It was today, back in 2007, due to some health-related complications I almost died — and when I came out of the hospital, I knew that things wouldn’t be the same again. I have had to change — a lot — and looking back most of it has been for good.
For instance, after a lifelong three pack a day smoking habit, I have been smoke-free for eleven years. Think of it as a gift of almost dying.
And every single anniversary of what arguably was a distinctively unpleasant day, I am reminded that in the end, we are never in control, or that looking back, somehow dots all connect. Whatever seems to be the very worst situation, turns out to be just the start of a new chapter of possibilities.
As luck would have it, my re-birthday is also an opportunity to take stock of the bonus year I have been gifted. Professionally, as an investor, 2018 was the first year where I came to terms with the ebb-and-flow of the profession. Some of the current portfolio companies graduate to become part of other larger operations. It was also a year of becoming part of new opportunities. But most importantly, it was a year where most profound satisfaction came from helping other founders deal with the ebb-and-flow of the startup life.
On a personal front, I think 2018 was a mixed bag. Health was at times challenging primarily due to sleep-related challenges. It took a while to figure out, but in the end, apnea was the culprit — an easily fixable problem.
This year, I think I became better at photography, it came at a price — I stopped writing with a regular cadence. My stats snapshot shows that I wrote only 157 blog posts during the year, a sharp decline from 2017 — in fact, the lowest amount of blog posts since I started to blog. Even Pi.co lay fallow for the entire year. I was unable to finish other writing projects on time. It is hard to admit, but I finally ran I into the dreaded writer’s block.
So what did I do with my year? I traveled — a lot! Venice (the real one), Western Fjords of Iceland, Alaska, Ladakh (India), Maine and Yellowstone National Park. I spent the entire year learning and working on making photographs with film. Also on the plus side, I learned how to use Photoshop to craft my photos. I even sold two photo prints professionally. I got rid of most of my photography gear, restricting myself to two cameras — one digital and one film.
Every week of this year, I got rid of two things from my apartment, only to realize that there is so much more to eliminate from life — both physical and metaphysical. The less I have, the bigger everything in my life seems. My small apartment feels generous. My wardrobe feels airy. My mind feels open to new ideas.
As I look into 2019, I have set some goals — blog more actively, put together a small collection of my photos as a photo book, and finish my book, The Third Eye Era. From a professional perspective, if I get to meet a few fantastic founders and learn from them, I would declare it a win.
Looking forward to seeing you all, somewhere, sometime in 2019.
December 27, 2018, San Francisco