Reflecting is good.
I don’t see any reason to live in the past and worry about the things that have already happened. But, I see four values of looking back on the past for brief moments.
1. There is a lot to be learned from what has happened to us
I can look at past moments and see how I felt or how I acted, and that increases my own self awareness. I can see ways in which I act contrary to my beliefs/values and I can try to pinpoint why that is. I see all of these past experiences that I have had as a constellation of stars and they all connect to paint a picture of who I am and why I act in the ways that I do.
It’s crazy actually how little many of us (often including myself) really understand ourselves.
2. There is a lot to be grateful for
Looking back is also a reminder of all that we have and have been able to have. This includes things, people in our lives, opportunities, experiences, etc. Gratitude is important because we often forget all the amazing things we have.
3. Past experiences make us happy
Reminiscing about fun moments puts us back in those situations and adds joy to life. I’m undecided about how frequently one should do this.
I also find it to be an interesting idea to think about the value of an experience as not only the benefit you get in that specific moment, but all of the happiness that it brings you later on. For example, if I go skydiving, then I am going to get some high level of value for the experience. But, you could argue that the value doesn’t stop there since each time that I look back on that moment, it will bring me more happiness. If you get blackout drunk, on the other hand, you might have a lot of fun in the moment, but you will not be able to look back and remember anything that happened.
4. Positive reflection leads to more self-love
People often don’t give themselves enough credit or love for all that they do and work on. Reflecting on our accomplishments allows us to appreciate all of the work that we have done. I hope to not come across as self-righteous or anything like that below. I just want to appreciate the things I have done and remember to be proud instead of always worried about being better or climbing the next mountain. Living in and enjoying the journey is so important.
So, as I reflect back to 2017, I cannot help but say that I have learned, that I am grateful, and that I have many experiences to look back on with joy.
I originally created a bulleted list, and still have it lying around. Thought it was a good exercise to really look at the magnitude, breadth and depth of what I did over the past year.
For the purposes of this, I decided to just put the 10 things I am most proud of over the past year — not in any order. Including a few fun photos too :)
The reason I’m including this list in a public post is as follows:
- I consider myself extremely fortunate, but I am no smarter or different than the average person. Anything (or everything) that I have done over the past year could be replicated by anyone else
- Maybe there’s something I did that someone reading this will be interested in talking about. I’m always around. Send me an email! (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- I have a larger ego than I would like, so sometimes I like to talk (or write) about things I have been up to
- Writing and narrowing down this list definitely gave me a bunch more gratitude for all that I am fortunate to have
- I found a much deeper level of love and appreciation for music (recently been listening to some awesome guys like Tom Misch, Stevie Wonder, and Pink Floyd)
- I read about 30 books (full reading list here), many of which were longer (including two 700+ pagers!). My favorites were The Fountainhead and On The Move. Einstein, Sapiens, Fight Club were also amazing. Probably most proud of finishing the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I also wrote summaries of each book I’ve read since May.
- I started writing something on Medium every week since last May and have written 35 weeks in a row with 57+ total articles
- I tried two big physical challenges. Polyphasic sleep — 9 days sleeping 3 hours a night with three 20-minute naps during the day, and, at another point, I went 72 hours straight without eating.
- I did a lot of traveling & exploring to fun new cities and places. Israel, New York, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Crater Lake, San Francisco, Lake Tahoe, Aspen. I also went to a few jazz bars, a midnight, full-moon, bike and bar-hopping night in St. Louis, I tried surfing, did a half-marathon and ate lots of good dairy free desserts
- I switched out of the business school at WashU and changed my major to Economics, and I get to go abroad while still graduating a semester early
- I find myself having a lot more empathy and love for people
- I participated in the EdSurge Independent Cohort as a fellow over the summer and as a leader this past fall. Excited about the things we are working on.
- I spent 3 months interning at a company in SF called Siftery and lived with three good friends out there over the summer. I learned a lot about digital marketing that I have been able to bring with me back to school
- I went on more dates and spent more time with girls (many as friends) this past fall than I probably have my entire college experience combined
First ever Marathon!
I got my photo taken at forest park and ended up in the St. Louis Post Dispatch (lol)
Thanks to everyone that played a part in my 2017. It was awesome. Super super fortunate and grateful and lucky to have all that I do.
Excited for the journeys ahead