2016: A Retrospective of Sorts

The more you change the less you feel

I sat down today to produce a retrospective of 2016, hoping to make some sense of what was a long and wild year. It took me longer than expected because I kept trying to organize my thoughts into some coherent and interesting whole. I wanted to add anecdotes, clever analogies or drop some piece of distilled wisdom.

But the point of this blog is not for me to improve as a writer or produce ‘great’ work but rather to get my thoughts out there unfiltered and unjudged. It’s a tool for creative renewal and creativity blossoms when it is unjudged. It is not a mouthpiece or a platform for me to speak to the world, which necessitates filtration, editing and curation. Empathy.

In the end, that’s what I think you can say about 2016- it was a year of sound and fury. A lot of new things- new friends, new experiences, new skills – but that I struggle to turn it into one coherent message. Maybe this year portends settling into what I will become. I had a lot of options given constraints on my time and money had finally relaxed so perhaps the hobbies, friends, routines and even fashion sense I adopted this year will be the ones that stick. In that way the change I experienced this year may not always be constant.

I end the year feeling low on energy and withdrawn from the world to a degree that I have not felt in the past year. It may be a lack of confidence in the path. Or a lack of goals or inspiration. Fear? All possibilities. Is there a formula for personal renewal? Meditation? Sleep? Exercise? Do I immerse myself in socializing or go off to the desert? I don’t know. All I can think is that the road ahead seems dark but we take heart and journey forward. Always.

Below were some of the markers of change in 2016 –

  • Hygiene – lean wardrobe, better shirts/shoes and shaving w straight razor
  • Finance – made $ and bought my first real estate property (it was a ton of work, like running a PE process!)
  • Career – helped create new data science group, tried managing an intern, started leading meetings, learned about macro/CFIUS/antitrust/IT hardware and software companies
  • Mind – went to first Zen meeting, meditated regularly, went through a ton of books/podcasts/a16z (Snowball, Creativity Inc, Water, Man Who Fed World)
  • Health – learned about recovery (trigger points, yoga, PT) and developed better weight training, swimming and bball technique
  • Adventure travel – learned or went freediving, spearfishing, swimming, surfing, sailing and snowboarding. Visited Puerto Vallarta, Costa Rica, Michigan camping, Acadia, Aspen, Angel Island, Mt Diablo, etc.
  • Social – joined the O Club, made new professional friends (G), new personal friends (S), started thinking about social situations and vocal tonality/posture by listening to podcasts and writing the SSD
  • Dating – a bunch of friends/acquaintances got engaged or married, asked a girl out, told a girl how I felt, filled out a dating profile, read Essays in Love
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