Two years ago, I left my job and moved out of my apartment.
For the first time since university, I didn’t have regular employment or a fixed address. I didn’t have any specific plans either, preferring to see what serendipity I might encounter.
The first year was excellent. I lost a ton of weight, traveled the world, moved to NYC, fell in love, and regained a zest for life that I had lost somewhere along the way. The freedom to do what I wanted, when I wanted, was exhilarating.
However, the returns on a second year of flânerie weren’t as great. While I had plenty of fun, I also began to stagnate. I was in full “mai tais on the beach” mode, which isn’t the life that I want.
“What’s Next?” Updates
At the end of year one, I wrote down a bunch of aspirations for year two. Here’s how they went:
I want to get a business off the ground. ❌
Starting a business was at the top of the list, and I’m disappointed to say that it didn’t happen.
Some former coworkers and I had talked about starting a business together. In hindsight, either they weren’t ready or it was a low priority for them, despite assurances to the contrary.
Unfortunately, I let the possibility of that venture become an excuse for not building anything on my own. I thought, “What’s the point? I’ll need to devote all of my time and energy to our joint venture soon anyway.” And besides, I couldn’t think of any businesses that I’d have a competitive advantage in. Both were poor excuses.
Truth be told, the hunger wasn’t there. They were too comfortable and so was I.
I want to improve my physical fitness. ⚠️
Just as I dropped the ball on entrepreneurship, I spent most of Year Two completely neglecting my physical fitness.
I never signed up for a new gym membership or used the weight room in my building. Eating out became the norm. Unsurprisingly, I lost muscle and gained fat. It would’ve been worse, had it not been for all the walking you do when traveling or living in New York.
But then, I did a 180 last month. What started as daily mile walks to soak up the sun became mile rucks with a 40 pound weight. Soon enough, I added that weight to the pushups I was cranking out. And now that I have a bicycle again, I’ve been doing laps around a local track while listening to podcasts.
I want to write more. ⚠️
I said I wanted to write more. I even wrote about why I wanted to write more. But I didn’t write as regularly as I would have liked.
I set out to publish 24 articles in Q3 2019 and succeeded, followed by seven months of nothing. I blamed the lack of writing on traveling and COVID. More excuses.
It wasn’t until April or May that I started writing again in earnest. Now I write almost every day.
I want to learn new skills. ❌
This one’s a bit of a mixed bag. On one hand, I didn’t learn any new skills, other than basic WordPress. On the other, I’m not as upset about missing the mark here.
I decided that learning skills first is putting the cart in front of the horse. Push the envelope of life until you encounter problems that you can’t solve. Then, develop the skills necessary to solve those problems.
I had planned to learn skills (e.g. python) based on some bad metric like popularity, when I should’ve been pushing the envelope in an area that I found meaningful.
I want to go traveling again. ✔️
Finally, a bright spot! The last 12 months have been filled with unforgettable trips and experiences.
I previously wrote about the week in August that I spent hanging out with friends from all across America. I then kicked off the new decade by embarking on a blockbuster international trip that spanned ten countries and four continents. The others were short hops to see friends or explore new cities.
Suffice it to say, I’ve scratched the travel itch well and proper for now. And quite fortuitously timed, considering current events.
The Full List
- Orlando, FL
- Ottawa (Canada)
- Knoxville and Gatlinburg, TN
- Savannah GA
- Philadelphia, PA
- Madrid, Toledo, and Barcelona (Spain)
- Zurich (Switzerland)
- Beijing and Hong Kong (China)
- Manila and Bohol (Philippines)
- Perth (Australia)
- Montreal (Canada)
- Las Vegas, NV
I’m going to write. Not as a side activity like before, but as a primary focus. I will wake up, make coffee, and write (as I’ve been doing for several weeks now).
You do something all day long, don’t you? Every one does. If you get up at seven o’clock and go to bed at eleven, you have put in sixteen good hours, and it is certain with most people, that they have been doing something all the time. They have been either walking, or reading, or writing, or thinking. The only trouble is that they do it about a great many things and I do it about one. If they took the time in question and applied it in one direction, to one object, they would succeed. Success is sure to follow such application. The trouble lies in the fact that people do not have an object, one thing, to which they stick, letting all else go. Success is the product of the severest kind of mental and physical application.Thomas Edison
Although it took me a long time to realize it, writing fits the definition of ikigai1Japanese term that roughly translates to “reason for being” for me. And the realization has given me newfound motivation to write.
Through writing, I hope to solidify my learning, showcase my thought processes, and meet curious people like myself. Perhaps the act of writing will even spawn an idea for a business.
I’ll be writing more reviews and summaries (like the one I wrote on Yale’s happiness course), along with essays and opinion pieces. As always, please share your thoughts with me. My inbox is open.
Featured photo by Nik Shuliahin