This past year, I spent much of my time working harder, achieving more and growing relentlessly. I realised I had reached a boundary which gave me serious pause to contemplate who I want to be going forward. Carrying on along the same vector meant changing some fundamental things about my character. I'm not here to whine about how that changing at all is a bad thing. Change is the consequence of growth, I just want to be sure that whatever change takes place, that it's something I can live with.
Upon reflecting, I don’t think this last year is going to be the model going forward. Pushing for growth felt right when my career was nascent. Now I have a few more years of experience, so I believe my direction ought to be more purposeful and considered to reflect my mildly maturing grasp on the world.
I want my quality time to be better apportioned to the three pillars of my life:
- Family and friends
- Creative endeavours
- Meaningful work
The first is obvious, especially as I type these words separated by thousands of kilometres from my nearest relation. I want more quality time with the people I love. Time’s sweep isn’t slowing, I'm not getting any younger and no one will make the effort if I don't first, thus I need to choose to make the time.
I also want 2017 to be the year I set more time aside for myself. Art does not come easily to me (does it for anyone?) but any exercise for the soul is a worthy commitment. I pulled the sketchbook out in Rome and I have been planning more creative projects in the meantime; however, I want to develop my skills and break new boundaries. In school children sample all manner of art styles and mediums, why let that curiosity whither and fade?
Finally, for my last pillar, I have chosen my words precisely: meaningful work. My career is still enjoyable to me. It provides incredible challenge and very complex (read: constrained) working conditions, which has me running experiments on my productivity constantly. Like you might imagine, this pressure cooker will absorb wanton effort to little effect. If I'm not careful, work can balloon to 14 hour days including my weekends, again to little noticeable payoff. I need to be disciplined and carefully prune my choices to those that contribute most to my career goals.
In 2016, I let some areas creep at the expense of the others, I'm sure no one has really noticed—hopefully—but I will not stand idly by and let priorities slip for another year. I cut distractions and made up my mind to focus on just a few big projects throughout the year.
This coming year—my last full calendar year in London—is a blank slate. Wherever I go is completely up to me. So, 2017 will not be the year of more, nor the year of less. It will be a year to pursue my own ends, strive for more fulfilling experiences and savour quality time in only those areas that enrich my life the most.
Happy new year.