue working on the things I’ve chosen to work on until I’m 35. It’s not quite a five-year plan, but it’ll do. There are relatively few things that I care about. That could change over time, but the really important things won’t. Some people won’t understand, but that’s life. I’ll always do it my way.