(If you’re not familiar with yearly themes, read my 2021 post).
When I was brainstorming a theme for next year, I didn’t have a destination in mind so I focused on the direction. I made a list of what I wanted more and less of in my life. Here’s that list:
I want more:
- Running and lifting
- Fixing team dysfunction
- Adventures with kids
- Time without kids
- Fixing house stuff
- Mindful relaxation (not laziness/procrastination, but planned relaxation time)
- Actual cooking
I want less:
- Sitting around because of laziness
- Mindless Twitter, Reddit, HN
- In the weeds tech planning
- Wasted weekends
- Kids staring at screens
- Politeness and insincerity
- Stupid turkey sandwiches and canned soup
A pattern emerged. I want experiences. Action. Memories. Escapades! I want adventures.
Running up and back down a mountain is an adventure. Fixing a broken team is an adventure. Learning to install a shower door is an adventure. Cooking a legit meal for my family is an adventure. Spending the morning working at an outdoor cafe is an adventure. Building a cushion tower with my boys is an adventure. Trying a new restaurant with Nancy is an adventure. Saying what I think when it makes me uncomfortable is an adventure.
Browsing Reddit because I’m procrastinating is not an adventure. Being polite instead of authentic is not an adventure. Watching my kids spend the weekend with Phineas and Ferb is not an adventure. Making another freaking turkey sandwich is not an adventure. Sitting in my office chair forty hours a week is not an adventure. And letting worry and fear guide my actions is sure as hell not an adventure.
I’m not telling you to make the world better, because I don’t think that progress is necessarily part of the package. I’m just telling you to live in it. Not just to endure it, not just to suffer it, not just to pass through it, but to live in it. To look at it. To try to get the picture. To live recklessly. To take chances. To make your own work and take pride in it. To seize the moment.
And if you ask me why you should bother to do that, I could tell you that the grave’s a fine and private place, but none I think do there embrace. Nor do they sing there, or write, or argue, or see the tidal bore on the Amazon, or touch their children. And that’s what there is to do and get it while you can and good luck at it.Joan Didion
It doesn’t mean I’m not allowed to relax. It’s just that I want relaxation to be intentional and planned. Sitting around and mindlessly skimming Hacker News is no adventure. But setting aside time to read a good book and drink some dope boba tea? Movie night with my wife? Those are relaxation adventures.
So that’s my theme. When I have a choice to make, I’ll choose the path that brings experiences and memories. I’ll choose adventure. Let’s see where that takes me.
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