Year in review: If 2015's word was "explore", 2016's word is "serenity"
Ahh, it feels good to be back from the holidays!
Spending time with family is wonderful, but it's always jarring to step out of my routine for weeks on end. I'm relieved to be back to my normal day, because "normal" around these parts is pretty awesome.
As I prepare for this upcoming year, though, I want to take a moment to reflect on 2015—particularly what went right, what went wrong, and what I want to focus on next. In the words of Michel de Montaigne:
"No wind works for the man that has no intended post to sail towards."
The question is: where will I sail in 2016?
I warn you, this is a long post. Mostly because I'm writing this for me, as a means to learn from 2015 and make a detailed plan for 2016. I hope you find it valuable in some way, of course, but this is mainly for my own journaling purposes. :-)
A look back at 2015
Travel & Adventures
This past year was a great one in terms of travel and adventures. The breakdown is:
- 6 major international trips out of Nicaragua to 2 countries (USA and Panama). Most of my travel was within the US to 6 states, where I explored 5 new cities (Denver, Winter Park, Houston, Charleston and Columbia).
- 6 weekend trips to the beach within Nicaragua. We veered away from the main beach town we've always visited over the years (San Juan del Sur) and started exploring other beach areas like Guacalito and Hacienda Iguana.
I loved our travel this year, but I also loved our weekend adventures. We can't hop on a plane every weekend, but we can find something new and exciting to do here in our little piece of planet. :-)
Projects & Creativity
This was a slow but beautiful year for me, project-wise.
I shut down my design & development company Marca Labs back in February after a year of deliberation. (More on that decision here.) My team is like family to me, so instead of leaving them high and dry I found them new job offers. Cue immense peace of mind—for all of us!
I then took a few months off to relax and be with my son. Once the dust settled, I explored some creative pursuits and got back into writing and my long dormant love of photography. Serendipity later took me to Panama to give a talk, which led to creating the Process podcast in August.
The main theme for 2015 was exploration. The more I allowed myself to try all sorts of creative outlets, the more I felt peace of mind and complete self-expression.
Income & everything money
After closing my company in February, I basically made zero money all year.
Which was AMAZING!
I know making no money sounds horrible, but I needed this experience. For a long time, I've tied my self-worth to achievement and income. The more money I made, the more I tied my identity to that money, and the more I judged people through that same lens.
While I was aware of this and hated it, it was a hard habit to kick. Taking a sabbatical from my income allowed me the space to rethink my self-worth and what I was linking to my identity. (I'll probably write more about this sometime soon.)
Looking forward to 2016
There's so much I want to focus on in 2016—and almost none of it has to do with travel, projects or my income. Sure, I have plans to explore more of the world (maybe Europe again?) and to launch my upcoming book, but none of that is the true focus of 2016.
The focus of 2016 is my internal self.
I love this Carl Jung quote:
"Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes."
There are many areas of myself that I'm already satisfied with—exercise, nutrition, creative discipline, among others. They need upkeep, of course, but it's time to focus on areas where I've been slacking BIG time.
I'll meditate every day.
This is a habit I've wanted to cement for years, so I decided to make it the number one focus of 2016.
I'm starting with 2 minutes a day, then increasing it to 5 minutes per day, and so on, until I eventually reach 20 minutes per day later on in the year. This is the habit I need most, maybe because just the idea of being alone with my thoughts scares me. (Thankfully, it usually turns out fine in the end.)
People describe meditation as a warm bath for your mind, so I'm using that as motivation to keep me going and get this habit to stick.
No Alcohol or Coffee
I've given up alcohol and coffee for the year.
I was never by any means a heavy drinker of either substance, but I felt so clean and lively when I was off coffee and alcohol during my pregnancy in 2014. I want to go back to that time of not drinking any stimulants because I just felt physically better that way.
It's an interesting experience to put the brakes on my desire to drink when I see either coffee or a beer. It's not as uncomfortable as I imagined, actually.
Reading important books
I will read 1 important book per month.
I hate that I spend so much time reading blog posts or news, and I want to switch that time to offline reading—and even more so to books I've had a hard time finishing in the past or books that I've always wanted to get around to but never started.
For starters, my important book for January is Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis. Not an easy read by any means, but an important one. I'll post more about it when I'm finished with it.
I will avoid toxicity. This could go along with not drinking alcohol and coffee, but it's more on a relationship level. I want to avoid people that make me feel worse instead of better. (I've written more about this here and here.)
In the past, I've been kind of flaky on this point, always thinking people may change and end up being nicer than they've been in the past. But in the words of Maya Angelou,
"When people show you who they are, believe them the first time."
I'm excited to clear some space in my mind and my calendar by focusing on people that make me feel awesome. I'm sure it'll be tough to let people down at first, so wish me luck.
Who knows what's next...
When 2015 started, I never imagined that I'd close my company, travel to Panama for a speaking opportunity, start practicing photography again, and more. Everything was so beautifully unexpected. I'm so curious what 2016 will bring, but, even more so, I'm excited to live it.
Thanks, 2015, you were great.
Welcome, 2016, we have a lot of living to do.
Here's to an awesome year! I appreciate you coming along for the ride.
PS. I'll be posting the first podcast episode of the year on Friday. Be sure to watch out for this interview with movement expert, Galo Naranjo. :-)