01 Jan 2016
I'll get right into it - 2015 was a good year. And, there's no way around this, it was because of the birth of my son, Grayson.
That's pretty much it. That's the TLDR version of our year.
The Longer Version
There isn't a single event in the 38 years of my life that has had as profound an effect on my day to day life as the birth of this child. Most things people tell you – "There's you the day before, there's you the day after, they're night and day", etc – that's certainly true. You can't escape that. There are other adages that are a little less universally true ("It was the greatest day of my life!" ... actually, it was stressful), but we're all our own people, right? In any case, the incredible evolution in me personally has been this incredible shift philosophically where I can now consider the path in front of my son to be a clean slate. I no longer mull over what happened before, as that is history writ, instead I can concentrate moving forward on the wonderful future we, he, I, have ahead of us. My enthusiasm for this new year is unlike almost all before.
Knowing that Sara and I were expecting Gray to join us I started 2015 with a bit of a resolve to work on a few things personally and emotionally. I can look back on the year and consider them a success as I feel better now than I did a year ago. My motivation this year was to work on some base fundamental parts of me that I had unintentionally neglected - my mind, my emotional state, my inner self. I guess the preparation for a baby had the cliche'd existential effect.
Of the behavioral changes I attempted the three that were most beneficial were, first, to see a therapist semi-regularly. I cannot recommend that, in particular, enough. Find someone you trust and can establish a healthy rapport with and see them once every other week, or once a month, or as often as you need. As complicated human beings sometimes the best medicine is to externalize and talk things out. Clarity has come to me more often than not by the time my 45 minutes is up.
The second is meditation. My practice is admittedly pretty sporadic and would probably not stand up to scrutiny of being called "practice". But of the times I notice that I need the time to stop and reflect, I spend 15 minutes with some guided meditation, either with headspace app, or my former company's app with Dan Harris and Joseph Goldstein- 10% Happier To call it effective, for me, would be a vast understatement. If you're wondering about it and think dipping your toes in with a bit of a skeptical bent is necessary I would highly recommend reading Dan's book of the same name "10% Happier". It's easily up there with my other favorite books of 2015.
Lastly, writing for myself. Writing for the public—as you can very well see elsewhere in this site—isn't my strongest suit. Writing for myself, to myself, when I need to let some thoughts out has been therapeutic. I've been using an app called Day One on both my laptop and my phone to keep these thoughts together in one place, synced, and at the tip of my fingers whenever the need strikes. I've been on the train riding home from work, struggling with something or other, and the time I take to write via stream of consciousness has been wonderful as a means of getting things off my chest. It's a more personal form of self therapy. I know no one else will see it (ha - false security much?) so I can get out whatever is on my mind. I highly recommend providing yourself an outlet to accomplish this.
Some of those may help you, some of them may not, most of them may not – but that's ok. There is no perscriptive for life and nothing works for everyone. If you're reading this and feel similarly I recommend exploring your options and, above all, be honest with, and kind to, yourself.
The clean slate metaphor applies in a few other facets of my life. I have recently, as of Thanksgiving, left my job at a small startup and spent most of December working exclusively on a project I've been chipping away at for months. I'm really excited about it and I'll be writing more about it here soon. I'll leave that for its own post, for now. I'm having conversations with friends and colleagues and looking forward to, most likely, some time contracting and freelancing. If you're interested in chatting (please, no full time inquiries) email or tweet at me.
Happy new year!
This year's favorites.
Book: Station Eleven.
Music: I have no f'ing clue.