As a retrospective on the year that passed, if I had to define 2016 in one word, it would be ‘turbulent’.

Lots of shit went down in 2016. There was rarely a dull moment. A lot of bad things happened. A lot of good things happened. There were lots and lots of memories and lots and lots of change.

The biggest moment of the year was parting ways with the love of my life at the time.

I guess it was the first half of the year where things went really pear-shaped in our relationship (even though it was on the rocks for awhile before that, anyway). The lead up was worse than the break-up itself, and a lot of the successes I had in the first half of the year (moving jobs, getting a lot of design recognition and attention, getting decent at the tech blog thing) were drowned out by the impending doom of our relationship.

It was painful. It hurt. A lot. After a 5 year relationship you kinda have to really question who you are as a singular person again. That was a really big process. I learnt a lot. I grew a lot. I’m happy about the no-mess, no-conflict, no-hard feelings ending we had. It was mutual. She’ll always have a place in my heart and I only wish the best for the life she’s going to live. I hope she rocks it and I hope she finds happiness. I genuinely do.

A simple way to sum up the turbulence the year had to offer is that there was lots of change. A new job, no more freelance, no more games (only in the latter half of the year – I’ve been addicted to games for many years, and keep falling out of/into long stretches of compulsive gaming), a lot of new friends, a lot of missing old friends, the decay of an old hobby, the beginning of a new hobby. It’s an evolving life, and I’m forever adapting.

The second half of the year was… full. I dislike using the word ‘busy’, because being ‘busy’ insinuates that you’re out of control. ’I’m too busy’, like the things you are doing are more important than the life you’re living. Ugh. Vom.

It was full. Deliberately. I tried to fill it as fast and as much as I could after the break up – as you do. I filled it with friends and photography. It was fun. It still is.

I haven’t been single for longer than 3 months in almost 6 years. It feels weird. But I think right now I need to be happy on my own and that means more time to work on who I want to be.

Now that I have this time, if I had to sum up 2017 in one word as a core tenant of how I want to live it, I would say ‘unrelenting’.

Not unrelenting in a negative way, but more so describing the sentiment towards the ‘go get it’ attitude I want to have this year.

I don’t believe in ‘New Years Resolutions’ – I think goals should be iterative, and a year-long iteration is a sure-fire way of not reaching the destination. I’m always looking to refine my goals regularly to keep myself on track, and now that I’m single, I think it’s really the time to start being really driven about obtaining those goals. It’s time to work hard – I really don’t have any other excuse.

I still want to set myself up to be a digital nomad, not because I think I’d leave product and UX design any time soon – I like it too much – but I still love what the digital nomad journey represents. I love the idealistic nature of what life would be like at the destination. It’s alluring.

That’s not to say I’m closed to opportunities. Life has a funny way of offering them, and it’s good to train your eyes and mind to see when they come. But I think it’s always good to have a strong focus on what you’re doing and not settling on a drastic deviation of the path you’re chosen unless you’re certain it’ll help you in the long run.

In 2017 I’ll still be doing the normal rituals that enhance my life, bit by bit. Reading at least 2 non-fiction books (> 200 pages) a month, doing Lumosity 5 days a week, going to the gym 3-5 days a week, meeting at least 1 new person every fortnight, no binging on games, no watching tv series (unless it’s ‘The Grand Tour’), and dedicated practice on my hobby of choice for at least 1-2 hours every day. Hell, I might even focus on savings this year, too. Instead of spending money on crap I’ll end up throwing out anyway (like as if photography isn’t an expensive enough hobby).

All this to say that I think 2017 will have an unrelenting focus to it. I’m already quite focused, but the next 364 days will narrow-in a lot more than previous years. I have this nebulous ‘north star’ destination, which is to ‘set myself up’ by the time I turn 30. That is to say, I want freedom in 2 years time. Freedom meaning out of debt, the ability to move locations if I wish, the ability to change vocations if I wish. I don’t have a lot of time left.

I’m excited, though! If the successes of 2016 are anything to go off, I think I’ll be in for a cracker of a year. It’s time to work hard. I know where I want to go, and I know what I need to do to get there. Time to go get it.