Hi everyone, and welcome to the 2021 edition of Rich Marchetti’s year review. I want to begin this post with a disclaimer that I will be switching up the format this time around. I did do many cool things and accomplished a lot this year (on a personal and professional level), but it was also traumatic in many ways. Therefore, I will spend more time being introspective and less time calling out special events and posting photos (you can view my highlights here). So let us begin, shall we…
The good things
Mental Health Improvements
If you know me well, you know that I am quite an anxious person. I rarely live in the moment, and I usually look forward to my next goal or dwell on my past and reminisce more than I should. However, this year I began to make great strides towards quieting my anxious mind.
With the assistance of weekly therapy sessions (and medication), I started to frame uncomfortable situations and my perceived shortcomings in a more positive light. In the past, I tended to make mountains out of molehills and let them ruin my present moment. I still lean towards worrying, but I try to reflect on these instances more often and find the good things that came out of that situation.
I also started to appreciate my alone time by coping with my occasional loneliness by finding healthy things to do during those periods. My favorite moments are often spent in solitude: evening strolls with my favorite podcasts or long drives to nowhere with my music blasting. I can also take comfort in knowing that I am never actually alone. Good conversation is always just a phone call or message away. I have a fantastic set of friends and family that always has my back.
Quality time with my friends & family
Speaking of friends and family, I had some great times with them this year. Whether it was time spent online (or at our in-person quarterly summits) with my Discord buddies playing video games or having family gatherings at my parent’s place, my year was in good company. Having a constant source of support made my year better, especially during my darkest days. Not to mention, I got to be in two of my very good friends’ weddings and plan their bachelor getaways. I even delivered a speech at one that was very well received.
Another good thing that kept me going this year was my career progression. I made a pretty big transition at my company and gained a new mentor and friend. I spent the first half of 2021 as the Revenue Operations Manager at Aquant. I assisted with many things behind the scenes within the sales and marketing departments. I did make some quality contributions in that role this year, but I was left feeling a tad stagnant. I thought that I could not grow or learn any more in that role since I had been doing many of the same things for quite some time. I felt so stale that I began to respond to recruiters on Linkedin and thought about a shift to another organization. Looking back at this now, I feel pretty silly because I never raised this concern with any of my colleagues, and I should have before taking any action. When the news broke of my unhappiness and my move to a new company, it raised alarm bells, so I quickly felt remorse and withdrew my offer. This event set off a series of critical conversations with my managers that led to exploring other roles within the company. At this time of writing, Edwin, the VP of Product Marketing and Business Development, began to give me projects outside of my Revenue Operations role to understand what roles I could be interested in. That being said, I cannot say enough good things about Aquant. They know how to treat their employees and look after their well-being.
I had worked with Edwin in the past on a skunkworks project that turned into one of our company’s flagship products and found it to be super fulfilling. I showed some interest in learning the ins and outs of a product, which gave him some initial ideas. I enjoyed talking about the product and could translate technical jargon into business terminology. I began to study the product that I had worked on and the rest of Aquant’s product catalog and started practicing pitching it. I wrote scripts and courses for the sales team and accompanied them on a few tradeshows to hone the craft of the product demo. I ended up choosing Product Marketing Manager, as this seemed to fill my interest in the product, highlighted my technical/business acumen, and brought fulfillment.
2021 brought the COVID vaccine and, along with that, everyone’s desire to do some traveling. I did quite a bit of traveling in the past year. Becca and I took a trip to California for my birthday in the summer, and it was terrific. We went sightseeing in San Francisco and explored the sleepy beach town of Santa Cruz with our close friends. Highlights included getting to walk around Alcatraz and seal watching in Santa Cruz. I especially enjoyed that trip as I created some fantastic memories with Becca, and it was my first time in California.
I also did a lot of traveling with Aquant since tradeshows began to pop up again. I went to Chicago in September, and I went on one of my colleague’s sailboats the first day! We got a tour of Chicago from the coastline, and the views were spectacular. I also got to go to a Cubs game after the conference was over on one of the days. I, of course, had to get a Chicago-style hotdog before leaving.
In addition to Chicago, I got to see Las Vegas for the first time, and on my way there, I stopped in Utah to see my good buddy Vlad. He just so happened to be house-sitting for his parents at the same time I was headed to a trade show in Vegas, so I figured I’d pop in on the way. Utah’s nature views were astounding. Vlad and I spent most of the time that I was there hiking and admiring the views.
Las Vegas was interesting. I stopped drinking before I went (I will discuss later), so I found myself very preoccupied just taking in all of the sights and sounds of the strip. I also did a bit of gambling, but a lot of my time in Vegas was spent setting up and taking down the booth at the conference. Everyone always thinks that going to tradeshows is glamourous, but the traveling itself and long days get to you by the second day there.
Another memorable trip I had was my trek to Vermont to spend time with one of my old mentors (Garth) for a weekend. I enjoy spending time up there because his family treats me as one of their own. While I was there, I went kayaking with Garth, and we got to talking about where I would want to live long term, and it hit me that I no longer wanted to live in a city. I realized that I would want to live in a quiet place like Vermont. It was one of those conversations that stuck with me. At that time, I started to think about where I wanted to end up in the upcoming years.
On my last business trip of the year, I went back to California. This time I was in Palm Springs at a beautiful resort. After the conference was over, I was able to extend my trip. I rented a car and drove out to Orange County, where Edwin lives. We had an offsite meeting at an Airbnb and started planning for 2022. I also had some free time to take a long drive on the PCH and see some California sights on my own. On this trip, I started to enjoy my alone time.
Traveling and all of the good things listed above balanced out and distracted me from some tragic events this year.
The Bad Things
One of the more tragic things thrown at me this year was the ending (as well as the events leading up to it) of one of my most treasured relationships. My relationship with my partner got very rocky during the summer. We had a giant falling out, and it involved my drinking habits and my inability to articulate how I was feeling inside. I am not at liberty to talk about the events right before our breakup, but I will say it affected us both quite severely. I ended up moving back to my parent’s place in Connecticut. It was a very tough and sad decision, but we realized that we are on different paths and want other things in life.
A silver lining
Although it sounds bleak in the prior paragraph, a critical thing came about because of this terrible event. I quit drinking alcohol. When I am writing this, I have gone over 180 days without alcohol. The abstinence from alcohol has given the clarity to focus on getting better. My mental health began to improve, and the root problems of my alcohol use became more apparent. I started seeing a therapist more faithfully and attending group sessions. I also realized that social media sites like Instagram and Facebook were seriously affecting my mood in a negative way, so I got rid of them (for the most part). I continue to improve my mental health and build confidence to this day.
I want to conclude my year in review by saying all and all 2021 was a transformative year for me. I had more good things happen than bad things this year, so I suppose I could call that a win. I will never discount the bad things that happened in 2021, but I am doing my best to make sure they never happen again. I am hopeful that 2022 will bring my loved ones and me good fortune. Even if some woes manage to creep into my life this year, I will be prepared to face them, learn from them and improve myself. I know I shared some serious and private thoughts here, but showing vulnerability is essential for overall development. Thank you all for taking the time to read my post.