Deriving Resolutions for 2019

Alright I think it’s time to get to 2019 resolutions. So far what I did is a calendar assessment where I figured out what types of things I want to schedule into this coming year, and I also did a recap of of my 2018 resolutions to see how I landed on them.

The takeaway summary of the calendar assessment was to schedule in and prioritize: family time; traveling to cool cities with Melanie; prioritizing challenging activities with Melanie where we can encourage each other and feel successful, e.g. working out; going to art galleries especially the Chandran Gallery; doing more friend 1-1s; doing more double date couple hangouts; go to BJJ globetrotters; compete in BJJ tournaments; and go to more events focused on art theory, philosophy, thinking about thinking.

The takeaway for my 2018 recap was that I excelled in terms of my career in cryptocurrency; I epically failed at volunteering 1x a month; I epically failed at learning to cook, though I’m doing that now; I did okay at spending time with family but want much more; I succeeded at learning some of the leg locks game; I failed at traveling very much due to Compound; and I failed at developing patience, calm, and equanimity, which I want to jumpstart through a Vipassana in 2019… if I can find the time. Sigh.

I have a bunch of notes of things I wanted to consider when thinking about 2019 resolutions:

– How to deal with uncertainty, e.g. minimaxing regret (instead of maximizing happiness, minimize your maximum regret)

– Understanding why I even want to write every day

– Feeling uncreative

– Feeling like I’m not contributing to the world

– Understanding second-guessing vs. re-evaluating situations (related to uncertainty)

– Realizing I need GOALS in my life; that right now I don’t have a set of concrete goals for myself to achieve, and I function best and am happiest when I have projects to work on that I really care about

– Remember that life changes, whether those changes are under your control or not

– Envision what my life looks like in 1 year, but also 5, 10, and 30 years

– Peeling back the curtain on the human condition (ok, ambitious)

– Doing a vipassana

– Volunteering again

– See the good in people and your relationships with them, NOT the bad

– Literally everything in society is build on the desire to accumulate money. It’s a rate race of accumulating with no end. Everyone just wants more over time. And social status is based on the ability to accumulate wealth which feeds back on itself. Capitalism is just everyone out there trying to build new things that capture wealth

– Master your emotions

– Resourcefulness

– Emotions lead to intentions lead to actions create karma

– Everything you know is made up in your mind

Okay, so what jumps out to me as resonant themes in that group? Well first maybe I should do a quick brainstorm of other things I might want to add to that list, since that was just collected sort of randomly as thoughts popped into my head and I never did a super intentional list of things I might want to address in 2019…

– Financial position (want more money. Who doesn’t. Ironic given some of what I wrote above)

– Want to definitely prioritize family time

– Definitely absolutely want to find some inner peace. Thing is I KNOW what inner peace feels like… the Vipassana gave it to me. The backpacking gave it to me. I wish I could figure out if it was the Vipassana or the backpacking. Actually, I can… for like 30 days of the trip I recorded myself talking about what I did each day for a few minutes. If I go back and watch those, I can see if I changed at all after the Vipassana. I’m actually going to snag all of those and compile them into a movie in iMovie and check it out. It’s been over 3 years since I left for that trip. It will be a nice reminder. I don’t know what I’ll do if I realize it was as much the backpacking as the Vipassana. I guess try to figure out how to backpack more, though that’s pretty hard with the life I’m choosing, and that most people choose – a career track, a life partner, goals of buying a house and starting a family.

– Something in me craves intellectual stimulation in a way that doesn’t get satisfied in business. I want something academic. I want to attend seminars at Stanford or Berkeley or something. Maybe consider getting a graduate degree. Or rather, figuring out a sustainable way to use my brain in ways aligned with theory, philosophy, thinking about thinking. I miss that. I should read more. That book I Am A Strange Loop compels me so much, but it’s just so hard to find the time to crank through it. I should schedule in a couple of hours of reading time a week, just calendar it, maybe.

– I really, really need to figure out a way to contribute to the world in a way that makes other people smile, that makes other people happy. That is so gratifying to me, it’s really selfish at the end of the day, it makes me feel like my life is worth it.

– And I’m planning a wedding which makes it really difficult to focus on anything outside of work besides wedding planning for the next few months, but after that hopefully things get really loose, so if I have my priorities in order by the time the wedding planning is over, I should be able to really dig into the goals I’m going to set out for 2019.

So after that reflection, what resonates with me out of everything listed above?

1) Feeling like I’m not contributing to the world. This can satisfy feeling uncreative as well as feeling like I don’t have short-term concrete goals that I deeply care about at an ideological level. It might even satisfy peeling back the curtain on the human condition, or even somehow addressing capitalism in some quiet way (see Marie Kondo post).

2) Envisioning what life looks like in 1 year, but also 5, 10, and 30 years sounds fun.

3) Doing a vipassana, which can satisfy seeing the good in people, escaping the desire to accumulate money or validation or popularity, mastering emotions, understanding that everything I know is made up in my mind, inner peace. This seems like a NECESSARY thing to do ASAP.

4) Family time for sure, ties into inner peace, contributing to the world, just feeling love. My values that I lived by for a solid 5 years, but should re-assess just since it’s been a while, are love, learning, and creativity. I can still see those reflected in my priorities for 2019 as I think through them.

5) Intellectual stimulation resonates, and I’ll start with trying to attend Symbolic Systems or philosophy events at Stanford, or Cognitive Science events at Berkeley, perhaps (easier), and scheduling in reading time.

Would I be happy if at the end of 2019 I had: some project, even just consistent volunteering, where I contributed back to humanity; an understanding of what I want my life to look like at milestones 5, 10, 30, 50 years down the line; re-discovered equanimity and done a vipassana; spent a lot of time with my mom, dad, and sister; and learned a lot of fascinating ideas about what it means to be alive and have an identity, in a sense what is the origin and perhaps what is the purpose of life?

Yes, I would be very happy. So there are my resolutions. To restate in summary:

1) Come up with a project, like Outpour (an art project) that contributes happiness to other people in a large way. Every month that you don’t have this project designed, volunteer.

2) Keep writing everyday; you’ll figure out what you want your life to look like, along with many other things.

3) Do a vipassana and try to carry over that feeling of equanimity for the rest of the year.

4) Hyper-prioritize family time.

5) Read, and make an effort to go to interesting talks in the wheelhouse of what you’re interested in (art, philosophy, cognitive science).

There we go. Happy new year.