No blog is complete without a year end entry about the year, or this year, the decade. While it’s true that I have not blogged much, I do need to write the conventional (hopefully not with respect to content) entry about the decade. My intention was to post this before January 1, 2020, but my process was interrupted by some negative externalities where I was writing (a lovely victorian hotel bar that was taken over by some elements that didn’t really fit well).
This whole concept came about form a conversation during a perfect afternoon brunch a few days ago. “As the new decade approaches, what is your favorite year of the decade, and why?” You always learn about the person or even about yourself when you think of the ‘why.’ So we went around the table and provided our answers.
I thought about it and then decided, go with your first instinct, what is the year that stands out. Not much analysis, until the why, go with the first year that popped into my head. Each year had some good and bad, like any year. But as you look back, you think – what lasted, what made an impact, and so on. Ultimately the good has to outweigh the bad, but now I’m being too analytical. It’s best to give the first year that comes to mind. Well, a few of the years do stand out-but for me I must say, it’s 2016 with this year (2019) a close second. While some major things occured in other years, 2016 does stand in some ways. The ‘why’, taught me about what I find important. It’s important to understand yourself as you set new goals and what you are striving for. I think this is a really good exercise to teach you about yourself in your attempt to make yourself happy. Although it may sound cliche, you are responsible for your own happiness. Sure, others can contribute to your happiness greatly and can make a huge difference in your outlook, ultimately if they aren’t, you need to move on and try to improve your situation. You may or may not succeed, but at least you are trying. And this was actually a huge lesson for me in the past few years. I wish I knew this when I was in my 20s…who knows where I would be now.
So here are the things that make 2016 stand out for me (2019 is a very close second):
- I purchased a fine house the year before, by myself, in the neighborhood that I felt was my American hometown. Where we moved from Europe – it was sort of an achievement for my family for me to do this. While the purchase took place in 2015, it was 2016 that I spent an entire year in this house and started enjoying the whole concept. Being sort of a ‘foreigner’-‘not from here,’ and an only child (even if I came here as a teenager), I always search for a sense of belonging. In 2016 I felt it.
- Value: A feeling of home and belonging mixed in with achievements. Many take this sense of belonging for granted. They grow up and live their adult lives the same town. Having moved around the world, and the U.S., has given me a more worldly perspective, but sometimes I wonder what it would be like to have a nice family/friends community and wish I had it. But that’s not the life I have, so 2016 was the closest to having this. Although I ended up selling the house due to some other changes that happened a few years after, it does not detract from my achievement and the sense of accomplishment with a sense of belonging and doing the right thing. I was also able to provide my child this sense of community/home which was important to me. Technically, this is a culmination of my efforts from year end 2013, 2014 and 2015 (stated with leaving Illinois), it sort of came together in 2016.
- Distanced myself from a bad long term personal relationship, and sustained it. This was critical in my personal journey. It’s easy to go back and forth people, be friends, etc., but sometimes it’s best to cut the ties completely, especially if there is toxicity involved. Even if nothing else is lined up.
- Value: Again a achievement. Apparently accomplishments/achievements are very important to me. Possibly because most of my achievements in life have been solo ones. But then again, this is how I have been since grade school. Not fortunate enough to have had the ‘happily ever after’ – independent accomplishments are critical for me to feel good and safe. Not to say that I don’t notice seemingly happy couples building their lives together and wondering why I didn’t live that live since it’s consistent with my values. But if I don’t achieve, I feel like I may be falling with no backup. Not a good feeling at all.
- Had fun, in-spite of my life not being perfect or no long term relationship.
- Value: Need to enjoy life, in whatever state my life is in (e.g., less than ideal relationships or jobs, etc.) I am in. Although my career was going great, I kind of ventured out alone more than ever before (even saw a concert alone due to communication mess up with some friends). And although I ended up in a relationship (definitely different, fun and mindless one) during the last quarter of the year, I learned that you don’t need to be married or be in a long term relationship to have fun. This really went against my grain, and to some extent still does. Some of us need to feel valued and appreciated. But it’s important not to let that destroy everything else that is going on in life. I spent most of my life, to this point, in marriages or long term relationships. It is part of my value system but if doesn’t happen, it’s not a reason to destroy everything else that is working for me. I still had my son living me (graduated high school that year), so I had a sense of family and and some of the things that are important to me. During the subsequent years, I had some other ‘non perfect’ things happen, and I continued to enjoy life and manage to have fun Even when things were not the best.
So as the new decade has now launched, it’s important to remind yourself of what your values are and even explore new values. The ability to adapt to what life sometimes deals you or even the result of some bad choices you might have made is critical. And the faster you adapt, adjust and re-evaluate, the better your life will be with minimal time wasted.
What your favorite year of the past decade?