Birthday musings and end of year thunkings

cause I couldn't not share this
Today is my birthday.
And each birthday I take a moment to reflects on what I've leant that year (yep, it's one of those posts).

That my birthday is also the eve of a new year adds a level of gravitas to the proceeding, while also being a handy marker of time. Some years they are small lessons, with gentle instruction or subtle meaning. Other years, it's a punch in the nuts.

2016 was a punch in the nuts year. After the big year that was 2015, to have another year of big, well, let's just say, I'm looking forward to a year of dull in 2017. If the past two years were a novel, the editor would have told me to cut the number of plot points because damn. Yeah, big. The past few years have been pretty full on, both professionally and personally, but it wasn't all bad. There's been a lot of good this year too. Just big.

So as 2016 comes to a close, and I celebrate another year of existence, here's what I have taken away from the year that was and will take into the year that will be.
  • Happiness is not the end game. Some people are sunshine and roses and unicorns. I am not one of those people, and for a long, long time I've struggled with the idea that somehow happy was what I should be. I find joy in new challenges, in new experiences, and in learning which is hard, confronting and at times a giant pain in the arse. Focusing on meaning, rather than happy, is a big lesson. I don't have to be happy every moment, but as long as I find meaning in what I do, that makes me happy. The Oatmeal perfectly articulates this concept, and comes with a serious of hilarious analogies and pictures, so win!
  • Don't be afraid to ask. Seems simple, but seriously, asking has previously been a challenge for me. The past couple of years, this year particularly, has made me a lot less wary of 'no' and more embolden by the mere possibility of 'yes'. And I got some damn good yes' this year. 
  • Failure is underrated. Being an overachiever as a child and teen, I've always had a tricky relationship with failure. It's not fun generally. Some of those 'big' things of the past two years included failures, professionally and personally, and I sound like a yogi saying it, but I have learnt so damn much from my failures this year. Failure has taught me about trust, about leadership, about economics, about communication. More than that, the way you respond to failure is a lesson in of itself. In my work at QWC I've engaged a lot with startup and innovation culture over the past few years, and they have a really interesting relationship to failure - it's part of the process, and is always an opportunity for learning. Startups treat failure as part of development, and often just pick straight up and continue on. One app developer I spoke with had two separate companies fail within a two year period and was already working on her third. Yes, she was rattled, she was deterred...but momentarily. Failing well is a skill and one I'm looking to work on. (For more reading on failing - cause why wouldn't you - check out this, this and this)
I had some crazy highs and equally hard lows, and even at its worst, I am still here (cue giant musical number).
And 2017 is not going to be simple, but there is some awesome coolness coming in the new year:
  • Gold Coast Film Festival: I can't talk about details, but holy shit, it's going to be awesome, guys.
  • Japan: I am going to Japan. By myself. For no other reason that I suck it, Turk. Also, cherry blossoms and jpop.
  • Dixie Chicks: I am ridiculously excited by this. That is all
  • Writing: I've been developing some new projects that I'm particularly excited by, plus a new cohort of writing peeps who I'm really looking forward to working with.
  • Space: this is the big one. 2017 offers a wealth of space, to focus on my health, work on projects I'm passionate about, cultivate the life I want. I'm ridiculously fortunate to be able to take this time, and I'm very aware of it.

So bring it on 2017, cause I will take it.


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