Every year I do this. I do a list of 50 things that I have learnt in the year. 2016 has been no different, well actually it has been very different, outside of my sphere of influence it has been a horrible year but within what I control it has been quite good (maybe I should just control everything mwahahaha) Therefore, my list remains an end of year constant. And remember one thing, I never look back at the previous years before doing these lists so there may be some overlap or repetition.
1) When you think things in the world are generally bad they can always get worse and this year were guaranteed to do so. Remember though, 2016 is not to blame. Every year more famous people will die because there are more famous people, it’s not a year with a death wish. And unless everyone gets out of their bubble every year populist right wing or even Nazi scum will take everything from you claiming they are working for you.
2) And on that last point, “Never underestimate the stupidity of the British people”. [or the Americans] Man of the people, private school educated, ex-stockbroker, failed MP and European gravy train rider (Because he never turns up to his work for his 73000 Euros per year job) Nigel Farage and serial groper, psychopathic and sociopathic liar Donald Trump proved that in spades. When you are able to claim you are a man of the people who will drain the swamp while living in a late Saddam inspired interior decorated apartment in a tower named after you and still win an election with a minority of the popular vote, then irony has jumped the shark.
3) Endeavouring to avoid the news is now actually impossible if you are on social media to any extent. Never again will we be able to do like The Likely Lads in the 70’s and avoid the result of a game we want to watch the highlights of later. We don’t care about the highlights now, we want it live and now because we know that we will get notifications, spoilers and omfg messages from friends.
4) However finding out the truth is now almost impossible because we are all in our own self created bubbles of curated content. I do it. Everyone does it. When an idiot troll who is a casual acquaintance or friend starts spouting off about how wonderful Trump is then we silence them or unfriend them. We want to hear our opinions approved not questioned. Our bubble is our safe place except, as this year has proved, it’s very dangerous.
5) One bad apple can spoil a whole group very easily. Nuff said. If the bad apple reads this then he will recognise the slight on him but he might well be blocked and if he isn’t then I am pretty sure I am by him.
6) Having adventures, not in the Spanish sense, is an excellent wait to spend some time. Day to day life may be fulfilling but doing something different regularly is the spice of this particular existence. (In Spanish it means to have an affair :-))
7) There is always a Plan B, or C, or D, or E, etc. In other words there is more than one way to skin a cat. When we get blocked in a particular action then having ideas every day gives you the mental wherewithal to find a way around the problem
8) Some people you know well who you thought were tw*ts are actually off the scale of total c*nts. (And in this case I know they won’t see this but honestly I couldn’t give a monkeys if they did)
9) It’s much better working with others rather than totally alone. Some days working alone can be extremely isolating, you can go whole weeks without speaking directly to someone or seeing the outside world even if your job involves computer work. This is not good of course. Working with others means you don’t have to force yourself to see them regularly because you come up with ideas together.
10) Turning 50 is a very reflective time. Half way there maybe. It’s downhill from here perhaps.
11) Having a huge weight lifted off your back is not necessarily liberating. Every year in this list I have probably talked about having a huge weight on my back. This year it was lifted and the feeling after was numbness. Ten years of carrying that weight had led to a “not sure what to do now” feeling once it left.
12) Depression is annoyingly near at times and when it arrives it has stickability. I had two bouts of depression this year. Both were frustrating and annoying for me because there was no reason for them that I could see. I suppose that is the problem with depression but at least I knew the bouts would be temporary as they always are for me at least. As long as I know I will get out of them why should I worry. The problem is not seeing that light at the end of the tunnel when it happens and when seeing the light just making sure that it is not the light of an oncoming train (Thanks to HMHB for that reference).
13) Travel is essential and life affirming. A brilliant and different holiday in the summer was wonderful, the Grand Tour almost from the golden age of travel. Other trips during the year were also great moments that are the highlights of the year.
14) Germany is a rather surprisingly wonderful place. Surprisingly cheap, friendly and beautiful. Maybe I was expecting the wrong thing but it was a gem of a place.
15) When you feck something up its best to go with the flow and social media can help you with the plan you have to formulate to let that happen. So next time when I say I’m on a boat and two hours from where I need to be, I need help again. Thanks to all of those who searched through various rail, bus and boat timetables to help us get back on track and thanks to the German train driver who let us on the train without a ticket as he was just about to leave and there was a queue at the ticket office.
16) The biggest change in life to stop so much frustration would be a much longer lasting phone battery, something discovered while on that particular boat in the middle of a lake going the wrong way almost to Switzerland.
17) It takes about ten things going wrong concurrently to get me out of my calm demeanour inside but once the calm is gone, it’s gone. And about six or seven times this year ten things have been going wrong concurrently. It was nice to be asked various times “Why are you so calm?” as things fell apart around me.
18) Rescuing a daughter from the UK is fun and things can work out well when you do it. Another great trip and adventure this year. Just a month and a half later things are now going much much better for her.
19) It’s possible to have your worst ever season at cricket and still get two of your three ever highest scores. I started the season well with my first ever century and once that monkey was off my back I had a ‘mare of a season rather than being liberated to score a few more tons. It didn’t help that I broke my finger (see later) but even just three weeks after that I scored 89 in a game (When I should have been out three times before scoring)
20) It is better to trust people and get screwed over than to be overwhelmed by bitterness and not trust anybody at all. Most people I know are good because I think I tend to converse better with good people. I also know a couple of *rseholes unfortunately and apparently they know one too 🙂 (Can’t imagine who)
21) Breaking a finger half way through a cricket season and not getting it properly diagnosed and treated was probably not my best idea of the year. It still doesn’t bend properly and is still swollen.
22) Disneyland Paris is bloody cold in March. I don’t know what I was expecting but it still means my initial thoughts were right, Paris was the wrong place for it, somewhere in Spain would have worked better.
23) Having an ill wife is not fun for me but is awful for her as she misses out on so much. The aforementioned Paris trip being one of the things she missed.
24) Having kids should come with a public health warning. Can you sell your kids quickly before they do the cute thing to make you remember that you actually love them loads?
25) Less is more in terms of possessions. I have twice got rid of half of my clothes this year twice. Now I have fewer decisions to make every day. Also doing it with other stuff now.
26) Experiences shared are much more important than buying sh*t. I never liked shopping but now I just don’t see the point. Unless something if needed the only shopping I do now is for food virtually every day to make sure it is fresh.
27) Half the fun is in the planning and planning stuff together is double the fun again. Holidays, the future, presents, visits and time with friends.
28) The satisfaction of a successfully completed project and a happy client is possibly even better than the money from doing it, but the money helps of course.
29) Running three projects or businesses concurrently is not only possible it makes life fun. Working on numbers four and five in the next month or so.
30) I still spend too much time on Facebook and twitter but managing to outsource the business posting part of that is liberating.
31) Shared achievements and small celebrations of those achievements are essential to having a happier internal monologue
32) Repetition of marketing images and messages is not damaging to the company it just tends to emphasize points. Therefore putting out articles, images and messages regularly on social media means different people see them at different times.
33) Outsourcing tasks to a competent and organized person means the tasks get done whereas there is no way they would get done if left to my own devices. Therefore it makes for better uses of time and excellent use of money. Thanks Diana.
34) It is still impossible to find paleo snacks in Spain and that has to be an itch which needs scratching through a company here in the future.
35) Not having a government for a year at a national level makes no difference whatsoever to the country as a whole. Maybe we should have extended the experiment another decade or so until people who actually want to do it for public service reasons get interested.
36) Keeping quality control on the website means a better type of committed client and much less wasted time in general. We will not put up properties that are overpriced as it is just wasting everyone’s time.
37) Patience is a virtue supposedly but sometimes it is simply impossible to wait any longer and people need pushing in order to jump and do things. This is true of clients, workmates and just about anyone.
38) Bullsh*t is always found out so don’t bother with it. Not our own bullsh*t of course but the stuff we have to find out from others every day. Saying that, it seems fact checking doesn’t make any difference anyway.
39) Riffing on a theme of ideas to bring something new to kids is interesting but actually starting it with your own kids is cool. Will be posting more about this if I see a future in it.
40) One huge sale can make a huge difference to a yearly income. Let’s concentrate on more huge sales next year. And on that note time to put together presentations in PDF format for large sales.
41) Advertising on large portals can actually work out well. This has never been the case before in our business. It usually costs money for no decent return.
42) Brexit means Brexit apparently but I still think it means total and utter clusterf*ck.
43) Life can surprise you still even after half a century and not always in good ways. Some surprises I had in 2016 were off the scale of “omfg I am so innocent“. Some very sad situations.
44) The block function on an iPhone is wonderful meaning I get very few repeated sales calls.
45) We have far too many screens in our house and too many things connected up to the net. And now we have even more after the Xmas period 🙁
46) Having a single point of failure website shall not be repeated as hacking is not funny. Note to self: Still haven’t put in place the third backup just in case!!
47) When that dull sense of foreboding gets to be too much it’s probably time to sort out some people you work with before you have to do a load of work to get things back on track. This worked fantastically well this year.
48) Despite their tendency towards the frustratingly annoying and exasperating at times I still won’t be selling my kids any time soon. (Unless a really good offer came up of course ;-))
49) If you are in a bed that wakes you up every time you move even a toe then take the mattress off and put it on the floor or just give up on having any possible sleep (Learnt at an Airbnb in Rome)
50) When in Rome… stand at the counter in bars for your coffee, it’s less than half price of the tables, which is evidently ridiculous
51) In Italy three or four days is enough to be totally sick of bread and pasta! Just too much.
52) This is the first year ever I have woken up twice during the year and my first words were “FFS”. Hopefully that experience won’t happen again as I learned that it is not nice at all to wake up like that!