So, instead of new years resolutions, I do themes for the year. Picking a theme helps me reflect on where I want to go in life and where I’ve been. Sometimes the themes work out as envisioned, sometimes not so much.
Reflecting on 2016
I declared 2016 as the year of Productivity. I’m going to have to chock that up as mostly a failure. It was a year of adventure, a year of discovery, a year of freedom, a year of daring, a year of indulgence, but not a year of productivity. The only thing I produced in any quantity this year were blog posts. I racked up quite a few for Trail and Hitch; 133 of them in total, and a handful more for my personal blog and gaming blog. I nearly finished a 40K word strategy guide, but not quite, it will be done early this month instead. I started writing a novel but never got much past the first chapter. And I almost did a Kickstarter for a game project I spend a bit of time on but decided it wouldn’t be fair to try and charge for it.
I can’t say that I regret anything I did or didn’t do in 2016, it was an amazing and momentous year. It just wasn’t quite what I’d imagined it would be. I’m left to reflect whether it is wise to pick a theme you desire, a theme you strive for, or a theme you anticipate. One thing that has been made clear to me is I am much more a reactionary person than a deliberate person. I am very good at adapting to circumstance but not so great at setting a course and sticking to it. Setting out to be productive was something I wanted to happen, but not something I was commited to.
Deliberations for 2017
One thing I will have to do this year is to make more money. When we set out, I wanted to have a year’s worth of savings as a safe harbor and felt that by years end I needed to have a sustaining income. The good news is that despite some crazy bumps in the road, I had more than a year’s worth of savings, more like two years due to how inexpensive this lifestyle is. The bad news is we have not made much money while traveling, and frankly, I haven’t really tried that hard to make any. I’ve been tracking my hours working the last month, and let’s just say there is no danger of me working myself to death anytime soon.
So my theme should be something like “making money” or “income” or the like but I just can’t bring myself to go there. I’ve been there and done that already. I’ve got a lot more America to marvel at in the coming year and I’m not ready to make money the ends rather than the means of my day to day activities. Still, I think I’d better go for something that least implies I’ll be figuring out where the money will come from long term.
I also want to avoid last year’s mistake of picking a theme that is all about a thing I do and instead want something more about who I am and what will happen. More a focus of my awareness than a directive, something I can use my powers of reaction and adaptation to take advantage of.
On reflection, I think this year’s theme will be….
This theme plays well with my reactionary tendencies. When I see an opportunity in 2017 I intend to throw myself at it with some abandon. I want to reach out, take advantage of what comes my way, and throw my lot in with anything that looks promising. Forget second-guessing and hesitation. If it feels right, give it a go and see what happens. When something hits pay-dirt, keep digging, if not, move on to the next.
I think beyond just answering when it knocks on your door, I think 2017 should involve actively looking for opportunity, shaking the trees and trying to do things I’ve always thought about but never quite committed to. I think one thing I’ll have to watch out for is being spread too thin. I’m easily distracted and this year proved again that I’m better at starting ideas than finishing them. I’ll have to fight against that while looking for and exploiting opportunity. Once I’m on something I need to limit my attention to just one or two things until I see them through.
So here’s to 2017, the year of Opportunity!