Year-end reflections (that’s right)

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This is me, in the middle of writing something. With a black eye (there’s a GOOD explanation for this).

Hot diggity. It’s the end of the year! Can’t believe it - time flies when you’re having fun. Actually no, that’s a lie. Time flies when you’re happy, when you’re sad, even when you’re stressed to the nines. It doesn’t slow down even as you contemplate the meaning of life. Life goes on.

Seems like just yesterday, I was making plans for 2013 - world domination was in my grasp. Well, it didn’t quite turn out that way. To paraphrase, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.” 

Did I Achieve (capital A for emphasis!) all that I wanted? Heck no. I overachieved in some cases. Underachieved in others. Pivoted into new domain, too. I won’t bore you with the details of projects/things that never got off the ground. Nah. Life’s too short to read such things, even if you’re on Tumblr :)

What I will say is that I’m happy with the following:

Being a writer. My Twitter profile says I’m a wannabe writer. I still believe this to be true. Writing is hard work; it’s developing a muscle over time. While I’m not putting in daily practice, I do think I’m a lot better than I was in 2012. And I’m proud of the fact that I have a decent-size writing portfolio now (see below).

I have a regular blog! I started this Tumblr last year and proved to myself that I can blog regularly. I’ve lost track of how many things I started that I gave up on - I can happily say that blogging/writing is a pastime that will stay with me.

Not take relationships for granted. Whether it’s girlfriend, family, work or general friendship, I’ve gotten (slightly) better at making time for relationships. I’m calling my mom regularly. I’m making time for dates. I’m falling asleep on the couch less.

Learned a lot about not whining. At some point, halfway through the year, the proverbial light switch turned on - and I learned to stop being a whiner/complainer and more of a doer. I still have a tendency to wallow in past mistakes, but I’m seeing at least 20% improvement vs. last year.

Fitter, happier, more productive. Started going to the gym more. Joined my first basketball league in a LONG time. Ran a few half marathons. Still guilty of playing more hours of Zynga Poker than I should, but usually you’ll find me burning calories at the gym or at a basketball court. And I can’t believe how awesome it is to play semi-serious basketball again - that’s a post for another time.

My emotional maturity grew a few inches. I am still childish on many levels, whether it’s feeling snubbed about something unimportant or not being able to climb out of a self-imposed hole. But it’s gettin’ better all the time, man!

Learned how to be happy. Related to ALL of the above! Trying to be more grateful for where I am, both metaphorically and literally.

Are there things that I will be critical about? Absolutely! I’m such a stickler to detail (ha!) that I’m going to list a few that come to mind:

Be more social. Still need to climb out of that self-imposed cocoon sometimes. While I’ll never be mistaken for a social butterfly, I can still be a fun guy to be around when given half a chance. Still lots of work to do in this area, but I’m optimistic.

Be more effective at my job. Not gonna spill the gory details, but I had my successes and I had my failures. I probably didn’t capitalize on all the opportunities I got, and will try to rectify going forward.

Do something scary. I can do public speaking, but can I do live stand-up? I can hold my own in karaoke, but can I do it in front of strangers? I can write itty bitty articles, but can I write a narrative or a book? OK, these are crazy examples but you get the point. Whenever I get out of my comfort zone something good happens. Got to keep that spirit of adventure going!

I invite you to share your own retrospective as well. Hope everyone enjoys the rest of the calendar year. 

***Appendix*** - things I wrote this year (that I’m particularly proud of)

For other sites

[Beijing Cream] The Show Goes On: Beijing Independent Film Festival Finishes On A Fine Note

[Niubball] American Dreams: Non-Mainstream Chinese Players Crossing Over To The NBA

[Chinatravel.net] How To Conquer Culture Shock In China: A Chinese-Canadian’s Perspective

Self-published

A Tale of Two Devices

Rap God: Eminem, Nostalgia And The Art Of Storytelling

Are We The New “Lost Generation”?

China, You Turned Me Into A Heartless Bastard.

Musings About Product Management From My First Year On The Job