How my life changed in 2013: what's next?

My life changed significantly in 2013. This time one year ago I was living in Markham, my wife and I had just purchased a 10 year old Elantra for her ~250km round trip commute to work, we had recently found out that my wife was pregnant, and we had only been married 2 months. Now we live downtown Toronto, we have gotten rid of the car, we have a 4 month old daughter and have been married over a year (seasoned veterans). As I reflect on the year I think it was probably one of the most challenging, eventful, and rewarding of my life.

A little over a year ago I wrote Why I love my wife, and Myplanet Digital. The message remains true. I think that for me the major take away from that article was balance. Anyone who knows me well knows that for me 2013 was a year of seeking balance. I am passionate about my family and my work... honestly I am passionate about most things on which I hold an opinion. This passion can get me in trouble, so I sought to find some balance and perspective in 2013. To listen more, to seek to understand those around me, and to become more empathetic. I have no concrete data, but anecdotal feedback from those around me seems to indicate that there was some success.

The dawning of 2014 presents an opportunity for me to refine focus. I've been giving consideration to my goals for quite a while. I've had discussions with my wife, with co-workers, and even decided to use an emotional intelligence measurement tool to help me to understand the capabilities which I use the least. My goals for the beginning of the year are simple, and I hope that working on them in combination will deliver a synergistic result.

1. Healthy eating and exercise - I've been deprioritizing the health of my body for a long time. I know that when I eat whole foods and exercise regularly I feel, sleep, and think better. I want to give my body what it needs so that I can engage the rest of my life with more energy.

2. Optimism - I was once told that I had the "gift of finding problems with things", it was meant to be positive. I know that I often dig to find weaknesses and faults in arguments and ideas, I want to do less of that this year. I want to trust those around me to find more faults, and to liberate myself to be more positively creative and optimistic about possible outcomes.

3. Building relationships - I have a lot of good relationships, but I know that when I focus on a task I can easily lose sight of the meaningfulness of the relationships I have with the people I am working with. I want to be more intentional about setting aside time to listen to and learn from others, and about ensuring that they understand the value they have to offer.

4. Technology - The technology landscape is constantly changing. For most of the past few years I've focused mainly on building solutions using Drupal and rupal Commerce. For the last half of this year I had the opportunity to work quite a bit with AngularJS. The patterns and opportunities that Javascript application development presents interests me. I want to take time to learn more about different application and API design patterns using tools like AngularJS, node.JS, and others.

Recently my wife and I watched Jane McGonigal: The game that can give you 10 extra years of life. In this talk, Jane describes the four resiliencies that have been demonstrated to improve both the length and quality of life. They are physical, mental, emotional and social. Although I didn't plan it, I find it interesting that my goals for 2014 match with these resiliencies.

I'm looking forward to 2014, and all of the challenges, frustrations, opportunities, and excitement it will bring.