What I Learned in 2018 by Bill Gates and 2018 Stats by Kristi Andrus
Like Bill Gates, I like to take stock of my work and personal life as the year draws to a close, to make some time for critical reflection, and use stats to quantify a snapshot for years to come.
I read Gates’ recap and annual letter every year, and it’s inspiring and humbling to note the enormity of his impact and witness the bigness of his goals. His positivity, faith in technology, and optimism are so striking and rare in world leaders.
My life feels so small in comparison, but since comparison is futile, and I can only live my life, I employ my own methodology. First, I scroll through my calendar, noting important dates, recurring appointments, events that will stick with me.
Then I scroll through Google Photos, remembering where I was, how I felt, the stunning beauty of my children, the vivid love and fierce sense of adventure our family shares.
Then I look around our house and see the mementos of where we traveled, how we spent our time, how we played, what projects we accomplished, what needs to be done, what we can let go of.
Finally, I read my notes to remind me of what I value, what I’ve learned, what I want to understand better, what resonated, what I want to pursue next.
Sure, we purge toys and clothes, we deep clean and set goals, we wrap up loose ends and plan for next year, but no other exercise is a fulfilling, meaningful, and powerfully simple as quantifying our year. The portrait that is captured snaps into focus in a way that it wouldn’t have otherwise.
As one-offs, they were just moments, some wonderful, some heartbreaking, some profound, some insignificant, but as a whole, it makes sense. I can see the path, the growth, the change, the bigger picture.
It reminds me how far I’ve come, and how far I can go, in just one short year.
Time is funny like that. We overestimate how much we can get done in a day, but underestimate how much we can get done in a year. When we are waist-deep in dirty dishes, dirty laundry, toys, kids, dogs, and work, it’s hard to see the forest for the trees. Layer on top of that the phenomenon that “the years are short, but the days are long”, and time skews in a weird and wonderful way that makes it hard to keep it all in perspective.
That’s why with t-minus-one-day left in 2018, I took a few hours this morning to summarize my year. I always feel lighter after the exercise too. It helps me focus, let go, resolve, move on. Consciously and unconsciously, it’s closure.
I try not to carry any baggage forward, just let it be what it was, a beautiful portrait of who I was for a year, not necessarily who I will be, not good or bad, happy or sad, just a collection of moments that were all mine. Ownership is key. It’s a chance to savor my life with abandon, to embrace the fullness of my experience, and let the instinct to live joyfully deepen my appreciation.
In a world where resources are limited, in order to maximize our time, we must know what matters, ask ourselves important questions, analyze our intentions, understand our motivations, and design a life we love. It’s essential. A life well-lived is highly subjective, of course, but lucky you, you are the one who gets to choose. You are the one who gets to make it beautiful. You are the one who gets to create. You are the one who gets to evaluate.
Without any further ado, here are my 2018 Stats:
1 business launch, www.luxicoach.com, 1 new job for husband too
1 grandmother’s death — Rest in peace Granny, enjoy the reunions
1 invitation to design a mayoral candidate’s logo, 1 invitation to collaborate with a senator’s wife, 1 invitation to join the PTA, 1 march, 2 rallies, 1 important lesson that every voice matters
1 husband’s interview in Playboy — Honey Buns, you are so hunky and wise
1 brown recluse bite, 2 terrified parents, 1 amazing pediatrician
1 commercial role, 3 movie roles
1 in preschool, 2 in kindergarten, all 3 in school for the 1st time, 1 dog and 2 parents moping about the house counting down to the final bell each day
1 day, 1 football game, 7 college girlfriends, 7 friendships that will last a lifetime, 14 lucky kids that will appreciate the power and grace of female friendships from the example set by their mothers
1st post on Medium, 100th post on Medium, 23 posts picked up for publication, 1 motivating acknowledgment
6 continents, 19 countries, 22 islands, 30 days off the grid, 43 states, 50 vacation days to renew our commitment to an unplugged childhood, to cross-off some of our bucket list, to level up
10 years of marriage, 10 years cancer-free, 1 doggie who turned 10-years-old!
25-week streak on Grammarly
100 hours of coaching
129 CycleBar workouts
157 hours of workshops, webinars, and learning
365 days together with my children
702 dog walks
2,382 social media followers
2,744 steps to the top of the Manitou Incline
So many days at the zoo, museum, aquarium, concerts, swim lessons, gymnastics, movies, birthday parties, bike rides, hikes, playdates and trips to Grandma & Grandpa’s that we lost count.
Thank you 2018. We can’t wait to meet you 2019.