Today I learned, that one of the best things I could do on the eve of a new year is forgive myself for inaction in the previous year. In this short essay, I explore regret and my antidote for inaction in the year that I turn 30 years old.
In my effort to get ready for 2018, I finally decided to try out the Year Compass workbook to close out the year and plan out the next one. While I was making my way through 2017, I noticed a pattern.
As I was writing down accomplishments and good things that happened during the year, I kept coming back to regret and disappointment. I felt I did not try hard enough or even attempt things I set out to do this year. This lack of action was especially true of one passion project I started at the end of 2016 and wanted to really push in 2017.
The failed hero
This project was called Daily Hero. It was supposed to be a video blog discussing the impact of games and pop culture on our daily lives. I put out a couple videos in late 2016 to early 2017, and then I stopped. I even designed a Daily Hero tabletop game to track daily habits and level up a fictional character. I put out the first prototype of the game and after some play testing and critical feedback, I ended up never updating it. Throughout the rest of the year, this project loomed over me.
Every time I saw the abandoned Daily Hero Facebook page or whenever somebody mentioned Daily Hero to me, I cringed and blew it off as something to do in the future. That future never came and here I am writing this as the year 2017 ends and year 2018 begins. Now, I am ready to finally close the Daily Hero chapter and move on. After all, the year 2018 will be special for me.
I will turn 30 in a couple of months, which I always thought would be a major milestone. When I was in my teens, I imagined myself being a father by now and having some sort of corporate job doing important things. I was mostly right.
My first child Paula was born about seven months ago and I am happy that I can support her and my beloved wife thanks to my job as an IT consultant. Although I do not work for a corporation directly, I have worked and continue to work for corporations on various projects. I even established a small consulting and events business called Space Unicorn with my wife several years ago.
For all of this, I am incredibly grateful to everybody who has helped me get to where I am right now. It is GRATITUDE, which helps me stay above water whenever sadness or depression sets it. But it does not help all of the time.
Saying farewell to 2017
As I reflect on the past 30 years, I feel a lot of regret. I regret not doing things differently and not starting a Youtube blog more than a decade ago when I first got the idea to start video blogging my adventures as a student. I regret not staying longer with projects like Daily Hero to give them a chance to thrive. And I regret emotionally overeating throughout my life. So when the Year Compass workbook asked me to say farewell to the last year, my instant reaction was to write:
Sorry that I failed you and sabotaged your health and Daily Hero. Sorry 😦
At first, I thought that doing the workbook exercise would just help me plan out a better year. I did not think, that I would end up apologizing to myself.
I had to let go of the baggage I was carrying with me. But at the same time, I could not just forget about I went thourgh. Everything I went through, has made me who I am today.
Sounds like a cliche, right? But stay with me, please… I can’t just let the past die.
Let the past die. Kill it if you have to.
That’s the only way to become what you were meant to be.
This advice comes from Kylo, the troubled antagonist in the latest Star Wars film, who lets his actions be directed by emotions and fear. He strikes before he thinks, which projects power but on the inside makes him vulnerable and weak.
His actions suggest that internally he is also struggling with his past, refusing to take control of his actions and refusing to admit that he can choose a less destructive path.
The antidote to inaction
Although it might seem counter-intuitive, I am convinced that by deploying discipline, struggling and appreciating wins, I will feel more satisfied by the end of the year. When I fail, I will get back up, regroup and continue where I left off.
Regret is poison. DISCIPLINE and GRATITUDE will be my antidote.
To kick off 2018, I am starting a three week challenge to post daily to this blog about anything that I find exciting. After these three weeks, I will review and plan my next steps. The goal is to have fun, follow through and finally start putting more of my thoughts and weirdness out into the world.
And I promise, I won’t be too preachy. I tend to do that sometimes.
The picture in the cover is by Yuuza on Deviantart.