Year in Review: 2019

A year of transitions

January 20th, 2020

A bit late on the end of year review, but a year is an arbitray construct of dilineated presence. Anyway.

It seems often too easy for me to forget everything that happens after the fact. I imagine it's the same for a lot of people. (Which is why I've started daily writing in a travel journal to reflect and document what I experience).

This year was packed with changes. Growth loss and gain. A lot happened.

Transitions

This year was dominated by transitions. The transition out of a marriage - and the subsequent redefining of self and what experiential life is without your partner. Also the transition from the US to expat moving form Texas to Portugal.

I’ve been in Portugal 5 months now, and it’s been a wild ride. I feel like I’m just now able to take a breath for a moment and settle in. I've just moved into a new apartment, I once again have flat mates - which I haven't had for maybe 8 years now. Oh the joys of being woken up by your flatmate's drunken ravings at at 4am as they crash around through the house.

I went with the cheapest option in downtown - really not bad at all. I've accepted that at the price I snagged for a room in downtown Lisbon it's bound to have some issues. Such as when it rains the roof leaks straight on my bed - which was a fun surprise to wake up to in the middle of the night.

Portugal was a big move, I’ve always wanted to travel and be location-independent. I always imagined that would be to Spain - for some reason. But we ended up coming to Portugal - for some reason. Who knows why things turn out the way they do.

But I love Portugal and the people and the architecture and the weather and the language and the food and the pace of life. It's fantastic. But I never intended to make a permanent move here, so in a few months I'll be leaving and travelling for about five months through North-Africa and then the Balkans.

Bouldering

It feels like a life-time ago, but this year I also discovered my love for bouldering. Back when I was in Denton, Texas, me and my buddy Dan would go and climb a few times a week. There's something magical about being completely immersed in the moment - using your mind and body fully to navigate these bouldering problems - that's so satisfying.

It was a completely different experience to get into my body and physically use it and challenge myself. It’s also been a great way to focus on the present. I’d imagine like other sports, it’s hard to be thinking about that deadline at work when you’re trying to make that reach to the top.

The physical nature, and mind strategy of climbing is very appealing to me and lets me use parts of my bring and body that I normally don’t get to just working on the computer all day or working out. The strategy, and physical exertion needed to climb and improve compliment each other.

I haven't been bouldering in Lisbon yet which has been kind of a bummer - transportation to the two gyms in Lisbon is about an hour to there on public transit. But I will, and I'd love to make a compilation of different bouldering gyms I go to during my travels.

Products

At the beginning of the year I also set the goal of launching a product idea each month. If you kept up at all with the progress, you’ll know this didn’t happen. For the first few months I stuck to launching monthly, but once things started progressing towards the move to Portugal, the focus on the product launches fell off and didn’t return. I launched three product ideas (one a re-launch of my podcast business), and got about half way through the fourth product idea.

While I wish I had been able to focus on following through with my goal more, I really enjoyed having the challenge, especially the first third of 2019 when I was fully engaged with it.

I am interested in pursuing a similar product-focused goal in 2020, but likely with different constraints and a focus on fewer ideas with more time spent on each.

Despite not working directly on new product ideas the last half of the year, I have maintained the ideation phase, and have my next product idea midway through the planning phase the last month or so.

I’m more excited for this idea than all of the previous, and think I am slowly moving more in the direction of areas I’m excited about, believe I’m well positioned for, and am passionate about how it can solve real problems that I see and experience. Look for more on this in 2020!

Personal Growth

Another major aspect of 2019 was a focus on personal development toward the latter half of the year. I started going to therapy online, and this has been the catalyst of so much personal growth and exploration. I really couldn’t recommend it more.

Having a professional that can help talk you through your personal difficulties, insecurities, negative patterns and blindspots has been incredibly helpful. I use Betterhelp, which is reasonably priced, compared to other options (in th US at least) and is fully remote. They can also do video or phone calls, but I tend to gravitate toward the written communication.

When I walk down the cobblestoned streets of lisbon, or take an espresso in a neighborhood cafe, I still get hit with moments of awestruck by the fact that I’m actually here almost 5000 miles away from Texas.

If I was to sum up 2019 in one word, it would be transition. It was a trying year, vibrantly (too bright to look at) beautiful and painful. And in those times of turmoil, trials and loss were moments of awe, self-discovery and self-love.

Life is so ephemeral and fleeting, and each moment brings something new and the unexpected, I’m grateful to feel the fullness of the breathtaking highs and lows and am ready to greet each day of 2020 with no-expectations other than being present and aware of each moment as it comes.

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