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, 2016, 2017 . Here’s a look back in what I did in 2018.
- Rang in the New Year in Colorado at some friends house (Sam/Bryce), in the latter half of January drove to Sante Fe, New Mexico to visit friends (Richie and Tracy) down there.
- In early February, we went to Las Vegas for the yearly Super Bowl party with my brothers and friends. A week later, we flew back to Bangkok after 8 months on the road.
- In March we visited Nan Province in northern Thailand, and in the latter half road-tripped to Kanchanaburi to do a 10 day silent retreat, but ended up cancelling last minute to the the air pollution from fires. All of March we did a 30 day challenge by only eating vegetarian.
- In April we spent two weeks on Koh Tao learning how to scuba dive and celebrating Songkran.
- In May I rafted the Grand Canyon with my friend Andrew and his family.
- In June my girlfriend flew out to Las Vegas and we road-tripped for a couple weeks through Utah, visiting my brother in Salt Lake City, and then onto Colorado, attending FIBARK festival in Salida.
- In July my friend Richard and I hiked some of the Colorado Trail. We didn’t finish it due to some issues with my boots, but otherwise was a fun challenge. At the end of July I helped Richard move to Boulder, and went camping at Long Draw Reservoir with my uncle Tim.
- In August flew back to Bangkok, and after getting back to Thailand went to Koh Samet with friends for a weekend.
- In September we visited Jomtien, Pattaya after a solid month of work/routine.
- In October we visited Japan for the first time with friends from the US for 2 weeks. After the trip I started the Stronglifts 5×5 program.
- In November we spent 10 days on Koh Chang with friends from Australia.
- In the second half of December, we spent a couple weeks in northern Thailand, where we currently are in Chiang Rai.
WHAT WENT WELL THIS YEAR?
Health: While at home, I stayed in a great routine of exercising daily, stretching daily, and eating well. At the end of this year, I’m the strongest I’ve ever been, more flexible than I’ve ever been, and have been eating better than ever. I’ve also ensured that sleep is high priority as all other aspects of health stem off of it. I bought a sleep tracker in October to measure my sleep cycles and quality of sleep, and will continue to monitor and tweak things as needed.
Knowledge: Learned a lot this year, though missed my Goodreads book-challenge. I ended up reading countless blog posts, listening to countless podcasts, read around 20 books, and had great, insightful conversations with people I’m lucky to know. My top books of the year were: 21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Harari, How to Change Your Mind by Pollan, Enlightenment Now by Pinker, and The Emerald Mile by Fedarko.
Social: I got the chance to spend a lot of time with friends this year, from rafting the Grand Canyon to hiking the Colorado Trail with friends, as well as visiting various friends around Thailand and the world.
Business: I launched several new projects this year, improved others, and learned a lot in 2018. While my business grew, my main focus this year was learning more about the investing side of business and economics.
I think the biggest factors that affect the quality of life are: sleep, health, relationships, and freedom. What derives out of these are meaning/purpose. If you miss really any of these elements, it can make life not be enjoyable, so I think it is key to invest effort into improving each.
WHAT DIDN’T GO SO WELL THIS YEAR?
I like to do 30 day challenges, and this year I only did 1 challenge which was 30 days of being vegetarian. I also planned to do a 10 day Vipassana meditation retreat but was called off last minute due to the air pollution in the area. I planned to do a yearly water fast, but also ended up skipping it due to starting the 5×5 program and wanting to see how far I could go with it. The only other real complaint I have this year is probably a bit too much drinking. I’m well aware of alcoholism that runs in my genes and in my family, and continually work to ensure I don’t end up in a bad place. Aside from that, I’m very satisfied with how this year turned out.
WHAT AM I WORKING TOWARD?
Last year I wrote that I’d work on my health, specifically on mobility. This year I spent more time in the gym, stretching, and being active outside than other years. Next year I plan to keep this going. Going into the new year, I want to work on my handstand and doing more running.
Business wise, I plan to learn a lot more and launch more projects as I see interest.
Knowledge wise, I want to get more reading in. With all the travel this year, my Kindle dying, and many sporadic nights of partying, my reading schedule took a hit. I didn’t remain consistent, so I will work on this more in 2019.
I haven’t yet made many plans for 2019, but want to add a few adventures in. Perhaps climbing Kilimanjaro, some epic hiking, or more scuba diving. Looking back on life and how so much of it is unplanned and unexpected if you’re open to new experiences, I think 2019 will largely be driven by such sporadic adventures.
With 2018 over and the years flying by, I’ve strived to make each day a step forward in the shortness of this one life we all have, and share. The fact that we will all die one day is what motivates us to do things, as we know we don’t have forever. Sam Harris has a great short passage on it here which is worth listening to. His Waking Up app is phenomenal, especially listening to the short lessons on various aspects of the mind.
I wrote a post on Optimism earlier this year. There are many reasons to be optimistic, and that post may help. I’d also recommend Pinker’s book Enlightenment Now, which Bill Gates said was one of his all time favorites. Well worth the time.
Thanks for reading. Happy New year, see you in 2019!