The main reason I started this site is to provide a venue for my own self reflection and awareness. Because of this, and because the year is ending and a new one is starting, I wanted to pause to remember and reflect on the year that has just passed. It’s been a busy 12 months!
Professionally, there have a been a few highlights. I finished my graduate program, earning an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management. I started a new job in a new industry, joining a great healthcare company in a general management role–making friends with an incredible group of people along the way.
Personally, my wife and I welcomed our daughter, who arrived in April, and experienced all the quiet joy and messy, frantic excitement that comes from such a big adjustment. We took our whole small family on an amazing road trip across the country and back during two months this summer. We saw Smith Falls in Nebraska, the Badlands, Glacier National Park, the Oregon Coast, and family and friends in 5 states, and we didn’t stop at a fast food restaurant for the whole trip. When we got back, we welcomed an au pair into our home, who helps us with our child care while we work, and who has become a wonderful edition to our family.
The other big change this year was that I am trying to be more diligent about writing and reflecting. Both these things give me a lot of joy, and starting this blog was an attempt to be more deliberate in rooting reflection and the written word more deeply in my life.
At the end of a year, my wife and I spend some time talking to each other about what brought us the most happiness in the year before, about what we want to do more of, and what we want to do less of. Here are the insights from 2016.
Adventures are worth it–particularly for the calm moments within the storm. Both of us mentioned our road trip as a huge highlight from the year. Particularly, we both recalled some unhurried moments of natural beauty as the greatest moment we had. For my wife, it was our time at Cannon Beach. For me, it was a shady afternoon hike in Glacier National Park. These probably combined for less than four hours of time, but immediately came to our minds as the highlights. We want more of these in the next year.
Confidence and worry. Both of us found that worrying just wasn’t worth it. It didn’t help, even when it felt in the moment like there was plenty of cause for worry. And we found this was true for anxiety about both challenges and opportunities–that is, when we were particularly excited for a potential positive, it also didn’t go as well as we hoped. We also found that some of our best moments came from a place of complete confidence, that we reached from being willing (and making the time) to do the right preparations and have the important conversations. Often, the right preparations meant wrestling with and refining our own mental frameworks. This seems obvious, but preparation and anxiety led to several of our highs and lows over the past year.
Being fully engaged, finding space to unwind. Our lives can be pretty hectic sometimes, and it’s tough make time to care for ourselves. But both of us found that the moments when we were able to get away for a few days were incredibly refreshing. And, on the flip side, each of us appreciated being able to give that space in our lives to the other–though it could be stressful, it was fun and gratifying. It can seem selfish to ask for space, and seem daunting to give it, but these moments felt very worth it on reflection.
So these are my insights from the just passed. More adventure, more confidence, more deliberate mental preparation, less worry, more time engaged, more space to unwind. Should be a good 2017!