2015 year in review

You can’t have a blog and not write one of these year in review type posts. My fear is it may fall into the “no one gives a shit” category. But at the same time I think it's nice to share who you are as a person beyond just the work. That's kind of what I wanted to do with the little fun facts on my email newsletter. To share more about the person behind the screen. We all have our dreams, hopes and aspirations. And if anything this post will serve as a time capsule for me to look back on one day. And realize that's who I was at this very point in time. So fuck it, why not.... And I apologize before hand that this jumps all over the place, because it's a bit of a brain dump mainly for myself.

Good things that happened in 2015

My beautiful wife Phuong.

2015 was a huge year for me. Let's see I got married to my lovely wife who I’ve been with for 10 years. We got a dog, specifically a corgi named Butters. My wife became pregnant and we are expecting our first child. We travelled to 8 different countries Thailand, Korea, Malaysia, France, Italy, Spain, Czech Republic and England. With stopovers in Dubai and Singapore. So 10 depending on how you look at it. We love to travel so I’m glad we got that in. I really believe experiencing different cultures, cuisine and people is one of the great joys of life. 

On top of Montserrat, Spain.

I played a ton of tennis at the start of the year but unfortunately am not playing as much now. Business is going well financially, personally and creatively. I learnt a ton of new things and worked for some great clients this year. Designed some great apps, websites and worked on fun pitches. I’m still loving the freedom of being a freelancer. Because it gives me more time to do other things like starting this blog which I’m super happy about. And am getting first hand experience on launching my own product, which is definitely throwing me in the deep end as I learn new things everyday. 

Im a glass half full kind of guy. And my friends and family will attest to this. Is it naive optimism? Am I taking drugs? Is it a fucking act? Well my parents were immigrants to Australia so we weren’t rich by any stretch of the imagination when I was a kid. We didn’t have much and there was a lot of ups and downs. But what it did was give me a different perspective. To appreciate the little things and be grateful for what I did have. I realised you don’t need much in life to be happy, sometimes it's just the company of good people. Or being super focused with what you’re doing. Sometimes I’ll drive and just blast some great tunes and just feel content. Crack a smile to myself and probably appear like a weirdo to others. But gratitude in life goes a long way for me. Embracing life’s curveballs — all the ups and downs are part of the journey. I live in Australia so there will always be access to shelter and food, everything else is just a bonus. So without all the holidays and stuff that people see this is all just the icing on the cake. I'm just as happy eating a $2 bag of chips than when I dine at a top Michelin starred restaurant. Once you realise this there is definitely a lightness in your being and how you see things. Happiness starts from how you see the world.

So I'm always conscious to be grateful and practiced it a lot in 2015 which I’m happy about. It may sound like I’m some zen dude – don't get me wrong I’m not. I try to do my best but I fuck up just like anyone else. For example some guy stole my parking spot this year and I seriously wanted to punch his head in, I was pretty pissed and was arguing with him for like 10mins. But then I decided to let it go. I'm 29 now and am about to be a dad, being angry wasn’t going to solve the problem. Even when some guy steals your parking, it’s really not that bad. You can't adjust the wind, but you can adjust the sails on your boat. Thanks to the wonderful lessons on Zen Habits by Leo Babauta, the teachings of Alan Watts and Robin Sharma’s book The monk who sold his Ferrari. I definitely have become a better person because of these people over the years. 


Things that didn't go well in 2015

I haven't been exercising as much as 2014 and my diet is getting worse. I ate a lot more processed food and take out. I've also been sick a lot more this year than previous years too. In 2014 I did a 20km obstacle course called Tough Mudder with some friends. God knows how far I can run now, as I gas out pretty quick when I play tennis. So I need to improve my health again. 

Becoming a bit too obsessed with work. I enjoy my work a lot. But this is also a trap. Because I can get hooked and not spend enough quality time with my wife Phuong. Sometimes I'm not focused and am thinking about other things related to Verse or my freelance work. I am not listening fully, which is not good. So I need to balance this out better. 

I didn’t learn to swim as I planned to at the start of the year. If you read my previous posts I didn't really learn to swim as a kid because I was self conscious of my pectus excavatum. I really need to be a proficient swimmer - because if my son is drowning I need to be able to save him. Or if I see any person who needs help for that matter. Plus I like the water so weird that I don't know how to swim. 

Fun fact I jumped out of a boat in Thailand this year and with a life jacket on. I had goggles on and a snorkel. When I jumped in I couldn’t see the bottom of the water. And I wasn't sure how to use the snorkel so I was swallowing sea water like a champ. I completely freaked out and tried to get back on to the boat as fast as I could. Frantically splashing everywhere in a meagre attempt to get back onto the boat.  I’m a type of person who goes head first into a situation. Both a strength and a downfall. 

Didn’t get my wisdom teeth out and need to floss more. I've been holding off getting my wisdom teeth out for like 2 years. Keep telling myself I'm too busy to schedule the appointment. But really I had time was just lazy. And my dentist tells me I need to floss more, I had braces for 3 years and it was a real pain in the ass so I need to keep my teeth and gums in good health. 

It saddens me to say but I am an extremely shitty plant owner. I think we bought like 8 or so plants for our balcony this year and they all ended up dead. I’d keep them alive for a few months with regular watering, then we’d go away and come back and they’d be dead. Might hold off on getting plants for a while. Until I can install an automated irrigation system. 

Dreams and aspirations

I sat down this year without the noise and distractions and I wrote down a list of goals of what I wanted in life. And who I wanted to be. It's probably different to what you'd expect in it’s simplicity. 

Be happy

  • designing 
  • learning 
  • teaching
  • playing tennis 
  • being challenged  
  • good food
  • laughter
  • being passionate 
  • music
  • good company
  • family
  • friends
  • travelling

Be a good husband

Be a good father

Be a good son 

Be a good brother

Be a good friend

I want to retire my parents so they don't have to ever work again. Whilst I make great money freelancing its not enough to support my own family and my parents. I have big dreams for the Process: Masterclass. People will laugh at you if you set things with high expectations and particularly when they don't work out, but that's ok. When I started this I said I would be transparent as possible and chronicle my journey. You can watch me succeed or fail, but I’ll keep trying. I hope to reach and genuinely teach designers who are passionate about their work. Offer them value and insights with Verse and the resources I put out. I want to hit a 6 figure launch with the Process: Masterclass. But I want to do it with integrity. And not offer some BS product for the sake of a quick buck. So with the business and the products I’m looking at $300k-$500k of income. Some people don’t like numbers and you may think what the fuck. But hey that’s what I’m gunning for and will share this journey with you, so you can learn from my successes and failures too. 

Fatherhood. I really have no idea what to expect, I’m excited, nervous, anxious all at the same time. But every time I get this feeling that I’m about to do something difficult.  It usually turns out to be one of the best experiences of my life. I have no idea what I’m doing, but thankfully I have the support of my friends and family. And most of all my wife who is a superstar, and with her I believe we’ll make great parents. Sleep deprived sure...but good parents non the less.

Verse is growing at a steady pace thanks to you the readers. And I’m grateful for that. The best part is when I get all the thank you emails and comments from you guys. It really doesn’t seem like much but it means a ton. I’m just a regular guy from Melbourne, who designs and shares his experiences on the internet. Things that I’m passionate about. So to see it help and resonate with others it’s a real joy to see. I’ll try to teach everything I know. 

2015 was a great year. 2016 I'll see you soon.