2009 in Retrospect | The Best of Life Without Pants

This week at Life Without Pants I’m taking a look back at the year that was – fondest memories within the walls of my own blog, around the web, lessons learns, and resolutions for 2010. 2009 was a wild year, to say the least. It’s amazing that I literally didn’t know ANY of you this time last year. Look how far we’ve come…

To kick things off I wanted to highlight some of my personal favorite posts/conversations from the Life Without Pants 2009 Archives. 138 (now 139) posts in the book – and many many more to come. Here are some of my favorites, including quotes that still speak volumes today.

Work + Life: Is There a Balance? | 02/11/2009

Summary: One of the first posts written at Life Without Pants. Balancing your career and personal life is important, but it’s equally important to find a way to incorporate your personal passions into your 9 to 5 routine (sometimes easier said than done).

And my advice to you all, whoever might be reading this, is to not only make time for the things you love in your life outside of work, but to incorporate your passions in your career path in whatever way you can. And even though the economy stinks, it’s important to note that some of the biggest start-up companies in history came to life in poor economic times. With a little money and a lot of ingenuity, anyone can go a long, long way.

Wake Up on the Right Side of the Bed | 03/08/2009

Summary: Start the day doing something that you love – before anything else – It’ll set the tone for the rest of the day. Also, my obsession of Lady Gaga makes it’s first appearance.

Before heading out the door – do some things that make you happy, Have an extra bowl of cereal. Watch that episode of Saved by the Bell you’ve already seen 583 times. Go for the morning jog you always say you don’t have time for but wish you did. Blast the latest Lady Gaga tune and don’t feel ashamed (although it’s important to consider roommates and neighbors)MAKE TIME for yourself and wake up each new day with a feeling of excitement. Excited about something you may already know that’s coming. Excited about what surprises the new day may bring. Excited about life. And then enjoy it, every minute of it.

The ‘Spirituality & Social Media’ Guest Post Series | April 2009

Summary: Guest writer Gavin Richardson takes us on a journey through the practice of faith on the internet. From religious Podcasts to Second Life sermons, this is an incredible series on a pretty unique topic that you might have missed – so go check it out!

Think about where you meet people now. I might say Twitter & Facebook could be your daily trip to temple or town green to meet people, find out how they are living their lives, and entertain a teaching or question. Blogging could be your Quaker style preaching, listening/reading a message and taking an opportunity to challenge & question. Blogging & video are ways to hear testimonies, stories of faith that you might never have received before because you were at home doing your own study and own reflections.

Work vs. Life: What is Your White Whale? | 04/06/2009

Summary: If there is ONE post I could choose out of every single thing that has been written here this year – this would be it. Not really because the post itself is all that epic – but because of the extremely thoughtful and inspired discussion that followed. People I had never met or even spoken to came through and shared some extremely personal stories. I love going back and reading through the comments over and over again. Another example of the community adding far more value than I ever could.

Embarking down the path of the startup life takes commitment, it takes passion, it takes sacrifice. We all have our own ‘White Whale’, whatever it may be, there are things in life that we have to accomplish, things that we have to conquer, both personally and professionally – priorities can be different for each and every one of us. To some, work and life is a balance, to others, work and life are one in the same and must be integrated.  But in the end, don’t live your life to be remembered as the guy who wrote Moby Dick, live your life to be remembered as someone who was passionate enough to write 800 pages about a whale. Call Me Ishmael…

Rule #176 of Being a Blogger: Learn How to Take Criticism | 04/13/2009

Summary: My first, “Holy shit people actually read this blog” moment. Some controversial actions by Penelope Trunk in response to a critical comment result in a powerful post by Ms. Trunk and this response from yours truly about the bigger picture of ‘taking criticism’ in the world of blogging. We address the question: How do you handle criticism on your own blog?

It seems that overall, as bloggers, we really don’t want any criticism. We say we do, we say we encourage discussion and interaction, but as soon as one is faced with criticism, it immediately gets personal and turns ugly. I want my blog to be an OPEN forum of discussion – disagree with me, tell me what’s on your mind. That’s great – I want to learn and grow.

The Convenience of Mediocrity | 05/25/2009

Summary: Guest writer Rikin Diwan gives some especially inspired thoughts as part of the Inconvenience of Change guest-blog-series-turned-ebook, with perspective on settling for mediocrity, and rising above the “regular”.

Our quest for change is undoubtedly noble and in many ways necessary but it is also one that can easily become an ugly and bitter obsession. The world has seen more change in the past century or so than in any other that the fact that society simply hasn’t taken a break is shocking. In truth, this is a testament to the collective human spirit and exemplifies society’s obsession with advancement and change. However, we as individuals spend a lifetime growing, learning, and working that we shouldn’t forget to set aside time to look back without regret and look ahead with content before having to say, “Well, that was fun.”

Sometimes the Best Plan is Not Having a Plan | 06/22/2009

Summary: Have you ever bookmarked one of your own posts as something to go back and look at when you need a little motivation? This is one of those for me. I wrote this during my “period of transition” – newly engaged, just having put in my two weeks notice, a couple weeks away from moving to Chicago. If you want some perspective on the fear and excitement I was experiencing BEFORE the leap, take a look at this one.

I’m happy. I’m nervous and scared as hell. But I’m happy. And in the end, that’s all that matters. When it’s all said and done; after I save the world, get the girl, and the dust settles, I want to be standing on top of Bowser’s castle knowing that I lived life on my own terms. Played by my own rules. Achieved what everyone told me I couldn’t achieve.

The God Mode Mindset | 07/01/2009

Summary: Let’s see…I reference Pro Wrestling, Contra, Seinfeld, & Saved by the Bell. Need I say more? This post is all about breaking the rules, or at least bending them, to get a little more out of life.

When you live by the rules – you limit your potential. I’m here to tell you that the rules are BS. Odds are they were put there to keep you safe – to limit your risk taking but promote a safe and secure lifestyle. Graduating college, finding a job that pays well, getting married, providing for your family – this is all part of our lives’ script. Some rules are there for a reason, I’m not promoting all out anarchy here; but sometimes when you break the rules, when you ‘cheat life’, you start to realize what you’re truly capable of.

On How I Stopped Holding Myself Back and Where I Am Today | 08/03/2009

The Summary: A post written just a short time after the ‘big shake up’ of leaving my home of Nashville and finding myself in the burbs of Chicago. In short, it’s amazing what you can accomplish when you stop trying and start doing.

I would love to be able to tell you that my confidence has been unwavering through all this – but I’m a terrible liar. I’ve doubted myself time and time again – but each time, I’ve persevered and have been able to restore and build that confidence within myself. Today, I understand that insanity and brilliance go hand in hand – and as crazy as all this might have been, I know I’m doing the right thing. To hell with what everyone else tells you not to do – you’re the one in the drivers seat.

Why I Won’t Be Moving to Maine Anytime Soon | 11/04/2009

The Summary: Although I don’t do it too often, I share a very personal story about growing up with a gay mother and how it’s helped shape me into the open-minded man today. Whatever your stance, the conversation in the comments following this post is some of the best discussion you’ll read around the web all year. The response was overwhelming.

Anyone who falls in love and decides they want to spend the rest of their life with another human being should be able to, and should receive the legal benefits that go along with it. What gives you or I the right to vote on someone else’s rights? Why are we even “voting” on this in the first place? If you are against gay marriage, ask yourself this: “How does someone else’s sexual preference effect ME in any way”? Honestly – who cares? No one cares who I decide to marry, why should I care or have any say in someone else’s marriage decision? Wake up people. Wake up Maine. The world is changing around you. When will you stop resisting that change?

It’s been a hell of a year, that’s for sure. If you haven’t taken some time to look through your own archives – I strongly advise it. Odds are you’ll be surprised by all you’ve accomplished this year.

What are some of your favorite posts from Life Without Pants? Better yet, what’s a favorite post you’ve written on your own blog? (Link dropping encouraged)

Come back tomorrow as we continue the 2009 IN RETROSPECT series with a look at TEN blogs you must follow in 2010!

About Matt Cheuvront

I empower folks to do the work they want to do and live the life they want to live. I also watch entirely too much Saved by the Bell, run marathons, and drink plenty of craft beer. Check out the work my company is doing at Proof Branding.