You know I’ve never minced my words and have never deceived you. This is why I’ll give it to you straight:
For me 2016 was a monumental waste of time and I’ll be really pleased to see it off.
You know, I’ve done Chris Guellebeau’s Annual Review for five years now. Every year, I contemplated the direction I’d like my life to take and came up with two words for the year. What I love about this process is that it bypasses goal setting that keeps you on your present trajectory and allows space for change and re-invention. The two words provide a direction, act as a compass framing my actions.
My words for 2012 were ‘reach and influence’.
My words for 2013 were ‘health and wealth’.
My words for 2014 were ‘fitness and abundance’.
My words for 2015 were ‘grow and prosper’.
My words for 2016 were ‘write and run’.
Every year I moved forward using this approach. Until this year, that is.
As my son says, if 2016 were a person, I’d hate his guts.
You know, it isn’t that I didn’t write. For me, not writing would be like not breathing. It is just that my writing this year is lacking the lightness and joy of previous times; probably because I didn’t feel lightness and joy – I lost these somewhere between June and November.
Large scale f*ck ups upset me. I know some of you think that this is pretentious. For me, it is about seeing long term trends that will shape our world, and our personal wellbeing, for decades to come. Like Brexit; like Donald Trump becoming the President of the US; like Putin destabilising the balance of power.
So I wrote until the beginning of June when I became convinced that the Brexit movement in the UK will win; they won. Then I slowed down the writing and got into escapism – after all, when faced with decades of hardship and a possibility of war in Europe my writing didn’t seem to matter much.
Yes, I felt sorry for myself; yes, I used to look at my 15 years old son and my eyes would water. Not very British, I know. Then again, I am Bulgarian as well and the Balkans can claim my more temperamental nature.
I preferred to escape in reading and watching movies rather than face the change that life dished out. Than in later November I met colleagues I hadn’t seen for a very long time. One of them is from Ukraine and has a son who is hiding from the military because he is not too keen on being sent to the front to kill his cousins on the Russian side. Another one told me that the love of their life has a degenerative decease.
And so it went. Until I finally realised that there is a lot to be grateful for and that the only way I can stomach the large events is by paying more attention to my family and my troop.
You are part of my troop. You are why I’ve been spending on average 20 hours per week for the last five and a half years to write The Money Principle. As part of my commitment to you I’ve decided to commit to writing again next year; and this time no distractions, no fudge.
To be able to do this I simply have to get myself back into running; and swimming and yoga. (And because this is an annual review, I should tell you that very little running was done in 2016.)
My words for next year are (again)
Write and Run
This time with motivation and commitment. And I’ll be letting you know how this one goes.