We decided a few years ago that we would experience fewer presents every other year for Christmas in our family. Instead of buying many gifts that eventually break, are lost, or the kids grow out of and not use them, the idea is to create memories.

So far, we traveled back to the UK, visited Hawaii, and recently visited Disney World. We have regular gifts and a stay-at-home Christmas in the off years. This year we visited Disney World, which was fun, stressful, and unforgettable. We got passes for all four parks, Magic Kingdom. Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios. We added park hopper tickets allowing us to visit other parks each day. We also added the new Genie+ service, which is Disney’s new Artificial Intelligence (AI) service that helps you plan your day and constantly updates to help you create the best experience possible.

I only had two rides I wanted to ride for this visit: Flight of Passage from Pandora and Rise of the Resistance from Star Wars. All the others were great, but these two were incredible. For those that have ridden these rides, you know what I mean. 

We started our 10-day trip by visiting each park, getting there when it opened, and leaving almost when it closed each day. My Garmin watch let me know we walked about 12+ miles a day in the parks. It was so much fun getting into the Disney spirit, albeit wearing masks indoors and on rides; it was still great, and as a family, we enjoyed it.

The best part of the whole vacation was spending time with family. My daughter, husband, and granddaughter came to stay with us for the week too, which was fantastic. Of course, not working at all was a bonus. I honestly, for the first time, didn’t do any work unless filling out new medical forms for 2022 enrollment counts as work, then I failed 🙂 It was nice to truly switch off and enjoy the parks, the atmosphere, time with my wife and kids, just creating memories that I know I will treasure forever.

As you can see, we had a great time; there are so many photos I could post; I think we are into thousands of images that try to create parts of the vacation that will stick with us forever. It was a fantastic experience for us as a family, especially after the past couple of years of not doing anything like it.

So now I am back at work, trying to be motivated about it, knowing that Christmas is just around the corner. It got me thinking about what 2022 will hold for work. Of course, I will be doing the same work as before, focusing on Microsoft 365, Security and Compliance, and all things cloud. I am working on three courses starting in January:

  • Metasploit Essential Training
  • PowerShell Security
  • Using the Microsoft Graph PowerShell

These courses are for Pluralsight, LinkedIn Learning, and the EC Council. I am excited to do these, and as you can see, they stray a little from the standard Microsoft 365 and SharePoint courses built in the past. Look for more details as I work on this first part of the year. I will try and only work four days a week, yes that’s right a four-day workweek. I am not sure if I will be successful, but I will try it and see if it works out.

I will also continue to blog as I have been, and you will see me at a few conferences this coming year, starting with 365 EduCon in Dallas in February, where I will be speaking on:

  • Security and Compliance within Microsoft 365
  • Top 10 Security Features to enable in Microsoft 365
  • Using Azure Sentinel with Microsoft Teams

Hopefully, I will see you there. My overall goal this coming year is to “Work Smarter, Not Harder.”

As for personal things, so far this year, I have run nearly every day (Monday – Saturday), totaling (so far) 1667.5 miles. With my current run distances, I should end closer to 1750 miles. I am pretty proud of that and completing 19 virtual runs and three in-person races. I already have a few in-person runs scheduled this coming year and more virtual challenges to complete.

I am looking forward to 2022, excited about changes, new goals, and spending time with my family.