Another Run Around the Sun

With credit for the title to Ben Taylor, I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while now — it’s been brewing back there in my brain since about July, if you can believe it. It’s about what an incredibly good year 2005 was for me (and my family, I trust), and a few reflections that I’ve got as I turn 35 (last week).

Now: I’m in a slightly wacky emotional state just now. I sent Kathy & Sam to San Antonio this morning as I got on a plane to Tokyo — so that’s a mixture of emotions that include a little melancholy, anticipation, curiosity, excitement and just a touch of loneliness and uncertainty. (Will it be just like Lost in Translation??) Add to that mix that I just read through an old standby speech of Guy Kawasaki that is both incredibly sappy and pretty close to right on the mark. (You should take 5 minutes and read it! Even if it means not reading all the junk that I’m putting up today.)

Here’s the punch line: 2005 was the best year I’ve ever had. Nikhyl has a little 3 piece lens that he looks at his life through: Family & Friends, Health, and Work. It leaves out the critical College Sports category, but let’s set that one aside for the moment.

On every category life is just great. Family & friends should be obvious — I was very lucky (and supported by Kathy) to spend the first 6 months of the year not working, taking time off. I connected with a whole ton of people that I hadn’t been spending nearly enough time with. Sam came in July and is such a joy that I can’t really find the words to appropriately describe how I feel. Kathy & I are as close as we’ve ever been, I think, in spite of the massive sleep deprivation (because of it?? :-). I learned a lot about how strong & graceful & capable Kathy is in 2005. Stuff that I knew, pretty much, but so clear so many times during the year.

Got to see a lot of our folks (Sam’s grandparents!) and our grandparents and aunts & uncles and brothers and sisters and nephews and nieces during the year, in various pregnancy and eventually Sam-related events. Our folks were all incredible in supporting us and loving Sam — we’re lucky to have such support. Spent a lot of time with Beth’s family, of course — I can’t believe how big Andrew & Katie & Emily are — and how good they are to Sam & how much they love him. Andrew’s soccer games were great fun to go to — I’m excited for the Spring season. Beth and Scott were awesomely supportive as well, during everything. Got to see Dave’s family at Christmas — he and Sue are doing great with Evan & Grace — both awesome kids and also terrific with Sam. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins — it’s just been a year full of very good visits.

On the health side, I figured out how to get my body under control a little bit — lost 40 pounds between December and April — and now weigh a little less than I did in high school. Am absolutely fitter than I’ve ever been and I’m starting to understand more about my body and how what I do affects it. We’ll see how this plane trip to Tokyo treats my back, but it’s better than it has been in a long time. Again, of course, Kathy was critical — first with the whole sugar-momma thing where she worked and I pretty much spent my time working on the yard, going to the gym, and playing Warcraft. She really helped me focus in on getting to where I wanted to get to, even during a time of her life when odd things were happening to her body during the first half of the year (we call them “Sam”).

And work is totally great. I feel like by joining Mozilla I jumped right into the center of the Internet. My job is exciting, challenging, thought-provoking, frustrating, unpredictable, and, basically fun. I do miss Reactivity — working with those folks was a special privilege — I miss seeing them every day. (Well, seeing them like every 10th day or so, which is about how often I was in the office. Man, that was a lot of travel.) I’m advising a few startups, too, and generally doing the sorts of technology startup work and networking that I do. While I just felt tired when I left Reactivity, now I’ve got lots and lots of ideas (some good, some bad) and am excited to think about them.

I think to those three categories, I’ll add a fourth: public life. I was appointed to the Board of Trustees of the Sunnyvale Library in June, for a 4 year (!) term, by the City Council. It’s a small entry into public and community life, but an important one for me, with an impact on something I care a lot about.

But more than that laundry list, here’s the thing — in Guy’s aforementioned speech, he says “Pursue joy, not happiness” — and I’ll tell you that I have more moments of joy these days than ever. The only other time in my life I can really compare it to is about 15 years ago — I was an undergrad at Stanford and in the springtime I’d often get finished with classes (or skip them — sorry Mom) and then wander over to Sunken Diamond with Bryan or Al to watch a baseball game and have a Lemon Slushee. Or even just an inning or two. I remember thinking about how great that was — what a carefree, easy time it was — and how I was lucky to notice and understand what a special time it was while I was still experiencing it. I feel that way now. Lots of moments of joy. Some obvious, some subtle. Some happy, carefree joy, some deep & profound.

Anyway, I warned you that I was in an emotive state. 🙂

I hope we all have a 2006 that is full of joyful moments.