Like most of my friends, I’m happy to see 2016 end because it reminded me of my own mortality (to have so many of the cultural icons of my lifetime lost in one year) and it crushed some of my natural optimism and faith in humanity.
That said, I like to start off as I plan to continue and I’m an optimistic person by nature, so I’ve been working to catalog a few of the things I loved about 2016 that I would like to expand on this year.
Black magic — I discovered some amazing authors and artists in the African American community in 2016 who inspired me to think more critically and justly and to celebrate the achievements of those who have often been overlooked and/or dismissed outright. From the vision of Ava DuVernay’s work in film (to say “13th” is eye-opening is a huge understatment) to Luvvie Ajayi’s humor in print (“I’m Judging You” manages to chastise and inform while you’re busy laughing at your own foibles), it’s clear that I’ve missed some critical pieces of American culture and look forward to filling in more gaps this year.
Semi-minimalism — We downsized our home in 2016 and got rid of about two-thirds of our belongings, but now that we’ve been in our apartment for six months, I’m seeing a lot more that has outlived its usefulness or joy. This year, we’ll continue to evaluate what comes into our home and where we spend our money so that we can reduce material consumption and focus our efforts on shared experiences.
Order — Once we got rid of most of our belongings, bringing order to our environment came much easier. We now have a clearly defined home for about 80% of what we own. This year will be refining another 10 percent.
Contribution — we were moved to support charitable organizations at a much higher level in 2016 than in previous years. This year, we will increase our financial support for those organizations who fight for equality and access.
Education — I refreshed my risk management, business law, business ethics and writing skills/knowledge in 2016. This year, I plan to learn some HTML coding skills and maybe even some podcasting (both for work).
Inspiration — I found dozens of new sources of inspiration (generally music and writing) in 2016 and will continue to expand on this area. It’s too easy to fall into the Facebook spoon-feeding, but I find it to be a less-than-inspiring way to spend my computer time. I’ll continue to move away from spending time on Facebook to more intentional sources that feed my soul, heart and mind.
How about you? What went well for you in 2016 that you’ll be expanding this year?