1. Antifragile: Eye-opening combination of philosophy, classical wisdom, biology, finance, and entrepreneurship. It now colors how I look at everything.
2. Fooling Houdini: Really fun read for a magician and fan of psychology.
3. The Big Short: Interesting back stories and great inside peek at a lot of the mortgage meltdown craziness.
- Google: Amazing company. I'm delighted daily by my peers and am learning a ton.
- Suzanne's Match Day: Medical residency Match Day is an even more anxiety-ridden event than standing in line right before you board the scariest roller coaster you can imagine. It was one of the scariest and at the same time one of the most exciting moments.
- Awesome theater: I got to see a life-changing magic show (Nothing to Hide) twice (LA and NY), as well as Book of Mormon in London and Odysseo in LA. These were all fantastic and thought-provoking in different ways.
- Tesla: The best car I've ever driven. Period. Such a pleasure and phase shift forward for cars.
- California Adventure: I had never visited the park before and finally got to see it on NYE. It was more chill than Disneyland, and I got to enjoy some of my favorites from Disney World Florida again (like Toy Story and Tower of Terror).
- Scuba with turtles: I had the privilege to dive at a "turtle cleaning station" off Waikiki beach where I saw about 50 turtles hanging out. It was surreal. Such gentle, beautiful creatures.
- The Magic Castle: I had only visited the Castle a couple times before in my life, and I set myself the goal to join as a Magician Member, which I managed to do successfully at the end of the year, passing my audition. It involved hard work and practice but also the opportunity to build some really enjoyable friendships. I look forward to taking my magic even further this year.
- Flying: Suzanne surprised me with a flying lesson for our second anniversary, and I really liked it. I finally followed up on that and take a handful more lessons toward my Private Pilot license. Flying was always the secret power I wished I had, so learning to fly for real was quite fulfilling. However, I also realized how incredibly difficult it is to be a pilot, how technical it is, how much there is to learn, and how dangerous mistakes can be (so I'm holding off on lessons for now).
- Archery: I rekindled my interest in archery when I was in Tallinn over the Spring, and I started practicing more regularly in our local archery range. The feeling of loosing an arrow (when it goes right) is really nice. Archery is so easy -- everything is in your direct control, and you just have to do the same thing each time -- but that's exactly what makes it so hard. I learned how so many small details of posture and muscle make big differences, and the journey to consistency and true physical self-control is the journey to mastery. I also learned about the super cool Archer's Paradox (video here).
- Shooting: Ever since reading Emergency, I wanted to learn about survival skills and prepare for WTSHTF. I took the first steps towards learning how to shoot by taking two safety classes and doing a lot of practice. I learned that marksmanship is very tricky and actually has a lot of parallels to archery. I also learned a lot about the psychology of preparedness and the importance of practice. All I can say is, "sights, trigger press, and follow through."
- Surfing: Surf's up, dude. I fulfilled yet another part of my childhood dream of becoming a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle by taking a few surfing lessons and practicing it in Santa Monica and Waikiki. It is super hard but also super fun. It taught me the importance of patience, the futility of certain planning/predicting when nature is involved, the way to spot and not miss real opportunities, and the way to cut your losses short when you know you should be leaving but want to "just catch one more wave."
- Stand-up paddleboard yoga: I love both SUP and yoga, so I knew I had to try the combo. And it was awesome. Being upside down and seeing water and sky all around you (inverted) gave me a totally new perspective. Also, it was way harder to balance, so every "easy" pose was a new challenge. Also, the incorporation of the potential fall into the water brought in all sorts of new thoughts and feelings that made the meditative part of the yoga way more complex. I love trying and learning new things, so this was a lot of fun, and I look forward to doing it again.
- Travel to Moscow: Last time I was there was 11 years ago, and it has changed so much. It was amazing being able to go to the Bolshoi Theater, read the supertitles in Russian, and party with some classmates who live there. It was also surreal to visit the Soviet-era apartment building where I spent the first five years of my life. It was just like I remembered it when I visited 11 years ago. Some things change, and some don't. Having learned more about history and traveled more allowed me to appreciate some new sides to the city.
There is so much mystery and magic in the world around us. There is no need for something supernatural or out of this world to impress or inspire; just look around you at people and nature, and that will be the greatest source of awe. I love how magic can recreate this experience of awe and wonder in a controlled setting and reignite curiosity in others.
When I went dolphin watching in Moorea, I learned how fascinating these beautiful creatures are. My mind was blown when I learned that dolphins breathe totally consciously and need to sleep one hemisphere of their brain at a time as they continue to consciously swim and breathe with the other hemisphere. Now if that doesn't show you how freaking cool science, nature, and reality are, then I don't know what will.
I also learned how critical practice and diligent craftsmanship are to creating the results you want for yourself. I want to take pride in what I do and produce, and that comes with really hard work and lots of practice doing things that are not very glamorous.
I tried lots of new things and opened myself up to tons of new experiences. That was really fun for me. I also achieved a number of my goals, like successfully ramping up with Google and passing my Castle audition.
Things that were bad
I slacked off in some of my relationships and could've done better to keep in touch with close friends. I also overstretched myself and didn't go deep enough in the areas that showed promise. I also rushed myself too often and failed to stop and smell the flowers sufficiently. I also failed to push forward my exercise and physical training regimen as much as I would've liked.
Focus on a few critical areas. Time to go deep. Set some ambitious goals in a couple areas and work towards them. No excuses on health-related goals. Invest the time to build and strengthen some new friendships I've been starting to cultivate. Do a few things that will let me find myself and my next big projects in life.