2016 was a whirlwind of a year. On one hand, a lot of big things happened, on the other, I feel like I could have done more. Here are the highlights:
2016 was a big year for downsizing. Early on in the year, my partner and I decided to move to Vernon from Lake Country since her work was closer to Vernon. It was a bit nerve-wracking at firt but once we started crunching the numbers, we realized it was an opportunity to reduce or housing expenes significantly. While our house in Lake Country was a unique find and we loved it very much, it was also bigger than we needed, took a lot to maintain (3/4 of an acre), and was a 30 min drive from the city. Between the commute, property taxes and maintenance, it was costing us quite a bit money but also time. It waxsn’t financuially out of reach by any means, but it meant less vacations, recreation time, and other life experiences. Once we started crunching the numbers, moving to a smaller place in Vernon would almost half our housing costs and put us within waling distance of lamost everything including the office I spent a few days a week in.
Moving to Vernon was a was a no-brainer.
In February, we started searching for homes, and after a few misses managed to land a comfy little home in one of thee most desirable neighbourhoods of Vernon. It was half the cost of our previous home, had a garage, yard for the dog to run around in and great neighbours. Downsizing and moving to our current home in Vernon was by far the best decision of 2016.
The other area we’ve downsized in is “stuff.” We’ve sold, donated, given away and thrown out alot of our things. I estimate that currently, I own the least amount of “things” since moving out from my parents. I’ve sold most of my electronics, extra clothing, books, and furniture. We don’t even own a TV anymore. I also sold my beloved 1992 Land Cruiser. For those that don’t know me, this was a HUGE decision, as I’ve been a Land Cruiser enthusiast and have owned 12 different ones over the past 15 years, This truck was a super rare find, something I had spent 10+ years looking for. In the end, priorities change , experiences are more important than things and I decided that the Land Cruiser was a carry-over of an older lifestyle. Stuff is over-rated and in my mind, a distraction from real happiness. Note, I still own a lot of recreation items for hiking, backpacking and camping but focus on quality over quantity there. More on that in a future posts
Finding my Work happy Place
2016 was also a year of soul-searching in terms of finding a new work that resonated with me. Downsizing was a huge help in this regard, creating much more financial room for me to experiment with different approaches. TO be honest I spent a lot of the year bouncing around between various companies, startups and freelance gigs. I even took on a full time “job”, quit it 4 months later and applied for a couple of jobs in the late summer. It seemed that every month, I was doing a different thing, but none of it really felt ‘right.’ SUre it was all fun an interesting work, and I got to work with a lot of awesome pople, but it felt like something was missing. In late summer, I took a break from all of it, and came back to it a few weeks later with more clarity. I figured out that I work best on teams of contractors that are farily autonomous, yet connected on similar goals, values and work styles. I also like working on a variety of things, so to that end I’ve determined that an idea mix for me is 50-75% agency work, leaving 25%+ for “social impact” type work. I’m not doing tone of social impact work right now but hoping to change that in 2017
One unexpected highlight of 2016 was teaching a local developer bootcamp in the Okanagan.
Looking ahead to 2017
100 things I can do:
- Summit Mt Hood
- Run a 100k ultramarathon
- Run a races in at least one other country
- Run 1500km, total elevation of 50,000+
- Summit at least 5 peaks in the Canadian Rockies
- Get my Ham Radio licence
- Achieve a net-zero electricty bill over the year
- Get rid of (even more) stuff