As 2016 beckons with promises of new hope for those who bungled, and continued success for the ones who flourished, I take this moment to put 2015 at the stand and do My Year In Review (or Annual Review) because beyond the set of pictures mindlessly selected by Facebook and as an obligatory fad, “2015: My Year In Review” is important as it places my year in the pedestal, subjecting it into my own scrutiny.
Have I lived my life towards happiness? Or did I simply existed?
Let’s find out…
WHAT MADE ME HAPPY IN 2015
How To Live A Happy Life: I was able to published two e-books this year, How To Live A Happy Life and the 14 Days Bucket List Challenge. The process of writing these books and the posts helped me realize a lot about happiness, life, and purposeful existence.
Photoshop: I wouldn’t say that I learn how to adeptly use Photoshop this year. I’ll just say I learn Photoshop as a requisite of blogging since I want beautiful typography for my images.
Career Shift: I left my blitzkrieg-phased job in the Metro last February for a more slower and relaxed one in an island.
Island Paradise: Did I already mentioned that I am currently living and working in an island paradise of unmatched beaut? (Plus, mouthwatering food to eat every now and then)
Financial Stability: I wouldn’t say that I achieved financial freedom or abundance this year, but I had become more stable financially now compared to last year.
Life Of A Multipotentialite: 2015 permitted me to live a life of a multipotentialite (polymath) by giving more time for me to invest on other self-development pursuits not necessarily related to work. I’ve been able to practice meditation, mindfulness, essentialism, body weight training, among others.
Positive Psychology: I became more into positive psychology this year. I experience the state of flow several times, I had lived numerous perfect days, and practiced gratitude whilst reaping its benefits.
My Bucket List: Of course, my bucket list had become a beacon for me this year. It guided me. Also, I truly love that I fathomed the rationale behind my bucket list journey the same time as 2015 is coming to an end.
Mother’s 50th Birthday: We (me, my mom, my younger brother, my sister, and his boyfriend) post-celebrated my mother’s 50th birthday by going to Cebu. It was a roller coaster ride, there were ups and downs during the trip but it was surely an experience! (Plus, I’ve been able to canyoneer and swim with whales)
Managing People: I was given the opportunity to manage people this year and it was very hard! Nonetheless, it’s a learning experience I’ll never forget.
New Friends: I made new friends this year! I really hope they’re for keeps. Of course, there are foes as well.
5-Year Relationship: I’ve been with my girlfriend for 5 years (six, this coming New Year’s day). I feel also that after almost six years (just four days shy), I am family – her family treat me as their own. I am very grateful for that. They’ve become my second home. She’s the one I’m with when I visited Art in Island, so I guess I can say that I’m a child when I’m with her.
WHAT MADE ME NOT-SO-HAPPY IN 2015
Family Time: The thing that really faltered this year is the time I spent with my family. Living in an island has its perks, but it also has its setbacks.
I’m grateful because: This setback made me cherish the precious moments I’m with family.
Connection To My Girlfriend: Another thing that made me not-so-happy in 2015 is the amount of connection with my girlfriend. First, like my family, I’m not giving her enough time because of where I work (and live) now. Second, we’re “drifting” into our own professional life more. Third, we’re “getting used to” us not around each other.
I’m grateful because: These same setbacks allows me to cherish the precious moments I’m with her. Plus, I’ve spent more time with her this year than my family since whenever I’m in the Metro, I stay in their place. Also, I think that there’s a great sense of maturity in our relationship, so I’m not worried even if we’re not seeing each other often.
Frenemies: I recently discovered that I have some “frenemies”. No problem with that! It just saddens me knowing this fact.
I’m grateful because: Even if they’re “frenemies”, they’re still friends as much as they are foes. I wish them nothing but success and happiness. I have nothing against them, I mean it.
Pernicious Culture: Okay, this is metaphorical but true. I’ll have my reservations with this one.
I’m grateful because: It’ll help me apply the 48 laws of power. Also, this is a good ground for me to practice my professional competence in OD and change management. As long as I’m seeing shrivel of hope, I’m fine and I’ll stay.
Habit Formation: My longest meditation streak is 10 days. I really encountered problems in forming long-standing habits not only on meditation but other life pursuits as well.
I’m grateful because: At the very least, I have time to form habits. My previous job didn’t allow me that.
Reading and Continuing Education: I should’ve read more than I did. But I’ve not been able to bring enough books here in the island. Also, I really wished to take up graduate studies in Psychology or take up Law.
I’m grateful because: I’ve learn that I really don’t want to be a lawyer (I’ll leave that to my girlfriend), I’m more in love with Psychology – Masters in Applied Positive Psychology in UPenn or Singapore; Industrial-Organizational Psychology in UP Diliman. I really wish I have the money!
Regression: Just recently (maybe a week ago), I’ve reverted back to my old pessimist persona. I would have regressed back and shoot all the life improvements I made on my self down the drain. I really thought I was going to be depressed (again).
I’m grateful because: I managed to avert whatever’s happening to me. Actually, writing this Year in Review really helped me a lot to bounce back. I guess I really have a stronger and more positive mindset now.
YEAR IN REVIEW: LESSONS LEARNED
Normally, Year in Review includes goals for the coming year, expectations, and things to change, among others. However, I’ll discuss my goals for 2016 on another article. Now, I focus on the lessons I learned this year.
Here they are:
The Purpose Of Life Is To Exist: This is the core of my life philosophy. Life’s purpose and meaning baffled me for a long time but now this life philosophy is my guide. This is my life’s meaning and I respect that yours could be different because there’s no one encompassing meaning. Life is a variety of meanings, it is something special and specific for each person. It could be spirituality, love, religion, happiness, pleasure, service and other conceivable and inconceivable constructs (words) that escape us. For me, life is about peerless existence.
Slow Is Good, So Is The Present: This year, living in an island where the days are short and the nights are long, I’ve learned to live slowly – very far from the fast-paced life I had in 2014. And slowness taught me something important; that most of the things I value doesn’t really have value at all, and those that I take for granted are the ones truly valuable. You see, you’ll realize a lot when you take it slow.
Another thing I’ve learned this year is the value of the present, it is what’s demanded to us by life – to live in the present moment, to do things with complete presence and consciousness. Our mind often wanders that we forget the true value and beauty of the now. Being in the present is bliss.
Invest In The Journey, Not In The Destination: The journey is what bring us happiness, not the destination. So we should invest more in the journey (process) not in the destination (outcome) because life’s created along the process of going to the destination and not by being at the destination itself. I’ve learned that life’s allure can be found along the journey. It’s where happiness is hiding, it is where it can be found.
In Life, Nothing’s Wasted: That’s the beauty of it, in life nothing’s wasted. If the purpose of life is to exist, then life is an accumulation of experiences wherein it can be right or wrong, success or failure, good or bad, and a whole lot of other binaries. However, in the end, it’s what gives life meaning – the spectrum of decisions we’ve done albeit correct, a mistake, mindless, or purposeful. It all adds up and teach us.
Gratitude Shows Us The Beauty of The World: Being thankful shows us the beauty of the world. By practicing gratitude on a daily basis, I’ve developed a new set of eyes on how to see the world. I can see the beauty even in the simplest things, and as I always put it “I see the beauty amidst the chaos”. Gratitude lets me focus on the positive aspects of life even during the most challenging moments. Gratitude has been one of the keys for me to live a happy life.
ENDING MY YEAR IN REVIEW
To end my year in review, I’ll share to you the most profound quote I’ve stumbled upon this year:
“Don’t live the same year 75 times and call it a life”
2015 has been a slow yet revealing year for me. I’ll be bold and say that I don’t have any regrets this year because I learn that I value experiences more than anything, that I am also a “wanderer”. It doesn’t matter if it’s grand or simple, love or heartbreak, pleasure or woe. What matters is that these are experiences that’ll define my existence. These’ll be my life, my legacy.
So, going back to the question whether I lived my life towards happiness or simply existed this year, I did both, I lived happily and I existed – although not simply but fully. I’ll make sure also that I’ll live fully and I’ll live happily. I’ll do my best to make it a worth life. I’ll kiss 2015 goodbye knowing that this is a year the same as others, full of experiences and full of life.
(Revisit my year with me, take a look at my articles for the year here.)
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