Towards the end of a calendar year, many of us look back on the year that is almost over and reflect on our experiences. Here is a little snapshot of my year. These are my open, transparent thoughts so try not to judge too hard.
What disappointed me?
In certain aspects, my work life disappointed me. Quite often, I didn’t feel challenged and I didn’t feel like I was valuing my own time when I didn’t have very much work to do (as in, I could be spending my time more effectively if I didn’t have to be sitting at my desk even though I had already finished all of my work). I tend to be assigned special projects at work, which have their own ebbs and flows; during the peaks, they are stimulating and engaging but during the valleys, they don’t require much attention. I enjoy having almost too much work to do because it motivates me to get things done and pushes me to strive to be better. I still get things done and aim to be better, even if I’m fairly idle but the process is just dragged out more.
There are numerous people in my life who do cool things. They turn neat ideas and passions into businesses, they travel to amazing places, they share their wealth of knowledge to others by teaching classes or through mentoring, and they do things every day that just seem cool.
I find myself questioning the true value of the work that I do in the context of the greater world and whether I could be contributing my energy, time, and brain power in a more effective way, in a different environment. How can I continue to challenge myself?
What surprised me?
I can be my own biggest impediment. Sometimes for good reason and sometimes out of some sense of fear. I think it’s true for all of us.
I used to run ten years ago (wow has it really been that long!?). I stopped running 8 years ago due to injuries. I started playing ultimate (Frisbee not wrestling) 7 years ago. I stopped playing ultimate 2 years ago due to injuries. I hadn’t done any running-related activities since 2010 but in October, I decided to overcome my fear of re-injury and pain and try running again but this time, starting very slowly and ramping up very gradually. I learned about an app called C25k, which is a guided running program that can take you from the couch to running 5K in about ten weeks. I run slower than I used to (which wasn’t that quick in the first place) but why am I comparing myself to what I used to do 10 years ago!? I’ve been slowly increasing my run segments from 30 seconds to 5 minutes and although there have been some aches on occasion, overall, I feel great that I am running again. I am one step closer to one of my old goals of having a Walt Disney World Half Marathon finisher medal around my neck.
After most runs, I spend 20 minutes doing post-run yoga asanas (poses) guided by a great website called Do Yoga With Me. Funny enough, me moving beyond my own psychological barrier of fearing pain from running has also allowed me to meet another goal of practicing yoga at least once a week.
What did I fail at?
Failure isn’t all doom and gloom. Things don’t always go according to plan and sometimes you don’t meet your own definition of success. Failing means that you tried doing something and you might’ve learned something about yourself or what you were doing along the way.
We had a really adorable adult dog for two months earlier this year. In the end, we decided that we couldn’t give her the environment that she needed to be a happy dog. I questioned myself and my abilities, we learned a lot as a part of that experience, but I believe we made the best decision – not the easiest – that we could given our circumstances. My hopes were that she could go to a home with an experienced owner who could handle her reactions more effectively than we could and who could spend more time with her. I enjoyed our time with her. I learned a lot. I hope she was happy in her time with us. However, I wouldn’t put this experience in my ‘success’ column.
What did I do well at?
Have you heard of the quarter life crisis? In essence, it’s like a mid-life crisis in your mid-twenties. You graduate from university and the structure that the educational institutions provided while growing up is gone. A fundamental question constantly floats through your mind: what am I doing with my life?
As mentioned above, I’m not sure what I want to do with my professional life yet. My current job is interesting but lacks stimulation more often than not these days. After taking a 3 day professional development course in project management late last year and really enjoying it, I decided to try to create more options for myself by pursuing a certificate in project management through a local college. I’ve done a lot of project management over the past ten years but I’ve learned everything that I know as I went. I seem to have a knack for it as I find myself in a project/event manager role time and again, but now is as good a time as any to pick up some industry-accepted principles and methodologies. I recently completed my first course and the material has helped me improve in my professional capacity.
It feels great creating opportunities and new experiences for myself. I really enjoy learning things and enriching my own life through formal and informal education. I made steps this year towards making things happen in my life and I feel proud of that. Don’t just settle if you’re not on the right path.