My 2020 Theme: Explore

The name of the game for this year is exploration!

January 3, 2020

Last year’s theme, Rebuild, came from the desire to get back to some regular habits and improve things I’d already built. This year, I’ve decided my theme will be Explore. I have some solid plans in place to celebrate my theme, and a few vague principles that I’ll try to remind myself of throughout the year.

A photo of my journal with a sticker showing a compass and the theme Explore with 2020 below.

Principles of exploration

Here are the principles I’ll try to consider throughout the year to inform what I’m doing.

  • New to me: Don’t stick with the known and routine. Break out and do something different. Go somewhere unexpected.
  • Pay attention: Explorers make maps, take notes, and notice things others don’t.
  • Enjoy the journey: It’s easy to get wrapped up in the destination and the results. But the journey can be just as fun.
  • Embrace the fear: Many new things seem scary until you’ve tried them.

Making things

One thing I struggled with last year was burnout. It struck shortly after I started a new web comic. I realized that I had a lot of projects that I felt obligated to update regularly: the comic, my design site, my monthly design newsletter, etc. Making these things does bring me a lot of joy, but that joy comes at the cost of doing other things or just having fun.

One thing I’ve struggled with over the past couple years is whether it’s okay to do some things just for the joy of it. Every new project I tackle has to feel like something I can monetize or somehow use to build my “brand”. Ugh, gross. I’m sick of letting that feeling rob me of doing things just for the heck of it.

I want to feel the simplicity of just making things without the burden of making something from them. So this year I’m going to explore some new hobbies, play with some new projects, and learn some new things just because. Maybe you’ll see some of it, maybe you won’t.

Having fun

I’m going to play more. Whether that’s playing board games with friends and family, a video game, or building tiny forts out of the sticks in our yard. Life’s too short to spend it working constantly.

Getting out

I want to leave the house more this year. I’m an introvert, and I love being comfortable. But I also enjoy getting out of the house, and I want to embrace that more this year. I want to try things that scare me a little: new foods, new experiences, new challenges. Rather than sticking with the same old favorites, I’m going to try new places, new foods, new defaults. Maybe I won’t like them as much … but maybe I’ll find some things I like even more!

A few solid plans

This year’s theme will kick into high gear this March, with a family cruise. This will be my first time on a cruise ship, first time visiting Cape Canaveral, my first time swimming with dolphins, and my first trip to the Bahamas. I’m stoked!

I have a few other ideas on how to explore more this year:

  • Getting out and about nearby. I want to find some new places to eat, some new places to wander, and some new things to do. Richmond’s a cool city, and I don’t know it nearly as well as I’d like to. (There’s also tons of awesome stuff near Richmond, too.)
  • Trying out some new hobbies. I’ve got tools to work with wood, art supplies, a piano that I can play a couple songs on, and all kinds of things that I’m interested in learning about.
  • Sharing more stuff with the boy. Our kid is getting to an age where he’s more interested in the wider world. He loved Hamilton, for instance. I want to share more of the stuff I love with him, but I also want to discover awesome new stuff through his eyes.

So that’s it. Explore. I’ll let you know how it goes in a year. (And maybe sporadically throughout the year.)