Similar to 2020, this past year went far from as planned. In 2020, my guiding signpost was the word ‘practice’. This accumulated to publishing over 100,000 words online. In 2021, my core pillars were intentionality, experimentation and play.
These can be summed up roughly into thirds of how my year went. In trimester one I experimented more than I ever had. This meant professionally from taking on new clients and mentoring a writing school. Personally, this meant starting the year off with daily cold showers and swimming every day while living in Florida in March and seeing a therapist for four months.
The second trimester I focused on being intentional. This meant enrolling in the inaugural cohort of the On Deck Course Creator Fellowship and presenting my first ever workshop on the Art of Journaling. I started to feel a stirring within me that I didn’t want to sign another lease in Chicago after two years of living there. Naturally, I started exploring other opportunities. I felt I was doing a disservice to myself and forgot about my pillar to be playful. Choosing work over everything else in my life left me feeling uninspired. This is what led to my exploration of where I wanted to recreate my living environment by moving somewhere new.
My last trimester I leaned fully into play. I reignited my relationship with my inner child and unleashed myself from the expectations I had previously imposed on myself. I no longer felt the need to ask for permission from others.
I tested my decision making by deciding to put my freelancing business on hold to take up a full time offer as a community and operations manager for the education startup iXperience to oversee the program on the ground and manage relationships among vendors, students and staff in Cape Town, South Africa. This led me relocating to O’ahu, Hawaii. I share more about my decision here. Last year, I wrote about how fortunate I was that my hobbies turned into my work. This meant that I got to take online courses, write and listen to podcasts for money. That extrinsic motivator tainted what I view as living a fulfilled life.
Living the latter half of 2021 in Hawaii, I truly learned how to begin again and live life more fully adding numerous new hobbies to my belt. A few of my newest favorites include surfing, beach volleyball, playing ukulele, hiking, and open water swimming.
A change of this magnitude demanded complete devotion to embracing whatever came. It demanded every ounce of strength to remain focused on my values of adventure, authenticity and curiosity. I came here to become a new and better version of myself, and I didn’t want to allow anything to stop me.
I feel like I’ve been chasing my tail in life, going, going, going. Doing, doing, doing, like a human doing machine. Being brought up as a swimmer and a straight A student in the academic system, growth was always linear and I was starting to feel stagnant in my life.
I expected to enter this new year feeling excited at the prospect of a blank slate– a new year full of new possibilities– and in a way I am. Entering with a more solid foundation of who I am than I have ever had before. And yet, something about ringing in this new year after spending Christmas alone with Covid in a place I used to call home in Michigan has felt awfully heavy.
There is still so much joy that lights up my face as I think about the blessings and gifts I have in my life with my support system of relationships and experiences on my life’s resume. I have never been happier in my life.
However, there is something scary about the narrative of feeling the most happy I have ever felt, a looming possibility that this balloon has floated up as high as it can go and will inevitably float down as its helium depletes.
Before we dive in here’s an overview of what will be covered:
- Some highlights I am most proud of
- A look back at 2021 goals
- The five most uncomfortable and impactful events
- Peak memories from my personal and professional life
- Some trough events that shapes me
- Lessons from 2021
- Coordinates for 2022
- My three words for 2022
- Shoutouts to people impacted and inspired my year
- Bonus section with more highlight, online courses, best buys, mantras and my journal entries
Here’s an overview of some highlights:
- Email List Growth: 173 → 311 subscribers
- Twitter Growth: 587 → 824 followers
- New Articles Published: 16
- Letter from a Learn-it-all Emails Sent: 51
- Unique Website Visitors: 2,006 → 4,822 Page Visitors (139% increase)
- Most Popular and Personal Essay: 25 Lessons from 25 years
- Most Proud Essay: The Art of Pausing in a Busy World
- Most Viewed Youtube Video: The Art of Journaling
- Most Playful Poem: Hey Haleakalā
- Favorite Book: How to Live by Derek Sivers
- Favorite Workbook: Walking in this World by Julia Cameron
- Favorite Picture:
A look back at 2021 goals
For clarification, each of the bullets below were my original goals and intentions that I wrote out last year in my 2020 Annual Review.
Cadence calls with loved ones. Family and friends need to be baked into my calendar and make time for them.
- At least four phone calls with family, friends, peers or new connections each week.
I have calls at least every other week. Time zone challenges throw a wrench in a lot of this, and I don’t take it personally when it doesn’t work out.
Prioritization of channels. Have a feeling of joy from missing out on things. This means for me that I will stop allowing YouTube to take up space in my brain. If I want to become a YouTuber that means I need to consume it but I just really don’t want to take the time right now. Maybe in the future. I still love watching videos but for now, I am intentionally going to focus on the craft of writing.
- Continue weekly letters from a learn-it-all. Consider a different style with a weekly theme.
I missed my newsletter at the end of this year after the chaos of travels and catching covid. I chose to choose my health and sleep over writing. I do not regret this decision.
- Have a new essay of varying lengths at least every two weeks.
I did up exploring the format of adding in extraneous poems but it was never planned like a content calendar. This is something I would like to explore more rather than leaving each letter up to pure serendipity to find quality brainfood worth sharing.
Send snail mail. I absolutely love writing letters to my future self so this year I want to write and send more to others. I have been writing daily gratitudes in my journal for almost 2 years now and I feel that I have become more optimistic because of that. The world can be such a negative place sometimes and a letter is such an easy way to spread joy.
- Quarterly letters to my future self and 52 weekly letters to friends or family.
Why the rule of only sending for big events? I want to send more just because. I lost track of how many I wrote but I ended up batching a bunch in a row every month or so and even turned some into excuses to draw, buy stickers, and print photos to include.
Strength training and fun with fitness. Not having workout classes doesn’t mean that I can’t plan for fun workouts. I am going to take a physical mobility test to see where my underactive muscles are. Some other ways to have fun in my fitness are to get back in the pool, bike more, dance for no reason, and stretch every day. My upper body strength has shriveled up and because I want to eventually be able to go rock climbing, I am setting these as follows:
- 10 push-ups. I can barely do 1.
- Be able to do the splits (again)
I can do 8 pushups and about half a pull up. Much of this strength came from paddling for surfing rather than getting down every day and dropping sets. Picking up beach volleyball in September also helped me have fun again by being on a team.
I feel a little bit more limber than how I started the year. When I was training for my half-marathon I felt a lot more flexible from the self-imposed stretching I had to prevent injury. I need more accountability. I do credit myself for my first jazz class in 15 years. I’ve decided I am joining a dance studio in the new year.
Cooking new foods. Follow recipes and swap favorites with friends.
26 new recipes by the end of the year. I didn’t have a system to keep track of these.
I learned how to cut an onion, fry tofu, and use a rice cooker, but these are all things that I could’ve doubled down on more. Like with spicing up my grocery list more.
Diversify my music choice. For the past few years, I have had the same exact artists to be my favorites. There is nothing wrong with that but there is much to still explore here.
- Adding at least one new artist to one of exploring playlists this year each week.
For the last four months of the year I ended up making a new playlist every month and adding new songs and musicians to that playlist on Spotify. This was a great uniting factor overall that I loved. From starting each Revitalize Your Career course session with U2, to connecting with the 35 students during my iX job to staying in touch with my sister and cousin. While living with my roommate, it helped us bond together since I have lived without a TV in my life the last six months of the year. These ranged from Rock & Roll with U2 to Sara Kinsley the TikTok star to discovering the wild wild west star Willie Nelson.
Music was a great uniting factor that supported my diversification. It helped me stay in touch with old friends, make new ones and tap into my creative spirit. I couldn’t recommend more.
- Write a song and produce it.
This was an unrealistic goal backed by no previous experience. Purely finding joy in making music is the part of the process I am at within this hobby.
Intentionally explore history. Just because I continually failed history in school doesn’t mean I will be bad at it for the rest of my life. I began to study history on my own terms on topics varying from – New Amsterdam turning into New York City, Audrey Hepburn’s biography, WWII, the Industrial Revolution.
- Write one essay each quarter that intersects with a historical story.
I wrote no such thing. I didn’t do well in history in school. I received a 1 on the AP Us History test my sophomore year of high school. I could’ve received a 1 for merely writing my name on the exam… It was humiliating and I am still trying to figure out my slot into studying history without feeling coerced. I placed an inquiry after the walking tour I did of downtown Honolulu, and knew that if I were to become a tour guide and meet curious tourists that would be incentive enough to start to become competent enough to tell stories of how Hawaii got to where it is today.
Practically speaking it is a free walking tour company and I need to first figure out a more stable cash flow rather than relying on tips. This is a Q2 goal.
Explore bitcoin. My investment portfolio performed unexpectedly well in 2020 and I wanted to diversify even further in cryptocurrency this past year.
I took Anthony Pompliano’s cohort-based Maven course in May and wrote some findings about it in Letter 60 and Letter 61. Much of my pull to wanting to take the course was to understand this new language I kept seeing across my Twitter feed .
I didn’t know enough about this space to make it a goal, so I made it a goal to educate myself. The $8K that I saved up and was going to invest into this space, I ended up keeping liquid to invest in myself to fund my sabbatical during the last quarter of the year. These funds ended up going into investing in Michael Dean’s Writing Studio, practical toys from friends including my Wavestorm surfboard (to stop renting boards) and my red Japanese Kymko moped Ciao, monthly rent, and groceries from Costco and Safeway.
See a therapist for the first time. I wrote about my findings from four months of therapy here.
My results overall were inconclusive as I didn’t know what to expect exactly. Sure I would see a therapist again, but I’d want to have a clearer vision of what success was. I gained a greater sense of my fragile view of the world and my beliefs and of the stories I tell myself. I realized that I needed to stop overthinking and analyzing things and to simply live.
Of the specific learnings:
- Filter my speech and thoughts to use more descriptive words rather than “good” or “bad”. These binary uses create moral judgments that don’t serve me
- Reality is subjective and a choice I make. To be a victim is a decision I am making of my mindset.
- Stories build on themselves starting from self talk. Each thought in my head is one I can focus on or one I can edit for next time.
- Self-analysis does not mean I am healing. Just because I can see the problem, does not mean that the more I probe the faster I can heal. It takes time and patience.
Jenni Walford was a great resource and I highly recommend her approach to emotional agility and provocative exercises.
Allow Chicago to feel more gezellig (homey). I have been living here for a year and a half on and off and still feel like I don’t know so much. I am Investing in a biking lifestyle. I bought a Divvy bike membership for the city bikes. I want to get lost around the city more often. I have a car and 2 able working legs but I don’t explore the city enough. When I lived in Amsterdam I intentionally got lost often while biking around and it was the best way to find my way.
Bike 1 new street, area or path each week. Driving and walking is another option as well. Walk down the street with your eyes open and look around.
Intentional rabbit holes. Much of what I consume I feel pressured to make it productive. This intent is to give me permission to explore my curiosity and not make it feel like work.
- Reserve Saturday or Sunday mornings to shamelessly allow me to explore what piqued my curiosity without intention.
I ended up stopping much of my usual consumption moving to Hawaii at the end of June but I still was unleashing my curiosity through living life daily. Instead of reading books, having zoom calls or listening to podcasts, I ended up having IRL conversations and listening to music. The only time I opened my laptop was for a few hours a week to write my Letters from a Learn-it-all.
Three things I am most grateful for
- An active lifestyle. Regular exercise is non-negotiable to my overall wellbeing. This is the first year I’ve stuck to regular exercise since I was a college athlete. Because of this my energy and mental health are at all-time highs. Even when I was in Chicago I would risk frostbite to walk along the lakefront everyday. I’ve found that it gets me into my body, helps me sleep better, and improves my relationships. I feel more young than I’ve felt since I was a kid.
- My curiosity. It opened doors to new relationships in my life and led me to the life that I am living today. I feel full of inner self esteem that flows into my outward confidence as a human.
- The sun. I redefined my relationship with her. We got off on the wrong foot because I’m a sweaty human. Throughout puberty, I tried out every deodorant under the sun, without any being compliant. I have since been diagnosed with hyper-hydrosis syndrome, which means I sweat. The sun induces that even more. I’ve leaned into living without air conditioning on an island and feel better for embracing that.
The five most uncomfortable and impactful events
- Realizing in April that I no longer wanted to live in Chicago and felt curious about moving somewhere new
- Moving across the world without knowing anyone that forced me to become more outgoing to meet friends to cure my loneliness
- Deliberately taking a pay cut while moving to Hawaii then further deciding to take a three months semi-sabbatical from working to navigate my identity without work
- Joining a beach volleyball team by jumping in even when I haven’t played in over a decade and never on sand.
- Going on 10 first dates during my time since moving to O’ahu
- A cold shower every day in January
- Dry January free of alcohol and caffeine
- My first ever Think Weekend in northern Michigan to read and write free of technology
- Morning pages every day in February
- Living the month of Florida in my grandparent’s empty condo
- Swimming every day in March in Florida
- Finding the tracks of the sea turtle planting eggs during morning walks
- Starting an irregular meditation practice on and off
- Starting a stretching / yoga practice in April
- Starting in April walking at least three miles every day
- Visiting friends in Denver, Colorado, and hiking for the first time
- Creating photo books for my mom and dad for their 60th birthdays celebrating in Chicago with brunch, shopping, and visiting where architect Frank Lloyd lived outside the city
- Walking more than I ever have in Waikiki– up to 12 miles some days
- Starting a twice-weekly mindfulness group where we’d meditate, journal, and reflect together in Kapiolani Park
- Skydiving and Victor telling me “You will die, but not today.” before jumping out of the plane at 15,000 feet to free fall for 60 seconds as gravity pulled me down.
- Camping with my friend Andy eating butter mochi, hammocking and journaling to the starry night
- Living in a hostel for two months.
- Becoming outgoing again in the hostel since moving into my freshman dorm in 2014
- Group surfing sessions with new friends
- Facing my fear after trying four times and free diving about 20 feet down under a cave at Shark’s Cove
- Sticking to my guns and buying a moped for $800 despite not knowing how to drive it
- Hiking Alamoana Trail with the three peaks and committing all three with my cousin Christa even after we thought we’d only do the first one
- The community that I helped to cultivate among the 35 college students partaking in the iX study and intern abroad program.
- Phoneless weekends or days while noticing I need to reset my relationship
- Moving in with Emily after our second surf together
- Buying yet another ukulele and actually learning a couple songs and sharing one with Write of Passage students for the final session
- Celebrating Emily’s birthday on a catamaran and dancing on the beach after
- Moonlight surf sessions when the world feels quiet and the Waikiki looks serene from the water
- Being able to steer right or left on my surfboard
- Completing a scuba certification with my friend Sara
- Training for three months and completing a half marathon at ‘the end of the world’ on Ali’i Drive on Big island
- The most surreal experience scuba diving at night with manta rays floating over my head
- Completing my deepest dive at 95 feet and surviving my nitrogen narcosis of feeling drunk underwater and losing control of my body
- Getting more comfortable with recording my voice through daily short voice recordings through my AudiOctober project. I now record Rackets for fun after being a beta tester for Racket.ios. I explained this project more here.
- Making exercise a pillar in my everyday with running, swimming, hiking or surfing
- Being the course manager for Revitalize Your Career in January
- Writing and producing twice weekly podcasts for Subject Matter podcast on leadership with empathetic communication
- Spending over a month writing my most popular essay in 2021 on 25 Lessons from 25 Years
- Completing Andrew Barry’s On Deck Course Creator Fellowship and running an Art of Journaling Workshop
- Mentoring for two cohorts of Write of Passage after giving the application process my all
- Being a guest speaker for Jenna Spinelle’s University of Pennsylvania Journalism course on being a content creator (interview on cultivating curiosity found here)
- Weekly Spotlight posts on LinkedIn and Twitter for Delivery Associates’ as an initiative to increase brand recognition and source more talent
- Creating a memorable community and experience for the 35 students summer in Waikiki
- Taking over managing the iXperience study abroad and internship program after having an unexpected smaller team
- Mentoring for Gwyn Wanbrough’s Breakthrough Facilitation cohort-based course
- Realizing I knew things that the tour guide did not know and that I would really enjoy giving tours to curious tourists of Honolulu (Letter 84 Reflection)
- Completing Michael Dean’s Writing Studio successfully with writing my most structured and challenging piece using placemaking at a Zen Buddhist Center
I don’t want to post just the highlights. This is not a vacation. It’s real life, with all the beauty and pain that comes with it.
(I find these challenging to remember as I quickly turn them into things I am grateful for.)
- Writing for others and losing motivation and energy to write for myself publicly
- Losing sleep over unreliable system for my newsletter that is left too much up to serendipity of my mood (though the system did still public 51 issues in 52 weeks)
- Near death experience drowning at Makapu’u tide pools and learning life is precious
- Meditation I struggled with the most. I didn’t establish a specific time that I’d meditate. I generally did it in the mornings, and even at night once but was too distracted to have attention. This is the habit I am really going to focus on in 2022. I will be pursuing Duksan in and take on an official Zen teacher for regular weekly meetings
- The stress of not knowing where I was going to live if I wanted to stay in Hawai’i come the end of my two months of hostel living for my job
21 Lessons from 2021
- Loneliness is a choice. Much of my time in living in a hostel for two months, I was always surrounded by so many new people to connect with. Heck, it was the most people I met since move-in day for college nearly a decade ago.
I am an extrovert, but I quickly felt drained and needed space and time alone. It has taken me a while to redefine my choice to be alone and not feel pity for myself being lonely. I recognize how I need to have my time alone in order to show up as my best version during other interactions when I choose not to be alone. And if bouts of loneliness ever arise, I notice them and can mindfully make a choice about reaching out to a friend if needed.
- Self-awareness is necessary to notice happiness. When a colleague asked me how I was doing after a month into living in Hawaii, I wasn’t exactly sure how to respond. I was tempted to be vanilla and say ‘good’. Instead of telling, I shared how I’ve been waking up smiling every day. I couldn’t wait to spend time with the students living vicariously alongside their adventures online for courses and internships and organizing community events. My co-worker said in return, “so you’ve been happy?!” Emphatically YES. I have been happy.
This was the first time I can recall ever telling someone I was happy in return to a question about my well-being. That’s a huge win for me.
- Say Hell no or Hell yes. Shoutout to Derek Sivers. I applied (in tandem with this video) to be a crew aboard a sailboat on a voyage across the Pacific Ocean to Christmas Island. I got offered the position and then waited 7 days to respond as I thought about it more (I tend to overthink things).
I’ve never journaled more about anything in my life. When my gut finally gave me the green light, an email came that the position was filled. In hindsight, this worked out for the best.
The rejection was necessary to realize I wasn’t ready to leave Hawaii just yet.
- The mistakes and dead ends are worth it. I don’t believe in sunk costs anymore. Even though my role with iXperience was only temporary, it was worth it in making the bridge to a better life. Everything I’ve done in my past has led me to where I am today. Sure the road was winding, but if it was less then it wouldn’t be MY life, and it wouldn’t be as interesting as I find it to be.
- Shake off the guilt. It is my choice to feel something after I observe the sensation coming on. Judgments from others are most likely projections of their own regrets or insecurities. If someone calls me selfish for going after my dreams to find my truth and live a happier life, then so be it. I don’t need to carry that shame on my shoulders.
- Unleash crazy ideas. This happens after it pops up in your mind and into the world through journaling. It acts as the welcome mat for ideas to meet the physical world.
- Be unapologetic. Permission from anyone but myself is unnecessary.
- Listen to your body. My body is smart and it’s a disservice to be ignorant towards it. With cliffs on all sides of me, my mind must cheer on my body to survive because anything else will work against me to succeed and creatively problem solve.
- Bring out our inner child. Life is better that way. It’s sure a heck of a lot more enjoyable that way too. The ceiling for joy can never be reached.
- Life is transient. Recognize that life is perpetually transient whether you live on an island or not.
- Never take the present moment for granted. Home is a dynamic feeling of security, safeness and openness to express myself freely. When I feel this way, I want to take note and share that with whoever is around that they have made me feel at home in this lonely world.
- Risk rejection > Regret. The ceiling is unimaginable. It’s a much better way to live rather than bottling up ideas to try out. Sure, I followed up with one of my heroes Barbara Oakley countless time after creating this video for her. I don’t regret doing this. I would’ve rather had this rejection than the regret.
- Stand up for yourself. Nobody else will. There isn’t any Clark Kent swooping in to make all those who have wronged you, right. I’ve never done so many contracting calls or compensation negotiations in my whole life than I did this past year as a freelancer. I learned to advocate for myself when I felt under-appreciated. I knew I’d regret holding my tongue. I didn’t want to leave that gnarly pit of resentment in myself or towards my clients. I wanted win-win relationships. I ended up forgiving myself for being walked over in previous roles and now knowing that I need to speak up. Thank you to my mentor Aunt Lindy for helping teach me this.
- Observe your emotions. Stray away from judgement of them. Then make a choice about what to do about them.
- Give your intuition the mic. When I do this I can make decisions so much more quickly rather than overthinking them. My gut knows me so much better than my mind ever will, so I need to lean into that well of faith and trust it.
- Shed your own expectations. Nobody is forcing me to be on the hamster wheel. That dialogue in my head is morphed from the expectations of society and from others around that my ego has adopted as my own truth. These don’t serve me and I need to be skeptical of unconsciously adopting these.
- Seize the day and say yes. If you want to do something eventually what is actually holding you back?? I had an arbitrary goal of wanting to get scuba certified before I was 30. Why not sooner? What was actually holding me back? It felt like perfect timing where I had just made a new friend who I wanted to go on adventures with and made another friend who was going to alleviate some financial stress with future rooming together. I had the idea but shed the anticipation of prolonging the idea.
- Embrace my quirks. Find those who jive with them because they appreciate who I am. They don’t expect me to change.
- Express myself because I feel like it. It can feel impulsive. Do it anyways. You’ll regret not attempting to be heard. There are time to listen and there are times to be heard.
- Discover the relationships that are long lasting. I’ve lost touch with a handful of group chats, have to reach out in new ways and at strange hours, and make an extra effort to really want to nurture and continue some relationships. It can be overwhelming and isolating at times. But I have also found who really had my back, and who I strive to keep close. And I’ve also opened my world to many new and beautiful souls on the journey as well.
- Choose courage over fearlessness. My fears will never go away. They will only appear in different forms. The aspiration to be fearless will never be satisfied. I choose courage because it means to notice the fear and act on the scary thing in spite of embarrassment, rejection or self-doubt.
My Coordinates for Q1 of 2021
Landing a job that supports my lifestyle in Hawaii. According to James’ Clear’s article on the Four burner theory, I lived much of the last quarter of 2021 committing to my mental, physical and social health. All of my burners felt full apart from my work burner. I would now like to move that one forward to full frontal the front to focus now that I have decided I love my life in Hawai’i. The cost of living here is far from cheap so time to buckle down.
Publishing 26 essays in 2022. This means shipping every other week on my website with 2 essays per month and 8 per quarter, which adds up to 26 essays in 2022. If I know anything about my failed attempt last year of consistent critically thought out pieces is that they don’t come linearly for me. They come in spurts. This means that I want to try out writing even more this first quarter given I am committing time to my job search and that isn’t always stress relieving, so this can be my escape to carve out time for me to write.
Prioritizing reading newer genres. Similar to how I failed at becoming a Youtuber last year after realizing I didn’t consume much YouTube content, in order to become better at writing I need to read more. For the first two months of me living in Waikiki, I was too stressed out to read. Then I got my library card and things changed. Now, I’m convinced they’re sick of seeing me. I like the creative constraint that book expirations force me to decide whether to let it go or overcome the friction to renew it. I’m pretty burnt out from self development. The few times I’ve tried to get into philosophy or history, I get bored easily. I want to allow myself to read whatever I’m excited about. The limit doesn’t exist.
I read my first romance fiction novel recommended by my sister and couldn’t put it down. It was too juicy. For now I’ve started to stock my shelves with poetry from Yung Pueblo and Rumi and I’d love to get back into some playful adventurous books like A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson or Cheryl Strayed.
Travel. Weekly Surfing road trips with friends to new surf spots to challenge myself further with less people at Waikiki Canoes break. Visiting my high school best friend in San Diego in January, Florida in February, a wedding in Denver in August, a Michigan wedding in September. I’d love to also potentially do some other west coast or east coast trips. This all is contingent on job stability. Camper van trip in Kauai with Emily. We both follow a handful of folks who live out of vans and cross country travel like that. I’ve been intrigued and would love an experiment with driving around.
What skills do I want to double down on learning?
(Mark Manson explains here why it is more essential to focus on skills I want to gain rather than goals.)
Systemization. When I can create a system for my creativity and my output everything moves much more effortlessly and it is joyous to create. I will start to befriend more folks who I see as experts in this field to show me where I have leaks.
My memory. I have a fear of early onset Alzheimers after being a witness of the disease to my grandma. I’m still figuring out which project would help me improve my recall. Each night I journal top 3 learnings from the day, though I’d like to further this with using Readwise’s function to quiz myself on what I read in articles and books.
Typing speed and accuracy. I broke my keyboard last year and it made me realize how much I relied on Grammarly to correct my spelling. I have felt insecure about typos in my writing for too long. Due to my lack of finances, I don’t foresee hiring an official editor of my writing for the foreseeable future, so this means I need to get better at my own mechanics. I’ve found reading aloud is helpful though if I had not only faster but more accurate typing, everything I do as a knowledge worker will improve.
To ‘steer’ on my surfboard. Only twice this past year did I feel like I confidently steered right as the wave curled behind me. That goes without saying I’ve done it a handful more times as a mechanism to avoid others that were more ‘on accident’.
Overall confidence growth playing beach volleyball. This means (1) mastering my overhand serve/ spike and (2) playing setter without being afraid of blocking. in beach volleyball. Currently I just bump around a bit before games and then jump right into games. I need more practice. I got a slight concussion in December while playing setter and one of my teammates accidentally elbowed my right temple.
Understanding the context of where education came from. I will be taking this History of Education three month course starting February 1st.
Teaching people. An opportunity where this might come into play is to become a walking tour guide of Honolulu. I’m currently on the waitlist though this is all contingent that a new staring of Covid doesn’t kill the walking tour company.
Oration. Start an in-person writing group. Speak out loud in my writing.
Words for the new year
These will serve as my new pillars that I will base most of my decisions off of.
Meraki: Describes doing something with soul, creativity, or love — when you put “something of yourself” into what you’re doing, whatever it may be.
The main places I would like to live with meraki are in my job applications to stand out as myself, with introductions to be memorable, with how I surf and finding my unique style, and with how I live so that I do not feel pressure for permission from others of my actions.
Patience: Expectant with calmness, or without discontent; not hasty; not overeager; composed. Constant in pursuit or exertion; persevering; calmly diligent; the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.
This is something I am trying to cultivate by choosing to respond rather than react and tap into my inner peace to be more calm. I tend to be overly expressive sometimes and I feel that does not serve me. Thank you so Salman Ansari for his timely tweet that inspired this. Rushing has never served me though patience is something that is underrated. In relationships, in skill progression, or in health or fitness objectives.
Consonance: agreement or compatibility between opinions or actions. Synonyms: congruity, harmony, accord, consistency, suitableness, agreeableness.
Musically, it means, accord or agreement of sounds produced simultaneously, as a note with its third, fifth, and eighth. Like how in poems, words rhyme together for similar sounds, I want to start to be attentive to what those sounds are in my life symbolically.
This is mainly because I want to find alignment and hold space for faith that things within my life overlap and create alignment with myself, the world and my spirit.
Shoutouts to people who impacted and inspired my 2021
- My roommate in O’ahu Emily for becoming my best friend, surfacing my courage, and helping me afford my life
- My mom, dad, brother, and sister for providing their support as I ventured across the world to a foreign place
- My Chicago roommates Ally and Kat for providing me company
- To my previous clients for being excellent remote teams to be a part of: Naseem Malik, Aaron Cleavinger, Ben Bradbury, and Katelyn Donnelly
- To David Perell, Will Mannon and the Write of Passage team for hiring me on to be a mentor of two cohorts of their writing school
- To my WOP friends and all the mentors and students I got the privilege to work with
- To the course creators the sparked new learnings for me: Andrew Barry’s On Deck Course Creator fellowship, Gwyn Wansbrough’s Breakthrough Facilitation, Michael Dean’s Writing Studio, Anthony Pompliano’s Cryptocurrency course
- To Foster Writing Community for being a continuous place I feel welcomed to share my writing and elevate it
- To my altMBA book club for providing me such insightful conversation on books of so many ranging topics from creativity to design thinking
- The meeting of the minds newsletter mastermind group started with Dan McGlinn and Brendan Stec
- To Bryan Wish, Jon Borichevskiy, and Alice Lemée whose openness with sharing their adventures while nomadic living never cease to inspire me
- Lastly, a shoutout to those who helped me bring this piece to light Caryn Tan, Paul Millerd, and Gwyn Wansbrough
These are just to list a handful. If I missed you, know that you matter as well. Thank you for making this year the best one of my life. I appreciate you all. I am beyond grateful to call myself a dyslexic reader, writer, creator, and lover of life.
Here’s to a bright future ahead full of joyous play, love, laughter and learning for the rest of our lives.
If you’d like to stay up to date on my learning journey, you can join along below:
Some favorite highlights
- Favorite App: Superhuman Email Software: reshaped my relationship of dreading email to be in control of my attention and when I receive and respond emails
- 1Password: password manager that provides a place for users to store various passwords for my different clients and logins so I only remember 1 password
- Freedom to block distracting websites while working
- Hemingway to help me distill my writing
- Otter.ai to transcribe my conversations and accelerate my writing process
- Roam Research to organize my knowledge and form a network of thoughts
- Airr to highlight and synthesize the best moments on podcasts
- Readwise to get the most out of what I read
- Favorite Practical Buys: Sony 6400 Mirrorless Camera, Brooks Ghost Running shoes
- Most Fun Buys: You’re fucking dope stickers, Kanile’a Hawaiian made ukulele
- My Second Podcast Interview: Taylor Marks on the Vault
- Best buy I splurged on: red Japanese Kymko moped
- Second Favorite Best Buy: Wavestorm surfboard
- Favorite Habit: Morning journaling followed by reading Julia Cameron
- Favorite Weekly Routine: Hammocking during sunsets
- Favorite Writing Communities: Write of Passage and Foster
- Best Skill: Writing Online
- Most Fun Skill: Surfing
2021 Online courses:
- Write of Passage
- Michael Dean’s Writing Studio
- Breakthrough Facilitation
- On Deck Course Creator Fellowship
- Anothony Pompliano’s Cryptocurrency Maven Course
- My Three Words: Play, Intention, Experiment
- My New Best Friend and Roommate: Emily Waguespack
- Favorite online writers: Ask Polly, Penelope Trunk
- Favorite Book Authors: Derek Sivers, Julia Cameron, Liz Gilbert
- Favorite Musician: Mike Posner
- Minutes Listened To Spotify: 18,042 minutes
Action breeds evidence and courage. (“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” –Dale Carnegie)
The risk is the reward. (reminder to be more courageous)
If I do not ask, I will not receive. (to push me to advocate for myself)
My value does not decrease based on someone’s inability to see my worth. (for compensation negotiations)
The quality of my life is decided by the questions I ask myself everyday.
Break it down to build it back up. (for while overwhelmed in project management)
Live a story worth sharing.
“Writing begets writing. You feel yourself growing as a result of the writing you do.” — John McPhee
What do I have to lose? “Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.” (from Cinderella Story Disney movie)