It’s already that time of the year again where we look back on the last year of our lives and look forward to the next. It is useful because it allows us to review what we did right, and what we can improve on in the future. You can see my previous years here: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 . Here’s a look back in what I did in 2016.
- I rang in the new year on Koh Chang in Thailand with some friends (Kemji, Austin, Kate, Josh, Champoo, Beth), a beer cooler, and an amazing beach sunset.
- In January/February I spent a month in Indonesia firstly in Bali with Kemji and then 3 weeks in more remote Indonesia with my good friend Andrew.
- In March I went to Samut Prakan to the Mueng Boran Ancient City with Kemji, and also to Hong Kong with a couple friends (Steve and Josh).
- In April I went to Nan province for Songkran to spend time with Kemji’s family.
- In May I went to Koh Samed and paraglided for the first time. At the end of May went wakeboarding with friends in Bangkok.
- In June I went to the US to visit family and travel with my girlfriend to San Francisco, Denver, Salt Lake City, and Las Vegas. I also bought a quadcopter drone, which has been fantastic for aerial photography.
- In July, I road-tripped through Yellowstone to Canada with my friend Richard.
- In August I went to Sweden and Romania to visit with my old friend Constantin.
- In September/October I went back to Europe to travel with my brother John and his friends for a couple weeks to Oktoberfest in Munich, then to Prague, and Poland.
- At the end of October I went to Phuket for celebrate Kemji’s birthday.
- In November I went to Singapore, and also ran into my old friend Ayan from the Phillipines. At the end of November, we went to Koh Samed again with a few of Kemji’s friends.
- For New Years this year I’m heading to the northern part of Thailand (Chiang Mai, Pai, and Chiang Rai) with Kemji.
What went well this year?
Health: Aside from all the time I was away from home and out of routine, I’d consider this year one of the best for my health in my life. I was running or lifting weights 5 days a week, drank less than I had in previous years, slept consistently well, and only got sick once or twice. Over the last 6 months or so I’ve been really working on my flexibility after being convinced that flexibility is one of the most important aspects of being healthy. I’m also on a 50+ daily meditation streak. I can say I’m healthier now than I was a year ago.
Knowledge: I read nearly 30 books this year, and listened to countless podcasts. I’m far more enlightened now than ever before, though it’s only a glimpse of what is to come. I still find it incredible how much one can take away from reading a single good book. I’ve got into the routine of leaving a review of every book I read along with my takeaways – this provides a good record of my thoughts.
Business: I’ve launched several new projects and scaled out older ones. I’ve learned quite a few big lessons this year and have increased my skills in various ways. This year has been one of the best I’ve ever had, with lots of lessons learned along the way.
What didn’t go so well this year?
Health: While I have improved my health from the last year and am making progress, I still have a long way to go. Next year I’ll be drinking a maximum of once per month, and continuing to work on my fitness (endurance, flexibility, strength).
Writing: While I’ve written more this year, I still haven’t made writing a daily routine, which was one of my goals for the year. I find writing not only brings new ideas into my mind, it forces me to coherently put down thoughts that otherwise may be jumbled in my mind. It also provides a nice record of my thoughts as I grow older.
Knowledge: I’ve noticed when I travel I lose routine, and one of them is consistent studying/reading. For example, when studying Thai language this year, if I was on the road I’d miss several days of studying in a row, or perhaps not read for a week. This is something I need to work on – just because I’m on the road doesn’t mean I shouldn’t put aside time for these tasks.
What am I working toward?
I’ve had quite a few shifts in mindset this year that have influenced how I view life. Part of this is driven by what I’ve read and learned this year, people I’ve talked to, and experiences I’ve had, and part I think is just myself growing up. Thoughts are just thoughts, so I’ve began to realize that is just what they are. I’ve also shifted my mindset more toward financial freedom. While my goal has always been to enjoy each day as much as possible without too much sacrifice, now I have some goals in mind in terms of “how can I become financially independent?” I’ve learned a lot about investing and 2016 was my first year where I actually started to build a portfolio of things that I consider long term investments. I plan to continue this practice into 2017 and beyond.
Health wise I plan to keep meditating daily and improving my practice. I plan to attend a 10 day Vipassana meditation retreat in 2017, though unsure where that will be in the world. I’m also working towards a free-standing hand stand, which has required me to work on my flexibility a lot, which obviously takes time and can’t be rushed.
Work-wise, I’m always trying to get better with managing time, setting goals and deadlines, working on routine, and balancing my work/hobbies. It will be a life-long process but I’m quite happy with the rate of improvement.
Once again, this year was the fastest year of my life. Perhaps every year we get older will perceptually feel faster than the previous, though I’m unsure. Perhaps it depends on circumstance and mindset, and the future is unpredictable. All I can do is live how I see best using the knowledge, relationships, and circumstances I have. I’ll end this year with my top 5 book recommendations of the year, and my top 5 posts of the year:
- Sapiens – A Brief History of Humankind – Yuval Harari
- The Life You Can Save – Peter Singer
- Thinking, Fast and Slow – Daniel Kahneman
- World Order – Henry Kissinger
- Free Will – Sam Harris
- There isn’t Free Will
- What is the truth?
- Todays World and the Media – 2016
- Memories and Time
- Experience and Memory
Thanks for reading. Happy New year, see you in 2017!