2018 : My least favourite year

Well that didn’t work. In a previous post dated 3 Jan 2018 (a year ago!) I said something about continuing to write on my other website: adriantuazonkids.com.

It never eventuated.

I think I forgot. What have I done in the past 12 months?

2018 was a difficult year. It felt like a blur. I was all over the place. I didn’t have focus.

I think that I can only be “productive” (and happy) when I’m working on a project. I did a few. Here’s a list:

  • SOGIE/Siya Project (working title) - a photographic essay on Transgender/gender diverse Filipinos. Incomplete and ongoing. Yet to publish. We applied for a number of arts grants and were unsuccessful. We attempted to start a new grant application but we didn’t follow through. I do need to go back to the Philippines to capture more stories. The time we spent there in 2017 was too brief. Two weeks was not enough.
  • Piano lessons (self-taught) - I played for 2 months then stopped.
  • Auslan (Australian Sign Language) - I did 95% of Certificate IV. I just needed to hand in my Research Project and log book. I still haven’t done it.
  • Digital content and project management for The Equality Project (volunteer) - ongoing
  • Started a new business idea with my sister : Filipino restaurant pop-up - it was an idea
  • Started a new business idea with a friend : Luxury gifts for men - still an idea
  • Did a soft-launch of my personal branding photography business - I haven’t done any promos yet
  • I think 2018 was also the year I launched adriantuazonkids.com - I haven’t done anything further on it

Notice how the list above includes a lot of incomplete tasks? What did I achieve?

I promised myself to read more than 10 books but I only managed 5 or so and that includes a couple of audio books. I haven’t finished reading Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari because I started reading Daring Greatly by Brené Brown. Some 3 months later I haven’t finished either book!

I’m not a good reader of books. My son will read 3-5 novels in one day if he can. He has read both of Yuval Noah Harari’s books: Sapiens and Homo Deus. He as also read numerous series of novels (some I should be reading) totalling over 10,000 pages in the past year.  He is 12.

On that note, 2018 was a wonderful year to witness my son embrace high school. He has grown up so much. Literally. It was so weird to drop him off at the new school on his first day. I felt sad, excited and happy all at the same time.

As a parent, we all want the best for our child and I am endlessly trying to find ways to add inspiration in my son’s life to make sure he makes the right decisions. It is such a precarious balance between control and freedom. I am never in the middle - I’m either one way or the other. But fingers crossed, my constant too-ing and fro-ing will even itself out.

So what I’ve found is that I become less productive or I should say less effective (as I’ve just learnt that this is the better word to use. I can’t remember which podcast I heard this from.) — if I’m doing too many things at once. I lose focus. My time and energy are spread out so thinly I struggle to do anything well. In addition, I drop the ball on possibly more important things like my photography business.

Did 2018 make me happy? At times, yes. But more often than not it made me feel anxious about my life. It was also tough financially. I didn’t do as much paid work as I normally do. I did more stuff for other people - for free. All of a sudden I remembered that I had a mortgage and bills to pay. Crap. And I’m nearing retirement! Well not really. But I want to retire in less than 20 years. How do I achieve that if I spent the last 12-14 months doing a whole lot of nothing? In 2018, I kind of went backwards.

That’s not entirely true. The “whole lot of nothing” bit I mean. I did achieve some great things I can be proud of. I helped run a conference. That’s no minor feat. I managed to travel overseas twice with my family and shot some personal work on film. I also grew closer to my sister and helping my 70 year old mother move to her new home was a blessing.

And I was a parent.

So what now? I’m moving on. I’m writing down all the things I want to do and not do. I’ll have a plan (like I always do) but this time I want to return to some things that worked. That includes re-starting my “Monday Starter” posts.

Ever since I stopped writing my “Monday Starter” posts each week - I became more blah about the way I do things. When I was undertaking that exercise in 2017 - I didn’t think much of its effect on my life. It was homework that made me stop and think about the stuff I had been consuming during the week. And it wasn’t just any kind of stuff - it was artful content. At least that’s what I thought. Movies, books, quotes, things that moved me. I need to do that again and continue to do so as long as possible.

So in 2019 I will restart my Monday Starter posts. I will call them simply “Monday Starter : ##”. The next one will be #53. Let’s see if I can do this up to #1500+. I’ll be in my 80s by then.

Next I will have a closer look at what’s important to me. And only do that work. 2019 will be a year of minimising tasks and doing important work only. That’s it.

As I get older I want a simpler life. How do I achieve this? It might take me 12 months to work it out. That’s ok. I have time.

Everyone celebrates the beginning of each year with “Here’s to a wonderful/fantastic/prosperous/eventful/amazing etc (enter year)!” or something to that effect.

Here’s what I want to say: “Here’s to an even more challenging year ahead!”

xo Adrian

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