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Day 483 of 1827: 2013 Wrap-Up, Part 2

Day 483 of 1827: 2013 Wrap-Up, Part 2

So I’ve been getting my hair cut at this place in Providencia for a couple of months now.  They do a great job and are very friendly, but I forgot to find out what the place is called.

The other day while I was walking past, I finally caught the name.

It’s called Lovely Woman.

Which just goes to show you; I’m so manly, I have to have my hair cut at a ladies’ beauty salon just to balance it out.

But enough comparing myself to Chuck Norris.  Let’s get back to the 2013 wrap-up.

  1. Eliminate everything from my life that I am not passionate about: WOOT!  No doubt about it; this one’s been a massive success.  I got rid of every personal and professional relationship that does not add value to my life, and I’ve significantly upped my standards for the kinds of people and opportunities I connect with in the future.


    • I’ve freed up a tremendous amount of time and energy.  Life’s too short; why spend it with people that you don’t like?
    • It’s improved the quality of my other relationships.  Dealing with negative and even neutral relationships was incredibly draining.  It’s not just the time and energy that I spent interacting with these people; it also sapped my motivation and enthusiasm for my more positive relationships.  As I dropped negative people from my life, I found that I was enjoying spending time with the positive people more than ever.


    • I walked away from a lot of money.  Like, a LOT of money.  There are a quite a few people who will tell you (and quite enthusiastically so) that I made some really stupid business decisions last year.  And… they’re probably right.  But in each of those cases, making the “not stupid” business decision would have required me to spend weeks or even months doing things that contradict my values.  No, thanks.
    • Some of the confrontations were pretty unpleasant.  I can’t think of a more fun way to spend an afternoon than to call up my business partners and tell them that I’m leaving the company just a few weeks before the first product launch; can you?


    Imagine a supertanker – a gigantic vessel capable of tremendous power.  Now imagine that the supertanker is chained to a tiny ice cube that floats behind it.  Even though the supertanker is pulling with all of its incredible might, it can barely move.

    If you only look at the surface, you would have to assume that the supertanker must be broken.  The motor must be defective, or maybe some idiot on board hit the anchor release — there’s got to be something wrong with this enormous ship if it can’t pull such a teeny little chunk of ice along!

    It’s only after you cut the chain and set the ship free that you realize that the little ice cube was merely the tip of a continent-sized iceberg submerged below the surface — and the fact that the supertanker managed to make any progress at all is a testament to its phenomenal strength and capabilities!

    Let me tell you something; when I cut the chain anchoring my supertanker to the iceberg, the resulting rebound was so strong, the entire crew had to be duct-taped to the deck to keep them from flying off the ship!

    Ok, the metaphor kind of breaks down there, but the point is, this is one of the single best decisions I have ever made, and if you are struggling with negative relationships, I strongly recommend you give yourself some distance to take a more objective look and decide if they belong in your life.

  2. Learn a new physical skill: Mmmmmmmm not so much.  I did make a few attempts here and there to learn a new skill, but I didn’t stick to anything long enough to build up any kind of proficiency (let alone enjoyment!).


    • Understanding my choices taught me about myself.  Even though I kept the goal vague, I did give myself a few specific options:  snowboarding, Krav Maga and salsa.  But, of the three, only one of them was motivated by my own enjoyment.

      I wanted to learn Krav Maga because I still felt a little insecure being out of my comfort zone.  I thought (unconsciously) that maybe if I could defend myself from external demons, I’d be able to face my own internal demons.  But projecting your anxieties into the world doesn’t make them easier to fight; it just distracts you from where the real battle is being fought.

      Meanwhile, Salsa dancing… um, how to put this delicately… yeah, I’m not exactly a “ladies’ man”, and learning some fancy dance moves ain’t gonna change that.  This is every bit as true now as it was back in Colombia.

      Now snowboarding, that’s actually something I really want to learn how to do.  There’s still a little bit of false-selfy status-seeking buried in that desire, but I do still want to try it someday…

      … which is exactly why I spent so much time in flat-as-a-pancake Paraguay and the entire summer in arid Santiago.  Hmmm… something tells me that this goal wasn’t really a priority last year.


    • I kind of set myself up to fail here.  Honestly, I made this goal too vague.  How do you stick to a goal like “perhaps dancing (e.g., salsa), sports-related (e.g., snowboarding) or self-defense (e.g., Krav Maga)”?  Yeah, didn’t think so.
    • I didn’t pick skills based on what I would enjoy.  I expounded on this in the “Wins” section above (because by golly I needed something to put in that list!), but it’s worth repeating.  Every single one of the skills that I chose for this goal was to some extent motivated by wanting to look cool.  Down that path, happiness lies not.


    Something that has really disappointed me about my Five Years Abroad so far is that I haven’t taken nearly enough advantage of being in foreign countries.  I feel like I’ve been doing way too much living abroad and not enough traveling.

    And if you’re scratching your head wondering how I can say that after all the adventures I’ve had, then that should give you an idea of just how awesome it is to be a permanent traveler 😛

    But seriously, although taking classes and learning a new physical skill might not be the way, I really want to start doing more activities that challenge me physically.

    I haven’t gone camping yet.  I haven’t gone on (very many) weekend excursions.  I haven’t spent nearly enough time riding motorcycles.  I haven’t gone on any jungle hikes.  I haven’t ridden an ATV yet.  I haven’t gone zip-lining, bungee jumping, nor horseback riding — despite multiple opportunities to do so almost everywhere I’ve been so far.

    In short, I’ve got the “permanent” part down; now it’s time to live up to the “traveler” part!

  3. Six-pack abs by December 31, 2013:  Speaking of shallow status-seeking…. Ok, we really need to talk.




    You know, I used to be really into exercise.  I used to love going to the gym, racking up points on Fitocracy… I even bought special weight-lifting shoes (that I gave to a world-champion Icelandic power lifter before I left the US, but that’s another story).

    I’m sure at some point I will get back into it, but I really have no idea when that will be.

    Maybe once I’ve gained more self-knowledge, I’ll feel more motivated to work on my physical fitness.  Maybe once I’ve settled down somewhere for an extended period of time, I’ll have enough stability in my life to maintain a gym habit.  Maybe I’ll get struck by lightning, and my brain will get rewired into Mr. Muscles mode.

    That last one is pretty unlikely.  But not implausible.

And there you have it.  My post-mortem of 2013.

Before saying goodbye to 2013 forever (and getting on with my goals for 2014), I think it’s also important to look back at all the wins and accomplishments – planned and unplanned – from last year.

Plus a few other things that I can’t mention here for various reasons, but they were pretty awesome, too!

And just for fun, a few interesting numbers:

Not too shabby.
2014 goals are coming.  Stay tuned!
padlock attached to bridge with the words,
Goodbye, 2013.  I’ll never forget you.

Thailand is coming!  Be sure to like Five Years Abroad on Facebook for exclusive updates and photos!

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