Reflections on 2012

Wow. What a crazy and amazing year it has been; without a doubt my best year to date.

Because 2012 was the first year (half-year, really) of this site I don’t have any previous “annual review” from last year to reference and see where I stand relative to it. This’ll be more of a reflection on the progress I’ve made in 2012, both for the site and with personal growth. I’ll start with writing and site stuff, since that’ll be quicker.

Ze Blog in 2012

The blog started out slowly after I finally settled on a domain name. The good news was that over the course of the year I became more and more consistent with publishing new posts, and those posts (usually) were better than the previous ones. I’m told my last “real” post was my best writing by far, so I’m definitely on the right track. Now the challenge is to keep raising the bar, even if that means getting hit in the face with it from time to time (what? I can’t dodge everything!). Anyhow, here are my favorite posts from 2012:

Personal growth and adventures

2012 was a huge spike in terms of personal growth for me, both in terms of new things I’ve done and positive habit/lifestyle changes. Just looking at the list I created while reflecting on 2012, it was much much bigger than the list I could make for the past 3-4 combined, easily. Here are some of the highlights, ordered roughly by how much of an impact they’ve had on me so far. There’s plenty more than this, but I don’t want to drown you in lists. :p

Easily first was the wonderful nine month relationship I had (it began in January, so it tracks oddly well with the year). It was my first relationship and it taught me a massive amount (not just because it was my first); it contributed directly, or was a catalyst for, growth in every facet of my life. I can’t come up with any serious negative to it besides the fact that it ended. As much as that hurt, good things still came out of it. The Quest would never exist if it hadn’t happened. Dealing with the breakup also taught me great lessons about the power of vulnerability and how to pull myself back into a positive mindset (my method: moving/playing around and spending time in nature). Now with some distance from the events I feel grateful for the entire experience.

The Switzerland trip and volunteering experience was a huge, crazy, leap in its entirety. Flying to Europe wasn’t a big deal, but having to spend several months living and working in a predominately French speaking country was an enormous challenge. I could speak a little when I arrived, but I’d hardly call it competent at even a basic level. All the other volunteers I met there spoke reasonably fluent French, so I got used to feeling incompetent all the time. Hey, at least it was humbling, even if following dinner conversations made my head hurt half the time. All the fumbling around eventually paid off though, by the end of the two months I was able to follow the contours of the conversations and participate without pausing after every other word. Not fluent by any stretch of the imagination, but leagues ahead of where I started.

I’m fuzzy on exactly when this started, but I began a gradual experiment with minimalism at the beginning of the year - actually, funny coincidence: those two and Colin Wright were who inspired me to try minimalism in the first place, and I actually met them right after I got to D.C. in November, weird. It’s hard to convey here how much stuff I had started the process with, particularly books, but trust me, it was a friggin’ lot. By the time I left North Carolina on a cross-country trip to San Diego with my brother I was down to a backpack and a small suitcase. Just my laptop, video camera, clothes, two books, and a pair of olympic rings. Compare that to just my desk Desk setup in 2012”)in January 2012 (cinder blocks = amazingly cheap standing desk, by the way). Having just two bags to my name probably sounds totally nuts and, but it’s liberating to have only the things I absolutely need and the ability to go anywhere in under 20 minutes of packing. Now I wouldn’t suggest going _this _minimalist to most people, but it’s much easier to focus on what really matters with less the extraneous crap cluttering our lives.

I became a MovNat Certified Trainer in June. I was waiting for the certification to show up since I first heard about it three years ago and am proud to be among the first group of MCTs. It was amazing to be able to learn from Erwan, Vic, Brian, and Kellen personally over the course of four days. Thanks indirectly to the cert I had the opportunity to help with a 2-day MovNat workshop in Birmingham, UK with Joseph, where picked up even more new skills.

Brief, but has to be mentioned: I got lucky and had the chance to train one-on-one with S├ębastien Foucan in London. The experience still feels surreal (like much of the European trip) and I picked up some powerful ideas from just that single session. I can’t wait to be near enough to learn from him regularly.

To top off the year I won scholarship from the $100 Change program, which is an entrepreneurial scholarship of sorts. More importantly than winning it, the application process for it has helped me precisely articulate and cement my ideas. I’ll be gradually tweaking and re-doing some background pages and of course posting more, so you’ll see what I mean in the coming weeks and months. As part of the scholarship I made a little video, which was quite a challenge to make fit into 90 seconds. It lacks a little context here, but I like it, so here it is:

Onto 2013

I’m not a fan of New Years resolutions and have never truly used them myself, and I’m not changing that this year. My big goals are already set for the foreseeable future and those have already been in place for a long time. For now my focus is on gaining the ability to legally work in Europe (Brussels is still pending); once that happens the Quest will take center stage. At the same time I’ll be writing, teaching, and making videos as I have already been, except better, of course.

Now what am doing specifically for 2013 is focusing on remaining determined to reach my goals and make gradual day-to-day progress with everything. It’s nothing fancy, just a way to maintain a particular mindset that will help me persist through the inevitable challenges (bureaucracy I’m looking at you) that will arise.

Now time to see what 2013 brings and make it an even more epic year than 2012 was.

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