As I write this it is only a moment after midnight, bringing the first day of 2016 to a close. I recognize that I’ve been writing more personal stuff lately and less… “lifestyle” articles but the truth is that I write what I’m feeling or thinking, and I suppose lately (especially around the holidays) it’s been more along the lines of a journal than a blog. You get to deal with it.
So, with that said, happy new year! For me 2015 was more of a struggle than I have had in a long time. Actually, that may not be completely true, but it was a very different kind of struggle, one that (with the exception of a few positive introductions) basically defined the year as shit. Yes, 2015 was a shit year with shit-filling coated in shit. It started out with some promise and was garbage within three months. My stress level went through the roof, my income plummeted, my finances when to hell, and my self-confidence took a major hit (okay, fine.. maybe it’s a good thing to get my ego in check from time to time.)
Fortunately in the last couple of months of the year, my struggles and efforts bore fruit in the form of new and different opportunities, and by mid-December I was already beginning my recovery to start 2016 strong.
So here I sit on the first day. My stress level is minimal (in fact, sometimes I feel too relaxed.) My work situation has me situated in a literal paradise, and my boss might be the only person on earth who has experienced a greater variety of life than I have (relatively speaking and possibly slightly exaggerated in regards to my life experience.) Perhaps most importantly, he is very patient and laid back… which I’m honestly still getting used to after my previous bosses. My income is not exceptional, but slightly better than it was at the height of my financial stability around two years ago (I’ve made more since then, but the situation was much more difficult essentially negating the addition income.) All in all, the foundation is being reset after it was nearly destroyed in 2015. It’s a mix of the old and the new (and unfortunately, it seems, not without a few social casualties…) but it feels like it’s strong and fully capable of supporting the next chapter the is 2016.
Note: I passed out while writing this, so the following is a continuation authored the next day (told you I was relaxed.)
So what is the next chapter. Or rather, what is my intention? We all know that we picture one thing, and even if we reach that goal it will look different than we pictured and take us on a path we couldn’t have imagined, so scrutinizing that is useless. Rather, I guess the questions are; What are your intentions for the year? What will you focus on?
The elephant understands.
First and foremost: Balance. Always balance. If there’s anything that has been obvious to me time and time again, it’s that taking anything to an extreme, even if it’s a seemingly good thing, almost always ends badly. Obviously this is a very general philosophy that can be broken down to very specific situations, but in general I believe the more you put effort into keeping yourself and your life balanced, that happier and better adjusted you will be. I could write and entire post on this alone (and have if you go way back to the “Philosophy of Moderation” posts.) Short term, or extreme situations with defined deadlines are important and potentially very productive, but as a general life philosophy I suggest you strive for balance. It’s an easy google search to find many testimonials from people who took things to extremes and regretted it later on some level.
So with that overtone in mind, I want to get back to personal development. Much of 2015 was dedicated to the trap of “getting by” that I know a lot of people are still in. But since it appears I’ll have a little breathing room, I want to get back to hobbies that I enjoy and are productive (no, I’m not talking about Final Fantasy XIV… but that will happen too… in moderation.)
First, I want to write more and more consistently. The surprising number of you that have hung in there when I got down to one post a month on average during parts of the year should find that you see a lot more from me. Initially my goal is one a week, we’ll see where I go from there. Along the same lines I’m considering a second blog / website dedicated to fictional writing. The “Kaska-Ta” entries are a bit of an outlet using a metaphorical world to discuss actual dilemmas and thought processes, but I’ve got a lot of other stuff that is quite a ways farther out there running around in my head. So I’ll keep you posted on that development. I most certainly won’t be starting that until I feel confident I’m giving you enough attention here.
This is a raw shot I took yesterday. It might end up being my favorite of the set. Feel special.
Second, I’ve got access to semi-professional camera now (Canon 70D, not the 6D that is my goal, but I like it a lot better than I thought I would.) As such I will be spending more time on my photography. This one is a little addictive, so I have to watch my time spent, but it’s something I really enjoy. I’ll probably have a dedicated site for my “professional” photos (no, I’m not putting them in Instagram.. thats for my iPhone.) and while I don’t have any intention of collecting money for my services anytime soon, I’ll be trying a lot of things creatively, entering photography contests, and seeing what I can do to get my name out a bit as a legit taker of pretty pictures. Since I showed off the camera in social media, a few people have pinged me about potential projects that I’m already excited about.
Third, and while this is nothing new it remains important: I need to get active again. The nocturnal, all-encompassing Uber life and the stress that came from the greatly reduced income destroyed my routine and left me with little motivation to try and get it back together. But if anything is essential to maintaining mental balance, it’s making sure your physical body is on the level with your mind. The running especially is a sort of meditation for me, and one I will not be neglecting much longer. As expensive as they are, I will probably try to get back into the Disney races as they are both magical and give me goals to train for. Hopefully I can swing the Marathon this year… and survive it. I’m a long way away from where I was when I successfully ran that a couple years ago.
The intentions above come with the obvious condition that I don’t neglect
other aspects of my life to do so. Socially I’ve been recluse and I intend to improve that now that I have the resources to indeed be social. And arguably more importantly (since it is a large part of my foundation) I need to be sure my focus on work is proactive and diligent. As I said my boss is very laid back, but that needs to be an excuse to stay sharp and exceed expectations so that I have to basis to continue to improve said foundation.
There are also more tangible carry-over goals from last year:
1. Japan. I made the promise last year and while she’s been very gracious about my situation causing that to not happen, I hate not keeping my promises. Besides, I need to get back over there, it’s been way too long.
2. Canon 6D (or possibly a 1Dx should they come up with the rumored upgrade.) The camera I have access to now will work great in the meantime, but it’s not full-frame, and it’s not mine. Two things I need to remedy if I really want to be considered “pro”.
3. Cruise (this is a strong optional.) It’s been three years now (I think…) since I was last on a cruise ship. It’s been too long. I don’t know what it is about being on these marvels of engineering out on the open sea, but it’s fantastic and I need to get out there again.
So, obviously, it’s going to be a busy year. But busy is good when it’s the kinds of things you’re excited to do. Last year I had a few moments where I lost hope and was very close to rock-bottom again, but thanks to my friends reminding me what was important, a lot of hours spent in my car, and a little bit of help here and there from the universe, this year has a great deal of potential that I’m determined to make sure isn’t wasted.
Happy New Year!