Welcome to the first of what I expect to become an annual tradition:
An award spectacular.
I’m calling it “The Unruttys.” It’s a celebration of my best and worst from the past year.
While this may not sound so “spectacular” to you, I think you might want to consider it because:
- Some of my picks may be of use or interest to you.
- It may inspire you to start your own awards.
Compiling the nominees was a fun way to review 2021. And I’m betting these awards will serve as a time capsule of sorts. If I keep it up, these annual Unruttys will tell the story of my life.
And why now, almost a quarter of the way through 2022?
- I feel it helps to have a bit of distance from 2021 to get a good look at it.
- The Oscars take place this time, too. So if late March is good enough for Hollywood to celebrate 2021, it’s good enough for me.
Without further ado, let’s begin the ceremony.
My 2021 Awards
I’ve split the Unruttys into six categories:
And for my own entertainment, I came up with names for each award.
The Usual Suspects Award for Favorite Movie of the Year
Notes to Self: I watched 20 movies in 2021. None were amazing. The worst was What We Do In The Shadows, which we watched in that Ex-Machina-esque cabin in Tulbagh and should’ve taken some sort of drugs to appreciate.
Note to Readers: Award named in honor of my all-time favorite movie.
The Golden Sledgehammer Award for Book of the Year
🏆 A tie! The Comfort Crisis and Dedicated
- How Will You Measure Your Life
- A Swim in a Pond in the Rain
- Deep Nutrition
- The Molecule of More
- Designing Your Life
Notes to Self: A strong class! The Comfort Crisis was fun to read and convinced me to be more “outdoorsy.” (See previous Consider This.) Dedicated will probably have the most lasting impact in convincing me to commit rather than keep my options open.
Note to Readers: Check out my all-time list of “sledgehammer” books that changed my thinking.
The Zac’s-Finally-Asleep-and-We’re-Too-Zonked-for-Anything-Else” Award for Best TV Series of the Year
- The Challenge, Season 38
- Peaky Blinders, Seasons 1-5
- Ted Lasso, Season 1
- Gomorrah, Seasons 1 & 2
- Succession, Season 3
Notes to Self: Dave, aka Lil Dicky, inspired me not to try so hard. People pay more attention and learn from you better when you tell your own story and be your own dumb self.
The Podfast-Breaker Award for Best Podcast Episode
🏆 Grievances Draft, The Dog Walk
- Laurie Gets a Fun-tervention (Part One), The Happiness Lab
- Think Again: JJ Abrams takes Adam’s job, WorkLife
- Jerry Seinfeld — A Comedy Legend’s Systems, Routines, and Methods for Success, The Tim Ferriss Show
- Ep 68: Gok Wan, Off Menu
Note to Readers: Award named in recognition of my experience quitting podcasts, aka “pod-fasting,” in July 2021.
Notes to Self: I had a surprisingly hard time coming up with nominees, despite having listened to hundreds of episodes. A good reminder to WWIDDBOTI and periodically pod-fast. The Dog Walk snake drafts were probably my favorite new podcasts of the year. I also enjoyed many My First Million and All-In episodes. The podcast I most listened to was probably Bill Simmons.
The Foundation Award for Best Dining Out Experience
🏆 22 Church, Montagu, South Africa
- Maenam, Vancouver
- Restaurante Bolas, Portugal
- Reverie Social Club, Cape Town
- Himitsu, Cape Town
- Good to Gather, Stellenbosch
Note to Readers: Award named in honor of my favorite nacho restaurant ever, East Van’s gone-but-never-forgotten (and memorialized in my own rap video), The Foundation.
Note to Self: We dined at 22 Church three times in 2021: twice during our first Montagu stay in Feb 2021, and again when we returned to Montagu in December.
The Power Brothers Memorial Award for Best Trip
🏆 Toronto/North Bay/Kipawa, Canada
- Witels, South Africa
- Alentejo, Portugal
- Tofino, Canada
- Montagu (x2!), South Africa
Note to Readers: This award is named in honor of my 2008 trip to Southeast Asia, in which my brother, cousin, and I took on the aliases of Austin, Super, and Max Power.
The Matthew Dicks Award for Best Story
🏆 Zac “showing up” at our anniversary dinner.
- “Sleep training” Zac.
- Our SA retirement visa fiasco.
- Zac’s birth (watching it).
- 15-min outdoor workouts in -16°C during 3-day quarantine in Toronto airport hotel.
- Hiding out at Kim’s parents during crazy Vancouver heatwave.
- Cutting my own hair after being left with a strange “flop” after my cheap haircut in Cape Town.
Note to Readers: This award is named in honor of the author of Storyworthy, who recommends you seek out stories in your life by keeping a “Story of the Day” journal.
Note to Self: Do a better job living and recording good stories.
Whoops and Whoop-Whoop! Awards
The Face Palm D’Or Award for Stupidest Move
🏆 Our South Africa retirement visa application
Note to Readers: We spent hundreds of dollars and tens of hours putting the documents together. We went all the way to Toronto to submit our papers. And we were told in less than two minutes that there was no way our application would ever be approved because we’re too young and don’t have a pension, neither of which were stated requirements.
Note to Self: I suppose the most costly move, in retrospect, was not selling some of my stocks when prices got crazy. The tax implications and worries of what else to do with my money to protect it from inflation scared me away.
The Clearly-a-Genius Award for Best Decision
🏆 Coming back to Canada from South Africa early instead of staying for Zac’s birth
- Taking a break during the summer
- Leaving in early Oct (not late) for SA
- Trying out living in Sea Point instead of Green Point in Cape Town
Note to Self: It’s hard to believe we even considered staying in Cape Town for Zac’s birth.
The Sir Mix-a-Lot Award for Biggest Bummer
🏆 SA retirement visa fiasco
- The blog being hit by another algorithm change
- Less volleyball in the summer on account of Zac
- Friends not coming to CPT because of Omicron
The Supreme Loonie Award for Best Money Spent
🏆 Irene, our nanny in Cape Town, who came 3 days a week for R350 a day
- Tatami mats for floor sleeping
- Produce delivery in Cape Town
- Balcony bar at apartment (built by Dad)
- Liner-less Lululemon shorts
- $20 baby carrier Kim got on Marketplace
- Massage gun
- Size 2 nipple for Zac’s bottle (so he could drink faster)
The Adrian Blachut Award For Worst Money Spent
🏆 Zac’s Hemangiol
- Multiple potential new domain names I’ll never use
- Stuff for SA retirement visa
Note to Self: Hotly contested. The absurd price of Hemangiol ($400 a bottle) compared to the pills we used in SA ($1.50 a bottle) give it the win. Some of the domain names I bought include settingloose.com, thecuriousness.com, thedisordinary.com, thestatuswhoa.com, and unstuckup.com.
Note to Readers: This award is named in honor of my brother to commemorate his excellence at poor purchase decisions and to thank him for coming up with the idea of doing annual awards.
Personal Development Awards
The Hypocritic’s Award for Most Beneficial Change of Mind
🏆 Optionality -> Commitment
- Podcasts -> Music when working out
- Liner -> No Liner -> Liner for beach volleyball shorts
- Trying to sound smart -> Emphasizing my idiocy for the blog
- I’m not “outdoorsy” -> Becoming “outdoorsy” (As told in my post on the 3-day effect.)
Note to Readers: Award named to reference my slow evolution from completely clueless to mostly clueless. If you cannot think of anything you changed your mind on last year, please do society a favor by reviewing my posts on how to be open-minded and keep an open mind.
The Y-Axis Award for Best Addition to My Life
- Adding predictions to my lifelogging
- Empty pocket walks
- The balcony in our SA apartment above High Level Road
- Daily mobility
- Electric toothbrush
- Challenge watch parties
- 30-day challenges
- Conversion Crimes
- Microwaving beets and sweet potatoes
- Keeping track of memories in weekly and monthly reviews
- Solo volleyball trainings at Virgin
Note to Readers: This award is named in reference to my post on How to Measure Success in Your Life.
The Good-est Riddance Award for Best Thing I Quit
🏆 Podcasts (for a month)
- Following the NFL
- Vegetable oils
- Working in the summer to not stress about Zac
Note to Readers: See the story of my “pod-fast” and Quitters Often Prosper: 19 Things To Quit Doing for more arresting inspiration.
The Hurry-Up-David-Sinclair Award for Signs I’m Getting Old
🏆 So many grey hairs Kim stopped plucking them.
- Hurt my knee while dunking barefoot at Kits Beach. Still sore months later.
- Having Zac.
- Zero interest in TikTok.
Note to Readers: Award named in honor of the longevity researcher and author of Lifespan.
The Kaizen Award for Best Monthly Challenge
🏆 Empty pocket walks
- Emailing an out-of-touch friend each day
- Morning mobility
- 30-Day Redirect
Note to Readers: For more ideas and tips, see my guide to 30-day challenges.
The Arthur Aron Award for Best Relationship Development
- Kim’s cousin Steven
Note to Self: I focused on existing relationships in 2021… but still. Make more friends in 2022.
Note to Readers: Award named in honor of the creator of the 36 questions that really do work to create a quick bond with anyone.
Big Picture Awards
The Daryl Cline Award for Best Photo of the Year
Note to Readers: Award named in honor of our friend who taught us photography in 2018.
The Insomniac Award for Most Nagging Question of the Year
🏆 Change The Unconventional Route name to something else?
- Have Zac in Cape Town or Vancouver?
- Where are we going to settle down?
Note to Readers: With the assistance of a reader who responded to my request in my post on how to ask for help, I’ve decided to stick with The Unconventional Route.
The Montage Award for What 2021 Will Probably Be Remembered For
🏆 Zac’s arrival
- Tons of sunset picnics at Kits Beach
- Tons of walks with Zac along Kits Beach and the Sea Point promenade.
- Learning to appreciate walks in nature more
Work and Career Awards
The Sisyphus Award for Best Development to The Blog
🏆 30-Day Redirection Challenge
- Cover image design
- Less serious, more fun focus
- Hiring Mohsin for videos
- Page speed improvements to pass CWV
Note to Self: The 30-Day Redirect made my writing more personal and showed me that some of my ideas can actually help people.
Note to Readers: Award named in honor of the endless amount of work to be done to take this blog to the top.
The Hail Google Award fo Favorite Content Created
🏆 What’s It Like Being a Dad? The Fake Answer and the Real One (Post)
- 30-Day Redirect emails
- How to Stop Mouth Breathing and Become a Nose Breather (Post)
- Onboarding my newborn son for his role in life (Video)
- Sleeping on the Floor Lessons I Learned the Hard Way (Video)
Note to Readers: This is award is sponsored by the company everything I create relies (too) heavily upon.
- 🎉 Make it a ceremony? Why not take a cue from The Power of Moments and the Oscars, and make an evening out of your annual awards, celebrating with friends while exchanging nominees.
- 🔭 Make it award-worthy. What could you do next month that would have a high probability of making it into your 2022 awards?
My Challenge to You
- Pick a couple (or more) of your favorite award categories from above, or make up your own.
- Select your nominees and award your winners.
- Preserve these results by emailing them to yourself, uploading a photo to the cloud, posting it on social media, or whatever.
Oh, and if you’re open to sharing, email them to me.
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About the author
I'm Chris. Grinding for conventional super success was exhausting, so I zagged. Now, my life's getting better and better—and part of that involves pushing you to work toward the same.
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