I turn 25 today, and wow, has it been a year. When we look back on the past year, most of the collective would likely spout some anger and frustration (in many cases, rightly so) about the year 2020. You might not find that here. The purpose of this post is to express my gratitude for the last full year of my life.
In January, I didn’t do a New Year’s recap like I normally do, mostly because I didn’t feel called to it. My birthday feels a little different. Last year was not the one I was expecting. I, like many others, wish I had more tales of travel and adventure to share. Instead, I had adventures at home, through books, love, and within myself.
Even though I was more or less geographically fixed for my 24th year, my learning and growing was far and wide.
This year is the one where I solidified and landed upon writing as the ultimate form of expression (for me). It was a year where I allowed myself to sink into writing wholeheartedly, knowing that it was more than just a hobby.
I was able to merge my love of writing non-fiction with poetry, short stories, and code. I am confident that it is the art with which I express myself to others. In that sense, my audience is comprised of both humans and machines.
The right book at the right time is just as powerful as a revelatory conversation, or that million dollar idea that comes to you in the shower.
I’ve always been a voracious reader, and I don’t see that going away anytime soon. Here are a few pan-genre reads that were particularly impactful this year:
👨🏽💻 I’m doubling down on code as a form of expression, a problem solving mechanism, and a way to practice and grow my systems thinking. Leaving Drift to attend a bootcamp for full stack development, I’ve made an investment in mastering the fundamentals of this art.
🖋️ I’ve started writing poetry consistently this past year. This has been in large part due to my involvement with the Warrior Poets Collective, a group of now close friends who share and jam on poetry. We are producing our first collective work of poetry this year (you will hear about this more soon).
💻 I revamped my personal website to include my blog posts; for both my top of mind musings and updates like this one.
🐦 I’ve started, albeit slowly, to use Twitter as a place to microblog, connect, and express myself more fully in the digital stratosphere.
🧙🏽♂️ I’m working on another blog which you’ll hear about soon, and have a few other writing projects on the backburner, waiting to be clarified and polished before they’re introduced to the world.
This year, I’ve been surrounded by love at every step. The pandemic has been a time of grief and sadness, but also of healing and togetherness. I’ve found an even deeper rooting among my family. This year has been particularly significant because I found my partner, an incalculably special person, and the soul whom I love to share every moment with.
There’s too much to say on this topic, and prose in a blog post hardly seems to do it justice. Perhaps you will catch a glimpse of its essence in a poem soon.
As I jet into year 25, my mind is bent on a few topics that I expect to find myself adding to, evolving, pondering and acting upon.
Building out Loud - This past year is one where I’ve been the most comfortable in sharing. As I build, ship, learn, and find bumps along the way, I’m intent on sharing lessons I learn and victories I have. I’ll build out loud on Twitter, this Blog and other corners of the interwebs. Surrounding myself with high quality people is my priority, and to get, I want to give.
Value Creation - I’ve been thinking and learning a lot about the point at which value becomes wealth this past year. As a team member at Drift, I was able to bring some valuable ideas to life, but I was really just scratching the surface. Next year is going to be one of execution, and even deeper learning in this realm.
Content Diet - Finding the best pieces of content to consume is a never ending search in this world of abundant offerings. Being conscious of my content diet will help me to steer my thinking, interests, curiosity, and excitement in directions closer to my goal.
Moving - This year will be one where I leave Boston for some nearly faraway destination. Stay tuned.
Staying Focused, Enjoying Adventure - There’s a lot more in store in the year ahead. I’ll be focused on my craft - on writing, reading, coding, building, and creating. And through the letdowns and limbos, I will find presence. Enjoying the adventure is what it’s all about.
Onward and upward.
© Saalik Lokhandwala, 2021