Today is my twenty-fifth birthday and I wanted to take a moment to look back on the past year. I contemplated doing so around the new year, but I felt that my birthday always had more weight and I did not want this to feel like a resolution.
24, a year of growing
If I had to summarize the past year in a single word I'd land somewhere around growth. Much of the year was spent learning, reading, and reflecting on who I am, who I want to be, and what that meant going forward.
So much of my life was spent around a school and gaining an education and I realized that after graduating college I honestly missed that push to learn.
The majority of my time was spent falling back in love with reading. I discovered that insight and knowledge could be gleaned from people who spend far more of their time thinking about things I'd never considered. Books on character, intentionality, and developing good habits were the foundation that led me to reflect on how I want to shape my life.
I bought two Baron Fig notebooks, with the goal of carrying them constantly; for scribbling down a quick daily to do list or writing down a plan for a great idea. I don't separate these thoughts in my mind, and now I don't have them physically divided either.
Through a method of modified bullet journaling, I can now think much clearer about what I need to at the right time.
While learning about intentionality, I discovered the harm of infinity pools. Infinity pools as described by Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky:
Infinity Pools are apps and other sources of endlessly replenishing content. If you can pull to refresh, it's an Infinity Pool. If it streams, it's an Infinity Pool. This always-available, always-new entertainment is your reward for the exhaustion of constant busyness.
I've managed to reduce my phone screen time to around 50 minutes per day. Here are a few tactics I've adopted to get there.
- Social Media doesn't exist on my phone
- Only phone related notifications ie: Calls, Texts, and Alarms
- Safari disabled, and App Downloads are disallowed
My phone seems like it is in a constant state of Do Not Disturb that only allows information to reach me that I actively seek out. 50 minutes is still high in my mind, but I feel much better knowing that I am much more intentional about its usage.
A benefit to using my time more intentionally is that I am much closer to my family now, even if we have physically never been further apart. I look forward to the infrequent times a year that I get to see both of my siblings and my parents in one room. Each time makes me feel more at home.
Taylor and I have also gotten the chance to really communicate in person as well, we're closing in on two years of marriage this May – eight years together overall. I don't think we've ever been happier.
I spent time developing new and old skills:
- Photography: I bought a camera in the same fall I started college, I've probably taken more photographs since September of last year than I had until that point. I'll never take enough to fully grasp the form but I absolutely enjoy the process of trying.
- Web Development: I am just now calling myself a developer as well as a designer. It is difficult to know when you become knowledgeable enough to describe yourself as something, but I do so with the knowledge that I can now figure my way around most of the front end. (I still have much to learn, but I am proud of where I am)
- Marketing: In a general sense, learning to be a marketer has been a fluid transition from solely being a designer. Both disciplines are about communicating a story – one lends itself to data, while the other lends itself to visuals. Neither should be mutually exclusive.
Onward to 25
In my twenty-fifth year, I aim to keep learning. One of my struggles in the past has been to narrow my focus to a few select topics. Currently, I'm looking forward to
- Front End Web Development
- More Interactive Websites
- Art Direction - Especially for the Web
- Further solidify my knowledge of HTML and CSS
- Experiment with CMSs outside of Kirby and Wordpress
- Create a monthly writing habit
- Create and Edit some Video Content
- Informational Site on 2020 Electoral Candidates
- Explore the importance of roles and teamwork
Travel and Explore
- Visit at least 2 new places in the US
- More time outdoors
It's been a wonderful year, I'm grateful for all the people I got to experience it with.
Here's to beginning another!