It's that time of year again. 2016 has been great and next year I'd like to continue in roughly the same vein, with some small but significant shifts in emphasis.
Here are my five areas of focus for 2017:
One way or another my job will be changing in 2017, as the current project I'm working on reaches a natural conclusion and my contract comes up. Whatever happens after that, I'm looking for some kind of relationship-focussed role with a degree of positional authority, commensurate salary, regular work travel and the opportunity to consolidate existing skills while providing room to develop new ones. Something globally-connected with the opportunity to make industry contacts would be welcome too.
One way or another we'll have a new place to live in 2017, and this time I'd like it to be more of a home than a place to stay for a while. That probably means picking somewhere we're happy to stay for a few years that enables our hobbies and allows personality to express itself through the decor, and allows us to entertain guests. Friends and lifestyle conveniences should be within reach. On top of this and despite the costs of setting up somewhere new, I'd also like to continue our financial focus and boost our mojo savings considerably.
In 2017 I plan to start an MBA and complete at least four units of it. I'd also like to find good key contacts for my next business, establish a company structure, develop a first product or service and put together a high-level business plan for the next few years. No need to rush anything – just need to get some good foundations in place. What the business is is not super important yet at this stage – I have lots of ideas but for now they are just ideas. But in general, over the next few years I plan to do something that combines my appreciation for the power and complexity of systems with my appreciation for the power and complexity of people, around my favourite themes of technology, education and society.
This one didn't go so well this year, so in 2017 I'm giving it more focus and leaving myself less wriggle-room. I'd like to better manage my diet and maintain a weight goal, make significant progress in a regular strength training routine, cycle regularly for pleasure and/or commute and try playing tennis to see if I like it. I'd also like to continue to develop various aspects of my style, body confidence and personal grooming. Note to future Danu: this is a physical goal in 2017, not a mental one. No changing the goal posts.
Creativity and Play
Creativity has been a bit neglected the last year or two and needs an outlet. In particular, I'd like to do more creative stuff with other people, so well-chosen collaborations will be a theme in 2017 I hope. I'd like to do something with the 'public things' project and see where that goes. I'd like to finish my Platypuzzler game as a proof-of-concept for games as technologies of empathy, and figuring out how to do this will itself involve some well-chosen collaborations. I'd like to make time to get better at piano and play with others if possible. I'd like to get back into the habit of keeping a journal to leave messages for myself, and I have a strong urge to design a silly and slightly mad system of some sort, to what end who knows. Writing, yes, but as an adjunct to or enabler of something else and not for itself – sublimating my urge to write into other pursuits will probably work out better for now.
As usual, I'm sure I won't quite know what any of these things look like until they happen and no doubt there will be a few surprises and curveballs along the way. But having set the course, it will be interesting to come back this time next year and see how it all panned out.
Now that I've put aside the PhD and identified a new direction, I'm keen to charge along it. But having learned the value and importance of making big changes in small steps, I also want to go about this carefully and not too fast. It's easy to overestimate what can be realistically accomplished in a year, and also to vastly underestimate what can be done over a few years. There are some big changes ahead in 2017 to work, home and self – they're likely to not be all that noticeable and future Danu is very likely to worry that they're not enough. But they are, and in 2017 what I need to do most is make some big foundational shifts and manoeuvre into a new stance while keeping our forward momentum. If all goes smoothly, I will have succeeded precisely because it wasn't that noticeable.
Happy New Year!