About a week ago I saw a tweet that goes: “Go back through your diary for the year. You’ve probably achieved much more than you remember”. Although I am not sad to see the back of 2016, why not a little bit of a positive spin? So I thought I’d give it a go too.
The first things that sprung to my mind were, naturally, and sadly, work-related. Publications, conferences, teaching, tutorials, etc. By those measures, it looks like I didn’t do too badly, if I may say so myself. However, somehow, I didn’t feel that they characterise my 2016. So, I delved further into it.
I have done yoga for a year now. Well, I say yoga, but it’s more of stretching for around 10 minutes as soon as I get up in the morning. Nevertheless, the point here is that I have done it everyday! Well, almost everyday. Okay, 350+ days. My Habitica gold pot is my proof.
2016 also marks that I have been blogging for ten years. Ten years! I am fully aware that I write here infrequently and irregularly, and that I only have a few random unsuspecting visitors a day. This blog is, however, an invaluable space for me and has been helping me clarify my muddled thoughts all this time.
Hang on, the most important achievement is saved for the last. This year will always be the year when I made a perspective-altering discovery personally. In August, I had a two-week break in Korea. It was motivated by an invitation to deliver a talk on smart cities at an IT Expo in Daegu, so I can’t say it was purely for holidaying. The seminar proved to be super interesting and, in a sense, set the course for my research in the next one or two years. A separate post is in order. What I want to record here is that instead of immediately returning to the day job, I actually set aside a time after the event for a little bit of travelling. Very unlike me. You wouldn’t believe this, but I didn’t even take my laptop with me.
And there I discovered that I actually like holidays as much as anyone else does. Why was this even a surprise to me? Because I had been programmed to believe otherwise. I had always thought the Korean in me was so strong that I was incapable of enjoying non-working. It was liberating to realise that was bulls**t. It was almost like a Truman Show moment for me.
I have been eagerly inflicting this knowledge on friends and colleagues since. I don’t know when my next holiday will be, but I know I am looking forward to. And until then, I will flip through photos from my first-ever holiday.
(One of my favourite, taken at a 14C temple called Haedong Yonggungsa on a sea cliff.)