I had a post for this month that I was really struggling to write. I was pushing through it and pushing through it and thought I almost might have had a good idea… and then my computer restarted for a security update and all of the changes were lost. So this blog post is coming from scratch.
Heck, this whole writing experiment is a reboot from scratch every month. I never know how I’m going to reinvent myself. I had this grand idea at the beginning of the year that I was going to focus on my health in the first part of the year, then focus on my career, then focus on personal education, then focus on saving money. I think that was the order of the goals. I got lost after the first two months and then got a new job and then I forgot about all of those plans and started doing new stuff.
I see tons of people with all of this focus and I wonder how they maintain it. I wonder how much more I could have done if I hadn’t decided to watch every episode of the Doctor Who reboot this year. Do you know how much TV that is? And I binged through all of Jessica Jones back in February, and The Man in the High Castle, and probably some other show that I forgot about. It’s even worse when I think about the amount of hours I logged going for completeness in Skyrim. I could have built an app, or learned to speak a new language, or something.
When I started this year I was at this weird place where I was just accepting what it meant to truly take some responsibility for the outcomes of my life, and that’s where the grand idea with all those different focuses came in. Previously, I’d taken “responsibility” to mean “taking action,” and that’s certainly a component of it. But “taking action” was all I was doing. I was hacking away at stuff as fast as I possibly could, but I wasn’t really taking a step back and thinking about if I was doing the right thing. Checking stuff off of a to-do list made me feel good, and as long as I was feeling good I never stopped to think if the items on the to-do list were the right ones, or even if I cared about doing them at all. And I certainly wasn’t thinking about external consequences. I’d hack on something, and see if it worked, and if it didn’t work, I’d try something new or quit. I quit a lot.
Now I say yes to way less stuff, and I keep my eyes open more. I try to listen more. One of the conditions of my hacking is that I would tend to do it at the expense of my relationships - because if you’re trying to execute on a bunch of random experiments with no clear direction you hardly have time to be paying attention to the people in your life, most of whom are way more complex than the to-dos I was concocting in my head. I’m trying to learn more from the people around me rather than books or guides on the Internet. I’m trying to be a better boyfriend, brother, friend, son, cousin.
I look toward the close of the year with excitement because it’s definitely not where I started the year and definitely not where I expected to be at the end of October. I started the year itching to travel and escape DC. I’m now looking forward to being at home for a bit after spending time in six cities in one month: DC, Houston, New York, London, Liverpool, and Edinburgh. I started the year feeling stuck in my job, and now I’m ending the year feeling like I’ve experienced insane career and knowledge growth in the past six months. I feel like I have better relationships with more people than I did this time last year.
I look back and I know I accomplished all of this because I was really fortunate to have people around me who put up with my insanity and pardoned me when I forgot to answer their text messages or said something really rude unintentionally. Most of you probably don’t even know that you helped, because you were just off being yourselves and I was scrambling trying to figure out how to be more like you. So if you’re stuck in any way - whether you’re feeling like you don’t know where your life’s going or what to do with your job or you’re trying to crack the next level in your career or you’re just looking for a good book to read - I’d love to try to help. I’ve learned a lot from all of you and maybe I have something to share.
This blog post was a bit rambling, and I’m sorry about that. I didn’t have a clear thought, just a whole lot of gratitude.
But I also have lists!
- Traveled to:
- Watched a Liverpool FC game in Anfield
- Read one book
- Did a bootcamp workout in Hyde Park in London
- Hosted my friend Sean in DC
- Dressed as the Doctor from Doctor Who for Halloween
- Began studying Network+ videos from Cybrary