It's been a tumultuous year of ups-and-downs if I'm being truly honest.
But overall things are always moving in an upwards direction for me. And I honestly love where I'm at. There's nothing I would change at all about how I have lived any of my life so far. That's why I want to take the time and review what I've done this year, so I can reflect and move on towards even greater things.
Here are some of the highlights of what I've accomplished this year and what I'm most proud of.
- Wrote 130+ blog posts
- Launched my new website
- Read about 15 books on my own accord
- Spent five months studying at the University of Melbourne in Australia
- Applied for and got into Praxis, a 12-month entrepreneurship program (that I unfortunately had to deny)
- Landed my first internship at UAV Systems Association
- Started working a part-time student job to make extra money
- Wrote out daily thoughts at least 98% of the year
- Went scuba diving at the Great Barrier Reef
- Made some really good friends from all around the world while studying abroad (Japan, Singapore, Switzerland, etc.)
- Started an Instagram and have been enjoying it as a way to express and share my thoughts and travels
- Filmed and edited seven videos
- Exercised nearly every day (25 burpees every morning) along with my 3-times-a-week powerlifting regimen
- Traveled to Melbourne, Sydney, Cairns, New York City, Washington D.C., Hanoi, Bangkok, and Pattaya
- Played a whole season of intramural football with some good friends
- Co-wrote and helped produce a 60-page play and artistic experience
I've grown so much in my philosophies towards my responsibilities, how I interact with others, and the roles of school and government in my life. I've learned that it's easy to listen to good advice and say "of course that's true." But it's only when you experience some things that you can really start to internalize them.
Is this what growing up feels like?
Because I always feel like I'm at a point where I've got my shit together, but then there's new things that I learn every day that make me feel like "how did I get this far without knowing this?" Curiosity is one of the driving forces in my life: there's just so much I don't know, that it just motivates me to keep living in order to seek out these new things and bits of knowledge.
Hopefully my efforts towards becoming a better friend, brother, and son have paid off. Before, I've had the goal of wanting to just spend more time with people. But now, it's grown into figuring out how to deepen those relationships as much as possible.
One of my favorite memories this year was flying back to Los Angeles to help out with the play, and being surprised with a birthday party by the cast and production team. It was the first time that anyone had done that for me and I appreciated it so much more than I could express at the time.
I'm also appreciative that I got to see so many new places this year. Traveling in itself doesn't make me a happier person. It's amazing, it's fun, and I recommend that most people do it. But it definitely isn't required to be happy. What it does is give me new perspectives different from my own, an appreciation for what I have, and a chance to foster my ability to adapt in uncertain situations. In a similar way when I moved to California for school, I felt anxious in my move to Australia for my study abroad. Mentally, I really wasn't ready to leave the United States, but by trusting the fact that I could overcome any challenges that came my way, I went there and had one of the best times of my life.
My feelings towards education (and against college and the traditional schooling system) have become stronger and much more refined. I know exactly what college is to me and what it isn't. It helps me gain perspective and focus on the things that are really important in my life.
For 2016, my focus is going to be on getting at least 5,000 more readers to my blog, connecting with five good mentors, getting a summer-time internship, and following through on a business idea from beginning to end.
Hitting a 365 lb squat would be nice too. As would benching 225 and deadlifting 365. That would put me closer to joining the 1K club.
Thanks to everyone who has ever supported me emotionally, financially, or through clicks and likes. You've helped me skyrocket my growth to amazing levels this past year. I can't wait to work towards a better me next year as well.