Journey Inward, Circle of Control and New Year’s Resolutions

Journey Inward, Circle of Control and New Year’s Resolutions


I have not posted in quite a while, I know. Besides several work related trips, I also was away on a journey… a long overdue journey inward and I made some surprising discoveries in the process.

Now with the year coming to an end and Winter Solstice right ahead of us, for many people it’s time to take stock and make plans or resolutions for the New Year.

I have never been one to make New Year’s resolutions, as January never seemed to be a good month for me to start something new anyways. I usually gravitate to starting new things in May, which is odd, I know. It’s not a choice dictated by a calendar, not even a conscious choice, just something that has randomly happened often over the last few years, sometimes May 2nd, May 5th, May 27th, this year it was May 19th if I recall correctly.

I however do like to reflect back on the year come December to check in on important life goals. And what a turbulent year 2014 has been.

In January, I asked my partner of over 22 years for a separation. Not a decision I took lightly, for sure. Most of the times we manage to deal with each other in rather civil ways, with a few huge arguments thrown in for good measure. I finally filed for divorce and we are moving forward with the process. I am keeping the major reasons for this decision to myself, they really only concern the two of us and the two of us have had quite a few discussions about them. I am glad that most of our friends respect that I am just not talking about reasons to anybody else, period.

I am also going through some major changes in my career, which may have an impact on my overall FIRE plans including location or ideally location independence. On top of all that, I am dealing with becoming a US citizen. Stubborn humanist that I am, I did ask for a modified oath, which may complicate that process. I am furthermore in the process of downsizing, shedding weight, reorganizing my life, dealing with family health issues across oceans and a bunch of other things. Yes, you could say my plate is pretty full these days.

What on earth was I thinking when I started a second blog? Really? I know, I know!! LOL!

Certainly, I would have preferred a little bit less turbulence over the last few months, but I am also excited about the changes and new developments and the opportunities they bring.

One big step in the right direction is a stronger focus on my own needs and thoughts, what impact these have on my actions, and to concentrate more on my circle of control. I feel like I had switched my life to autopilot years ago and just recently woke up, realizing I had been flying towards a destination, I did not really want to head towards anyways. Not really a bad place, but certainly not the right one either.

Since rediscovering my long hedged goal of financial independence a couple of years back and taking charge, the circle of control matter has come up over and over. It has also been brought up by several of my favorite bloggers, including JD Roth and Mr. Money Mustache, whom I had the pleasure to meet both at an event in Seattle this last May (yep, MAY! THAT month, LOL!).

It’s a concept going way back to Seneca and the Stoics actually, further developed by Julian B. Rotter in the 50ties, that gained mainstream popularity, when Covey used elements of it in his bestseller The 7 habits of highly efficient people in the late 80ties.

The broad idea is that we can control our thoughts and our attitude, which color our experiences, so we actually choose ourselves, how we perceive the world around us. It certainly takes some training and a lot of conscious, proactive and purposeful reflection on my own thoughts and feelings.

I am getting a bit better at this, not always there. Throw in some extra hormones and a girl can get off track sometimes, especially when relationship issues are concerned. What can I say? I am only human! But all in all, rediscovering this concept has had a great impact on my little world in the last few months.

Interesting enough, it also ties in nicely with parts of my humanist elevator speech: As I humanist, I accept responsibility for my own life… Yep, I do!

I am not going to rehash the elements in detail here, as any of the above mentioned links will give you tons of further reading if you are interested. They do make good reads when faced with new challenges no matter if your resolutions start in January or May, or maybe when dealing with our lovely dysfunctional families and outside induced expectations this holiday season! Focus on what you can control and be merry!

Happy Holidays!