The word that came to mind when I think about this year is “fast”. 2019 felt like the fastest year that I have ever experienced. One hypothesis is that the perceived speed of life only accelerates as the universe continues expand. The second hypothesis is that it was such a great year filled with wonderful moments and not a lot of negative memory to recall in between looking back. We’ll find out whether the first hypothesis is true this time next year with my remembering self looking back at 2019, 2020 might be faster.
Though 2019 wasn’t life changing, I am content with it. Not by milestones smashed, or big celebrations, but by having a clearer view of what I want in life and taking small steps towards it. Reflecting back, here are my learnings in 2019 will continue to serve as self-reminders to me, and might be helpful to others. 
1.) Know your own yardstick(s)
We’re all born with a yardstick on our back. There exist expectation on being a good child, a good student, a good citizen and to have a so-called “good life”. If you don’t know what you want yet, start with identifying the societal goal that are expected upon you: the american dream, the asian duty, or the Disney happy ever after. We take these norms as a given, and we end up living to regret chasing after other people’s expectation. There are probably wisdom embedded in these goals in life, but do questions them before you make it your own. In 21 Lessons for the 21st Century, Yuval Noah Harari mentioned “Once these algorithms know you better than you know yourself, they can control and manipulate you, and you won’t be able to do much about it.” I have to admit that a lot of time an algorithm know my reactive self better than I do, and reminding myself of my yardstick help me use the algorithm as a tool, rather than being a predicted label myself. 
One thing for me to add here is that the game of life has a multi-dimensional yardsticks. It’s filled with trade-off and nuances, and a lot of time the journey itself matters more than the destination. Once you know your multiple yardsticks, ask yourself which one are more important to you. When sacrifice calls, you can say to yourself, I chose this intently even though it might seems like I’m moving backward on my other yardstick.
2.) Consistency trumps everything in a long game
I ran more this year and I found out that the best way to improve my running, is to run consistently. There’s no magic advice, no silver-bullet training, consistency trumps everything in a long game. You are your habbits, so be aware of them and be consistent to them. It’s better to not do it well, than to skip it. Do the 150 calories jog rather than skipping the gym, keep in consistent. 
3.) Finishing More Mistakes 
Where I came short in 2019 was not making enough mistakes and not finishing enough things I started due to the fear of making mistakes and being disliked. I found this quote by Neil true beyond writing.
“If you write something, it can be improved. The problem is, you can’t fixed a blank piece of paper.”
Neil Gaiman

Parting thoughts: One of the most beautiful piece I’ve read this year is a short story called “October’s Tale”, also from Neil Gaiman. It’s about a young girl Hazel who came upon a Genie of the lamp. As Genies do, he has the power to grant wishes and ask the girl to state three. Her reply was “No, thanks and all that, but it’s fine. I’m good.” then she went on and make some tea for the Genie. 
This is the clearest picture of a life well lived. I wish for you not to need any wishes when you stumble upon the Genie in the lamp. There goes my wish .
Lastly, here are my favourite shots of 2019. 
To mistakes we will make in 2020, and forever more.
1) Bangkok’s First Sunrise
2) The Tower in Seoul
3) SF Cloudy Dawn
4) Mono Lake Sunset
5) Road to Death Valley
6) Golden Canyon
7) Mesquite Wanderer
8) Lone Rider
9) Giant Legs
10) With the Giants
11) King Canyon’s Sunset
12) Cabin in the Wood
13) Sunrise at the Tunnel
14) Cold Half Dome
15) Colors at Bridalveil Fall
16) Wake Up Tokyo
17) The River View
18) Dancing Tree
19) Color Coded
20) Shy Fuji
21) Joyful Ride
22) The Forum in Fall
23) The Train Home
24) The Lone Tree
25) Autumn’s Commute
26) Rainbow at Dawn
27) The People of Tokyo
28) Tokyo’s Curve
29) Blue Fuji
30) Farewell Light

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