Early 2017 has tuned into “second chance” to build a pretty awesome career and life. But I never would’ve gotten here if I hadn’t made some major changes in 2016.
In this (hopefully) monthly series, I want to examine my attempts to “un-fail” at life. I’ve realized that success isn’t a matter of luck or achievement, but being able to overcome and learn from failures. Here are the three major changes I made in 2016, as well as why they required “un-failing”:
Pros: Losing more than 20% of my body weight in a year (which set off an alert at my last doctor’s appointment)
Cons: Becoming Peak Liberal White Woman, being unable to eat Polish food, the horrors of gluten-free baking
“Un-Failure”: Not only were gluten and dairy the lynchpin of a serious food addiction, they were making me a bloated, irritable, generally unpleasant person
Scaling down to one-room living
Pros: Being the only person in Seattle paying rent in the low three-figures, the catharsis of dumping 10 years’ worth of clutter/academic work/bad decisions
Cons: Having housemates for the first time in five years (it’s actually not that bad…), being stuck with just one cat (well below my family’s average of ten…)
“Un-Failure”: When I had my own place, I was living beyond my means and racking up a fair bit of debt, I also wasn’t as hardcore about simplicity and organization as I should’ve been
Launching Gig-Ready Jazz Bassist
Pros: Establishing my career goal of making jazz education less competitive/more accessible, integrating my interests in music/teaching/instructional design
Cons: Reliving my dissertation (in which I foolishly told people, “I’ll be done with it later this month!” for over a year…)
“Un-Failure”: Health issues aside, I spent a decade too afraid and ashamed to pursue the career I wanted (and in neurotic pursuit of one I didn’t) – this marked an important first step in pursuing an authentic, fulfilling career on my own terms
What changes did you make in 2016 that set you up for success (or at least “un-failing”) in 2017?