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How I Want To Live In 2020

How I Want To Live In 2020

I’ve never liked traditional New Year’s resolutions for all the common reasons. I like the concept. I like using an arbitrary but significant time to take a look at where I am in life and where I want to be. And I have made progress based solely off of resolutions in the past.

But the traps are always there. It’s easy for a resolution to be terrifying in scope and there is a social construct built almost entirely around breaking these resolutions.

So I’m trying something a little different this year. Last year, by the by, I had just one New Years resolution:

Finish my MBA without losing my family or my mind.

I mostly succeeded. I didn’t lose my family, and now that I’m sleeping more than two hours a night my mind is doing much better, thank you for asking.

What’s better than a goal?

In general resolutions seem to take the form of a “goal”, something you want to accomplish in the next calendar year. There are usually three:

  • Get in better shape
  • Spend money more wisely
  • Do a thing that makes you feel more like yourself

For me the third one has to do with writing. So I’ll set specific writing goals and then pull a Douglas Adams and miss them entirely. The difference, of course, is that nobody is sending a courier to my house to publish my book whether it’s finished or not.

And these goals are useful! I have definitely made progress in all these categories when I have focused on them. I have been focusing on them, and I will continue to do so.

But like I said, I’m trying something new this year. Instead of shooting for one “SMART” goal in each category, I’m working on creating a personal theme for the year.

The difference, in my mind, is that I’m already working on my goals. I know what I want to accomplish in the next twelve months. But who do I want to be during those twelve months? What do I want to change about myself?

Thus a theme instead of a set of goals. If I were a business I would perhaps call this a mission statement, but I intend for it to be more open and encompassing than that.

Festina Lente

And here it is! My theme! I have definitely stolen it from deeper thinkers over the last…well, two to three millennia, as near as I can tell. It’s a not-uncommon phrase, and has been used by several illustrious individuals.

For those of you who don’t spend hours researching dead people’s creeds or mottos, it is often translated as “Make haste, slowly.” And is a delightful little paradox. Various people have worked it into images, such as a turtle with a sail, or a crab and a butterfly or, more famously, a dolphin and an anchor.

CC-BY-30 Arminiuzz
Image used under CC-BY-30 license from Arminiuzz See Original

You can read the Wikipedia Page page if you want more analysis of how the world has used the phrase, but here’s what I get from it:

Keep doing, but take the time to do it right. There is always more that could be done, always more we should do. It’s easy to bounce from task to task, never finishing anything, never seeing anything through. And it’s important to do things! But we, well, I, need to slow down and ensure that I’m doing things right, and doing them until they’re done.

So instead of committing to finish any specific goals this year, I’m going to commit to doing things right, staying busy but being focused in my busy-ness.

Such Power There is In Clear-Eyed Self-Restraint

This fits with my life motto, the above quote, attributed to James Russell Lowell. My goal is, as always, to find ways in which I lack self-restraint, and to practice and improve.

To 2020

So that’s what I’m working on in 2020. My hope is that giving my life a theme like this will help me be more focused, and more focused on the right things, in the coming year.

The Life Cycle Of Human Endevor

The Life Cycle Of Human Endevor

There comes a point where it’s time to move on. Things end, and it’s time to move to something new. You start to see that you have nothing left to contribute. So, does this mean that your company needs to die, or that you need to leave the company? No. It just means you need to find someone who can pick up and improve the process you were in charge of and let you do something fresh and move your intelligence and skills to a new problem or process and make it work as well.

Or sometimes it’s time to move on yourself. More than once I have seen people massively improve many lives by moving on. The company they leave improves, because new blood is introduced, and the person who left also becomes new blood.

So what’s the point?

The point is it’s probably time for me to move on. I am getting sick of this place. It’s not that I think the place is inherently terrible, but the combination of me and this place is getting toxic.

So now the scary part. Moving into the rest of the world.

It’s also kinda exciting.