Happy New Year!
Now that I’ve put 2013 to bed, it’s time to turn towards this New Year ahead. I’m taking a hint from my new colleague Dan York and am going to pass on resolutions this year and instead focus on three words.
My three words for 2014?
They may sound a little vague at first, but each one has specific meaning to me in the context of 2014.
I’ve rediscovered creativity in my adult life and I’m really digging it. I’ve learned that I simply love to create. It’s one of my core passions and sources of energy. When I can work my butt off, lose track of time, and then stand back and look at a “finished” product, I find that my exhaustion brings with it a drive to do it all over again. I get antsy and anxious when I haven’t created something in a while. It’s an itch I have to scratch. And I’m getting better at it.
My favorite fact about creativity is that creativity begets creativity. In that vein I want to finally learn to draw well. As well as I can anyway. It’s something I’ve wanted to be better at for a long time. Probably since I gave up drawing as a kid – or right before then. Although I don’t intend drawing to become one of my primary creative pursuits, I do think that focusing on a new area of creativity will enhance my general level of creativity and benefit all of my other creative pursuits as well. Furthermore, I think that in order to draw well I need two things. One, I need to slow down some and see the world around me more clearly and in higher fidelity. In order to draw something you must first truly understand how it looks. I believe that learning to see the world this way will be an asset in all my other pursuits. Drawing also requires a particular connection between the hand and the mind. So, the second thing I need to draw better is more precise and delicate awareness of and control over my own body. Again, this is something which I think will have far reaching consequences, both in other art forms but in many other things as well. I truly enjoy a great drive in a nice car, a twisty hill climb on a finely tuned motorcycle, pulling out tools and building or repairing something. I’ve worked with my hands and body a good part of my life. Most of those activities require great feel but fairly course control. Whereas drawing requires steady and smooth motion all the way to the very tips of your fingers. Drawing in 2014 will provide me a new perspective on the physical world, a new appreciation for fine motor control, and a higher overall level of creativity.
Some other areas I want to focus on creatively in 2014 include blogging more, starting a podcast, and starting to organize and display my photography (while adding to it!).
As I noted in my very brief 2013 wrap-up post, I didn’t get much blogging done in 2013. In fact, I’ve already blogged more in 2014 than I did in all of 2013. Much of that has been on the Deploy360 blog, but I plan to also post a lot more here, as well as on CircleID, and anywhere else that will have me! I consider writing one of my natural talents and one of my primary creative outlets, so I’ll be getting back to my roots!
The idea of a podcast has flitted about in my mind several times in the past several years but I never took it seriously until recently. I’ve been using a personal recorder to capture thoughts on the run, and listening to them has made me want to “write with my voice” more directly. There are three possibilities for I see for podcasting, and I’m hopeful that all three will come to fruition in 2014: Hosting my own (semi)regular podcast, co-hosting a regular Internet Society Deploy360 podcast, and being a guest on other folks’ podcasts. If you’re interested, let me know!
Finally, I’ve always had at least a passive interest in photography. There’s only so far you can take it with a phone camera or a point-and-shoot though. So I bought myself a nice little DSLR late last year and I plan to start carrying it with me as often as I can. I also hope to start organizing my existing collection of photography and finding ways to display or otherwise publish (maybe even sell?) my best shots. I’ll be sure to post more about that here as it happens!
Discovery is another constant force in my life that I have more recently become more fully aware of. For me discovery is more than just learning, it’s learning through experience. It’s the way I learn best, and it’s often a hoot!
In 2014 I will have plenty of opportunities to discover new places and their stories. In fact, I’ve already started. I just completed my first trip to Asia, including extended stays in Bhutan and Japan, as well as a couple nights spent in Thailand and a couple layovers in India. Wow. My travel schedule between now and the end of March includes first time for me trips to Malaysia, France, and Singapore, as well as return trips to England and Atlanta, Georgia. More important than just going to these places, where I am often locked in meeting rooms all day, is really taking the opportunity to discover them. While I’ve done a fairly good job of this in the past, I am re-committing to getting out of the conference venue and really seeing the city or place that I am. I plan to engage with locals, read signs and brochures, and learn about the history of the place, the current lifestyle, and hopefully discover the culture while there.
Another big part of traveling that I am re-committing to is meeting new people. While most reading this may never guess it, I am naturally quite shy, fairly anxious, and often have a hard time meeting new people. My defense to this so far has largely been to know people who can make introductions, and to brave the stage at conferences to make people want to approach me (so that I don’t have to approach them). This virtuous circle has worked fairly well but I really want to fully discover the new communities that I get the chance to be exposed to. Which means dedicating myself to talking to strangers. Here goes nothing! =)
Outside of discovering new places and people, I have a lot of things to learn as well. In 2014 I will focus on discovering how to be a better leader, a better manager, and a better father. I will also continue my quest to be a better domestic partner and a better man more generally – a truly gentle man. Some of these are easier than others. They will all take several different approaches. I will talk to people who know these things better than I. I will put myself in situations that require me to grow and learn. I will watch those in the world who set great examples of these things (my new “drawers eye” should help here). I will also read. A lot. While I was working at CableLabs and commuting via 10 miles roundtrip on my bike plus 90 minutes roundtrip on the bus, I got a lot of reading done. Now that I work from home I have struggled a bit to carve out dedicated reading time. I will fix that early in 2014 and keep my reading habit going. Which actually segues nicely into my last word for 2014:
While I do want to preserve my reading habit, that is one of the more mundane aspects of this focus for me. In 2014 I will concentrate on preserving my body through exercise, my relationships through regular contact, and my sanity by dealing with things and not allowing them to fester. Like many of the items on this list, I consider all of these things ongoing in my life but also areas where increased attention is needed. Here again, getting rid of my commute has been great for my stress levels and productivity on the whole, but I’ve lost my ~50miles a week of “required” saddle time. I will make time to break away and ride my bike, do some pushups/pullups/sit-ups, or take a hike (literally).
I’ve never been great at maintaining relationships. I seem to have the mentality of a 2 year old playing peek-a-boo; if I can’t see you, you don’t exist. I’ve been working on that for a while now. In 2014 I will redouble my efforts to pick up the phone, type an email, or write a note and reach out to all of the great people in my life more regularly. Would it be easier if everyone just joined Facebook and read all my tweets? Probably. But it’s not fair to put all of the burden on my friends and family – I need to take the initiative, and I will (more than I do now). The same goes for dealing with things. This mostly relates to family but sometimes spreads to close friends. I’m slowly giving up my selfish need to be liked by everyone. Instead, I will be more direct, more honest, and more forthright in all situations. Well, almost all – tact still has a place, but perhaps not as large of one as I’ve given it in the past.
Here we go!
There you have it. My three words for 2014. A great way to say hello to this new year, if I do say so myself. =)
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