I usually do this kind of lists at the end of each year. I did one in 2009 and one in 2010. But, as I decided to change my approach towards these events, with my taming monkey challenge replacing my new year resolutions, I thought it would be wise to go further and move this list to my birthday. Exactly, today I’m marking my first year from my fifth decade. I will save you the usual “blah-blah” about how cool it is (although it is cool, you know) and get to the point.
1. Did My First Paragliding Flight
It was a tandem flight, early this spring in Christchurch, New Zealand. Been there just a couple a days before the earthquake. Learning to fly was perhaps the most important thing I did this year. Looking forward to try it again.
2. Got My First Tattoo
Another transformational experience – although one may argue that it wasn’t such a big deal, and, perhaps, according to one’s values system, one may be right. But for me, it was kinda of a big deal. Even wrote a blog post about getting your first tattoo.
3. Visited Hong Kong
On my way back from one of the trips in New Zealand I decided it was the time to stop a few days in Hong Kong. Didn’t write anything on the blog about it, but it was an amazing experience, especially because of the contrasts. Also, Victoria Park is easily among the top ten destinations in my agenda, anytime.
4. Ditched My Biggest Speaking Gig
In favor of my final divorce meeting, that is. I got called to speak at a Microsoft event, which included all the 250 middle and top managers of the Romanian operations, but as the events unfolded, turned out that my final divorce meeting was exactly at the same time. Went with the divorce, Microsoft may be out there for a while too, but the other opportunity may have not. 😉
5. Got My Biggest Consulting Contract
In December last year. It was supposed to last for 6 months but it ended after 3. Nevertheless, it was a very important step for me, as it marked my re-entrance in the field, after my 2 year non-compete agreement (following my exit in 2008) expired.
6. Ate Raspberries From My Own Garden
A year before I ate strawberries from my own garden, so it was time to upgrade the game a little bit. I used to eat raspberries each time I was visiting my parents, so having them in my own backyard was a bit unusual. Nevertheless, they were equally tasty.
7. Rented My House
I used to be very reluctant to this idea. But the moment I realized I was living somebody else’s dream, the whole process unfolded very easily. I was able to find a tenant basically without searching, although the location of my former house was quite remotely and isolated.
8. Moved Into A Rented Apartment
By far the highlight of the last few months. It was a very important move for me, as it marked the beginning of a new phase. Not much tied up to a certain place, on any level (financial, emotional, you name it). It’s been almost a month since I did this and it’s getting better and better each day.
9. Started To Run
It was part of my taming monkeys routine, but it was an activity which lasted beyond the monthly challenge. Since I moved downtown I find it a little bit difficult to get myself out and run (perhaps because autumn stepped in too and it gets a bit colder in the morning) but I’m committed to continue this.
10. Started To Tame My Inner Monkeys
In other words, replaced my new year resolutions with a series of 12 monthly challenges, in which I intended to tame an inner monkey. This month is the month of relationships and believe me, I had quite a few breakthroughs in this area.
11. Had My First Holiday Outside The Country With My Daughter
We visited Switzerland and stayed at my sister, who lives there. Flying from Romania to Switzerland, changing planes in Germany, and everything in between, well, it was quite and adventure.
12. Made My First Promotion Video
If you visited my blog during the last 2-3 months you may have seen it. If you didn’t, here’s a direct link to YouTube. It has, at the moment of writing, more than 7500 views. Which, to be honest, is a bit mind boggling for me. It was an afternoon work with a friend, using a Cannon DSLR camera and a Mac.
13. Published Brilliantly Better, The Ebook
Well, the above video was made to promote one of my ebooks, namely Brilliantly Better, a collection of some of my most visited articles on this blog. Turned out the promotion video became way more popular than the ebook, 😉
14. Published All My Ebooks On iBookStore And Kindle
It was really a huge undertaking. In the process, I also wrote an article on self-publishing, which turned out to be one of the most popular on the topic. More than 100 comments (at the moment of writing).
15. Got My First Publisher Agreement
As of October 2011, I sold the distribution rights for two of my ebooks to a Korean publisher. It was my first experience of that kind ever, and, regardless of the financial outcome (which may, or may be not huge) I’m incredibly happy I reached this point.
16. Got On Board Of WPSumo
It was one of my business goals for this year, to get on board of at least 3 companies. WPSumo was the first one. In the first half of the year it was a bit of a roller-coaster, mainly because my two partners in this had different ideas and expectations. But it all came to a (happy) end, and now I’m again on top of this project, with a new team.
17. Got On Board Of WeGetThere
It’s a very interesting project, aiming at bringing crowdfunding for travelers. I don’t have any operational role in it, and this is perhaps why I’m feeling a bit estranged, because I only know to take on a business on the operational side. But I’m slowly learning to be just an advisor. 🙂
18. Hit A Glass Wall With My Head
Literally. In the middle of a busy street, in Bucharest. I’m pretty positive this was a first for me, and that’s why I felt the need to put it in this list. Not to mention that it gave me quite a bit of material for another blog post.
19. Launched iAdd Lite
iADD it’s my iPhone/iPad app for time and task management. It’s in fact a life management framework, but it’s easier for people to understand what it does if I just say it’s “time and task management”. iADD Lite is the free version of this, with a limitation of 5 items per realm.
20. Flew With A Helicopter For The First Time
It was during the visit to New Zealand, in Rotorua, which, by the way, it’s a very nice place to visit. The experience was amazing, having just a less than a centimeter thick glass between you and the 500 meters below-of-you earth, well, that’s something I would do over, and over and over. 🙂
21. Almost Did Sky-diving
In other words, I did the closest thing to it, namely “floating” on very powerful air pump. In Rotorua, still. Also, an amazing experience. I think I’ll do this every day, if I could.
22. Ate A Hangi Dinner
That’s a traditional Maori dinner, cooked under the ground. One of the tastiest meals I ever had. Shifting from cannibalism to animal meat may have forced Maori to get creative with their meals. Joke aside, if you’re in New Zealand, you gotta try this.
23. Rode An Amphibian Boat
It was a “duck”, or one of the boats used by allies in the “D day” in Europe. It was the real thing and we had a tour over the lakes around Rotorua, as well as riding the normal roads in between, as a regular car. The driver was one of the funniest man I met.
24. Ate Grapes From My Own Garden
In line with the raspberries thing, eating grapes from my own garden was also an important highlight of this year. Especially since I didn’t take as much care as I wanted about that backyard vineyward.
25. Went To A Sting Concert
With my son, and that made the whole experience so much better. I’m not much of a concert goer, so that concert, along with the next ones, were very powerful experience for me. Not to mention Sting was exceptional.
26. Went To A Bon Jovi Concert
Again, pretty much because Victor, my son, wanted to go. It was also the first time they were in Romania, and they did their best to do a good job. And they succeeded, a great experience.
27. Went To The Sea With My Son
For the first time that is, for his 14th anniversary. We had a blast and, provided that all the conditions to go again will be in place, I look forward to do this again.
28. Hired People Again
It was part of my consultancy gig, but nevertheless, a strong experience, one that I didn’t have for the previous two years. I still have the skills and intuitions when it comes to assembling people together in teams. I must use this again.
29. Witnessed My First New Zealand Quake
It was a small one, just two days before the real earthquake that shook New Zealand, and Christchurch, specifically, so hard. What’s interesting, though, is that our initial travel schedule was altered, we were supposed to be in Christchurch exactly during the quake. I guess sometimes we just get lucky.
30. Held My First 5 Stars Hotel Teambuilding
Actually, it was a combination of “5 stars” in this: the client, a department of one of the biggest banks in Romania, as well as the hotel in which we were staying, an actual 5 stars facility. Although I traveled the world back and forth, I’m sure I never stayed in 5 stars hotel before.
31. Threw Away My High-School Notebooks
As part of leaving my former house, I decided to get rid of some of my inner baggage. I was very fond of what I wrote there and I carried those notebooks with me for the last 20 years. But letting them go was the right thing to do. You can’t grow if you don’t make room for growth.
32. Took My First TangoÂ Lesson
I didn’t continue or anything, but the mere fact that I was on a dance floor with a partner trying to learn how to tango was a big thing. It’s not on the top 5 priorities for me at the moment, but definitely something I want to pursue in the future.
33. Gave A Presentation About Astrology
It was part of an event called “Ignite” where people talk about their not so popular passions. “Coming true” about my interest in astrology was a big challenge. After the presentation, though, I was literally overwhelmed with requests for astrology readings. I still do some free readings from time to time since then.
34. Held A Workshop On How To Be A Digital Nomad
With a surprisingly numerous audience. I was surprised how little people knew about this lifestyle. Also, this reminded me of how thick the walls we are rising around us are. It’s so difficult to be open about new perspectives.
35. Stepped Away From Facebook
That was a very big decision. As part of my intention to step away from virtual existence in favor of a more grounded life, I decided to step down my game into social media. I had to reopen my account because I’m signed up with Facebook on too many sites, but I’m not active anymore. Maybe I’ll get over it, but right now it seems shallow, empty and ridiculous, compared with the options I have to spend my time in real life.
36. Stepped Out And Got Back On Board Of Venture Connect
Venture Connect is an event aiming at connecting entrepreneurs with investors. Early in spring I decided I don’t have the time nor the resources to deliver, so I stepped out. But, after a discussion with the founder of this event, I decided to get back in, on a more lighter and flexible position. It was
37. Started To Eat Paleo
It’s just a fancy name for eating normal food, without the bells and whistles of raw veganism or vegetarianism. With all due respect, being a raw food or a vegetarian became much more of a social statement (and a cool, cult-like thing) than a commitment to eat healthier. Following Tim Ferris’ The 4 Hour Body, I learned that one can live a perfectly healthy life by allowing meat to be part of their diet.
38. Launched The Forums On DragosRoua.com
It wasn’t very crowded on those forums, and it still isn’t, but I didn’t expect it to be, anyway. I just wanted to give my readers the opportunity to have a board where they can write other stuff than just commenting. I don’t even care if it will take off, it just looks good as it is. 🙂
39. Had Fun
It may look like a strange thing to put on such a list, but believe me, it was something that was very rare to me, at least during the year before this one. Too much stuff to manage, to keep from falling down, to take care of. Well, since I actually let it crash and burn, I rediscovered how simple it is to have fun again. 🙂
40. Stepped Down Blogging
This was the third year of blogging on this domain, and it was by far the smallest in terms of number of posts. But the traffic grew constantly. As I already said it in some of the latest posts, I will continue to write here, but unbiased by what “I should” do in terms of frequency and topics.
41. Accepted Change
It wasn’t a specific moment for this, but rather a series of incremental “a-ha” moments. During my 41st year I understood not only that my life as I knew it was over, but that a new one, richer beyond imagination, is unfolding. All I had to do was to accept it. And from the moment I moved out, a month ago, things are evolving at the speed of light. 🙂
Running For My Life - from zero to ultramarathoner
The spooky thing about depression is that it sneaks in. There aren’t really trumpets and loud voices announcing: “Hail, hail, this is depression entering the room, all rise!” Nope. It’s slow, silent, creepy. It doesn’t even look like depression. It starts with small isolation thoughts like: “Maybe I shouldn’t get out today, I just don’t feel like going out”. And then it does the same next day. And then the day after that and so on. And then it starts to whisper louder and louder in your ears: “Why would you go outside, you loser? Didn’t have enough yet? Want more people to make fun of how much of a big, fat loser you are?”
And then you start to breath in guilt and shame, instead of air. Every breathe you take is putting more dark thoughts into your body.
Until you get stuck. You can’t move anymore. At all.
If you want to know how I got out of this space, eventually, check out my latest book on Amazon and Kindle.