[Sorry, a little behind posting this…]
It’s New Year’s Day and I have a splitting headache. It’s a year to the day that I split up with my girlfriend. That wasn’t a good day. I had a headache then too.
Despite the similarities, a lot has changed this last year.
Indulge me for a moment, I’d like to do a swift year ‘in review’, if only to focus on something I’d like to bring into frame – something that’s not about me.
Last year my revelry induced my pain. This year, I remained stone cold sober on New Year’s Eve. Clearly my body, so unused to clarity on the dawn of a new year, decided to take matters into it’s own hands, and today I woke up with man flu.
A poor start to the year, but despite the surface snuffles and tiredness, I feel good within. I’m fresh back from San Francisco, where I’ve just spent two months on 500 Startups, a leading accelerator programme.
I’ve been living in a van and wrote this article about my experiences early on. I was asked to write another, which followed here. The van is emblematic, a reminder to myself that I am alive, and adventure sits everywhere if we chose it.
The experience has been a rollercoaster ride of highs and lows, something I tried to capture in this, my most recent article. One of my new friends Nicholas Holland, also explores the pressures in a great article here.
It’s been a tough year. I’m home, halfway through the accelerator feeling that ‘the score’ is 0-0. Perhaps 0-1 against us. I’m flying back in under a week for the second half, with all to play for.
Yet I feel good, despite the score. Why – because I can honestly say I’ve been giving life everything I’ve got. Whether for the first time, or at least for the first extended period, I feel ‘in flow’, dedicated to a single focus. I’ve not worked like this before, with a sole direction, and I’m loving it.
Two weeks ago I did a skydive with some of my accelerator batch. My dive wasn’t without drama. After an extraordinary few seconds in free fall, my instructor pulled our ripcord, only to shout ‘shit’ repetitively. Not the words you want to hear in that situation, I can assure you.
I looked up to see our parachute tangled and we continued to descent at considerable speed. After a nervous 10 or so seconds (a long time in that situation) he managed to pump some air into the canopy and we were out of trouble.
It somewhat embodies how I’ve felt these last few months. Exposing myself to life and its risks, with some hairy situations, but feeling exhilarated. I’m not sure if the parachute will open, but I’ve flung myself out there, all the same.
Something has changed within me, whether permanently or not I don’t know. For now, I’m embracing this change and the sense of power I feel at present.
Which leads me to the crux of this post – a resolution.
Toward the end of my stay in San Francisco, I read an article that incensed me and forced me to write back. As I’ve lived in the city, I’ve always been painfully aware of the number of homeless people that live there. It’s something that has made me want to take action, somehow.
The letter I wrote received thousands of views and I’ve had many people write to me to offer their support. My resolution is not just to try to organize this event, to try to raise awareness and money for the homeless of San Francisco, but speaks to a deeper mission this year.
I want to make this year about other people. I am painfully aware, as has been the case with this paragraph, that I start too many sentences with ‘I’. I (there I go again) feel that my life over the years has been very I-oriented. Whether with this blog, my business, social life, skills or time – I’d like to try making more things not about me.
I sense that 2014 is going to be an awesome year, in one way or other. There will be a lot of hard work and a lot of isolating moments, with myself and my partner pitted against the rest of the world as we try to grow our business.
This year, I’d like to make an effort to orientate my days, my work and my time around other people. Whether putting time into organizing this sleepathon, or to speaking to the customers of my business and focusing on solving their issues.
It could go horribly wrong at a time when perhaps a little self-centeredness is needed, but I sense the opposite. There’s a selfishness at the heart of this – I do hope that my business, my work and my relationships improve – but I want to practice abundance by giving back and giving away.
So 2014 for me is not about me. I’m not sure how that will manifest itself – I’ve the fragment of an idea, a sense that its something I want to explore and that it will lead to wonderful things.
For now, I hope you are superb.