100 Things That Made 2017 a Great Year

Happy new year! I’m still feeling the afterglow from a 2017 that was too good for me, and I want to follow my friend Derek Magill’s lead in sharing some of the experiences that made the past year good.

Maybe I’ll be wise enough to follow these same threads to better things in 2018.

In no particular order:

1. Hiring my first employee and learning how to be a manager at BitPay

2. Serving (and getting paid by) one of my first real freelance clients

3. Lots of weddings, but especially my brother’s wedding celebration. Fancy clothes, great food, good people, and music + dancing that was out of this world.

4. Giving less of a damn about the opinions of others (or at least not letting those opinions keep me from acting)

5. 80’s dance nights at The Basement

6. Cooking for a crowd, serving brunch, and listening to soul music with friends at Eastside Church

7. Getting my Canon camera and becoming more self-sufficient with getting photos for BitPay’s marketing

8. Getting a bottle of Woodford Reserve whiskey from one of our vendors (for my 21st birthday), taking a year to finish it.

9. Going chapter by chapter through Atlas Shrugged with good Praxis friends, having late night conversations that were at once insightful and hilarious.

10. Getting realer and still growing closer to my parents and my brother + his wife

11. Making a solo pilgrimage to my first major bluegrass festival (Merlefest 2017), attending the midnight jam, seeing some amazing artists + heroes, going to a bluegrass dance party hosted by Front Country,  and holding my own in the jamming tents.

12. Attending an Eastern Orthodox Easter service (these people know how to party like it’s AD 33)

13. Talking with young people about Praxis + finding a few that will really love it

14. Watching the solar eclipse on the water in Charleston with two of my favorite people

15. Meeting some of BitPay’s best new team members

16. Celebrating a friend’s birthday at my apartment with whiskey, wine, watermelon, rock n’ roll music, good conversation, and impromptu fencing lessons

17. Practicing my public speaking on Bitcoin and my own education path

18. Explaining part of my marketing strategy to Ashton Kutcher, not fainting

19. Writing every day for over 260 days straight

20. Talking about life + spiritual growth, cracking jokes, eating oranges, reading Richard Rohr, and asking questions every Monday with a core group of friends from church

21. Embracing my inner fantasy geek, owning it

22. Discovering the joys of berry tea

23. Catching up on great movies like Schindler’s ListEmpire of the Sun, and War Horse (basically, movies scored by John Williams)

24. Quarterly BBQ events and shop talk with the good people over at GuildQuality

25. Hosting fascinating fireside chats over BBQ with local entrepreneurs for the Atlanta Startup Apprenticeship meetup

26. Roadtripping to Louisiana and a wonderful wedding with my Canadian world-traveler friends who I almost never see, staying one step ahead of a hurricane

27. Learning how to ask better questions, and putting a heck of a lot of practice into it

28. Watching the price of bitcoin go from a little over $1K to nearly $20K in less than a year.

29. Seeing Bitcoin become a topic of mainstream conversation.

30. Continuing to fall in love with Atlanta’s Shakespeare Tavern, seeing Macbeth, The Taming of the Shrew, Richard III, and Romeo and Juliet.

31. Discovering Madeleine L’Engles A Wrinkle in Time series

32. Long drives back to Charleston past the hayfields and cotton fields of South Carolina backroads.

33. King of Pops Yoga in the Park with friends on warm Sunday summer evenings

34. Going to church, surprisingly. Eucharist, singing, volunteering, and not feeling like I have to go along with anything I don’t believe in.

35. Discovering Jordan Peterson’s work and watching his Maps of Meaning lecture series

36. Seeing some great shows at acoustic venue Eddie’s Attic, including Wade Bowen, the Secret Sisters, and Jill Andrews

37. Creating a seven-episode Game of Thrones philosophy podcast with my friend Ryan Ferguson (a much better podcaster than me)

38. Learning how to work more effectively with journalists and the media

39. Praxis philosophy night discussions

40. Spending a final night of epic productivity in the old BitPay office after a day of moving work

41. Moving to the new BitPay office, now based in a capitalist utopia

42. Sunday afternoon walks, dog-watching, people-watching, and King of Pops popsicles in Piedmont Park

44. Late night exploring in Atlanta’s midtown district

45. Dressing up for Halloween with BitPay co-workers and going out for ice cream together (while I was in character)

46. Not checking my Facebook newsfeed, unfollowing everyone on Twitter, and generally checking out from “keeping up with what’s going on” on social media

47. Having some of my favorite couples in the world over for dinner

48. Praxis Weekend 2017

49. Practicing my hiring and interviewing skills at BitPay

50. Reading 38 (give or take a few) mostly good books on everything from the history of misogyny to fossil fuels to pyrotheology

51. A new season of Game of Thrones 

52. Going roller skating for the first time in 10 years, finding a skating mentor almost immediately

53. Devouring the Wheel of Time book series and having my mind/worldview blown by an epic fantasy story on a scale I haven’t experienced since Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings, and C.S. Lewis’s work.

54. Wonder Woman – it’s probably the best superhero movie

55. Finally giving in and getting a Netflix account, discovering Stranger Things

56. Falling in love with the cheesy gloriousness of 80s pop-rock music

57. Listening to (and making playlists of) epic film scores while I work, brush my teeth, etc.

58. Making brunch for a house full of hungry Praxis participants + alumni (and getting help)

59. Writing my first song (sort of)

60. Sunday afternoon reading and dog-watching binges in the neighborhood dog park

61. Having a bunch of small-world moments in the pretty big city of Atlanta, GA

62. Hiking the Chattahoochee with Praxis friends from all over the country, meeting an old guy named Steve, and taking turns on his paddleboard.

63. Dreaming up and giving away free business ideas.

64. Getting some of my blog posts republished by the Foundation for Economic Education

65. Dressing up like a highlander warrior (homemade costume which cost nothing more than the cost of some safety pins) and absolutely owning a Scottish accent for an entire Halloween party

66. Deep philosophical conversations over breakfast with friends at Homegrown

67. Having my first speakeasy experience

68. Exploring Krog Street Market, Ponce City Market, the Atlanta Beltline, and all the other best yuppie places in Atlanta

69. Getting a suit and new dress shoes and learning to appreciate men’s (and women’s) fashion much more. Pocket squares FTW.

70. Being a part of filming for BitPay’s feature video.

71. Dancing on the Mount Pleasant pier and watching the fireworks light up the water on the 4th of July

72. Outsourcing a lot my cooking to Chipotle

73. Working late at the office on Friday, contemplative late-night walks around the office

74. Gelato

75. Working in coffee shops, working outside – working just about anywhere other than my desk

76. Being able to buy wine for people when I visit their homes/parties

77. Cooking my first batch of oysters solo, not messing up too badly

78. Swing dancing with a cute army engineer girl to “Rocking Around the Christmas Tree” when I was back in Charleston for Thanksgiving

79. Atlanta’s big snow weekend.

80. Getting into a snowball fight with an attractive stranger and promptly losing

81. Listening to music, drinking coffee, and reflecting on my morning commute

82. Ice skating for the first time and earning the nickname “the Michael Jackson of skate” (at least, I like to think that was for me) before falling on my butt publicly.

83. Dance party, interesting roommates, good reunions, and long conversations at ISFLC 2017 in Washington, DC.

84. Mostly ignoring the news and the accompanying angst

85. Learning to sleep in my car occasionally to get things done

86. Hosting the first ever dance party at my family’s farm

87. Going for it and writing some beginner poetry, with one gem I’m proud of

88. Rediscovering a love for biography and memoir as a way of learning about history. Good ones from this year: Walt Disney: the Triumph of the American Imagination, Persepolis, Maus, and I Will Bear Witness (Victor Klemperer’s diaries of life under Nazi rule from 1933-1941).

89. Going out to the new Braves stadium with the BitPay team, taking funny photos, feasting, cracking up, and enjoying some of the fruits of our labor

90. Meeting up with friends for chicken and waffles, finding ourselves in a massive crowd of early Christmas revelers, going with the flow

91. Spending a weekend living it up in the heart of Nashville with good former co-workers and current good friends in the blockchain industry

92. Geeking out over the writing and humor in Much Ado About Nothing with the unofficial Praxis Shakespeare discussion group

93. Finding the television show Lost

94. Roughhousing with my young cousins, who love to try to kill me and/or beat me in every possible kind of adventure or contest or game

95. Coming together with my whole extended (cousins) Walpole family to celebrate my grandfather’s life and legacy

96. Celebrating Christmas and a year of hard work with the BitPay team at Top Golf

97. Star Wars, the Last Jedi 

98. Daily journalling. This habit has helped me to view my life through more of a storytelling lens, and it’s made me much more mindful of the things I have to be grateful for.

99. BitPay’s 300%+ growth in payment volumes ($ volume) and a big decision to process payments on multiple blockchains (starting with Bitcoin Cash)

100. Building a better life and a better world completely in spite of everything

James Walpole

James Walpole is a writer, startup marketer, and perpetual apprentice. You're reading his blog right now, and he really appreciates it. Don't let it go to his head, though.

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