The task of restarting the depth year again
Over the past few months, I’ve been feeling stagnant. I’ve been jumping around, chasing after people’s goals, and losing sight of my own. It happens every now and then, more often than I’d prefer it.
In part, it’s because I’m not quite sure what exactly I want.
Or what I want is intrinsically there, except I just haven’t figured out how to define it at a conscious level.
People have told me it’s because of my lack of conviction and aversion to a traditional 9–5. But I have my personal reasons for going against the ‘expected’ life path.
- a 9–5 doesn’t work in Auckland (New Zealand) when the work is most likey in central city. What does this look like? 45 minutes commute each way, 15 minutes buffer time at the stops, 15 minutes to get to the stop. That’s almost 3 hours of my life drained away each day, 5 days a week. There has to be more to it than that.
- I’m not mentally ready to subject my toddler to daycare life from 7am to 6pm, 5 days a week. I know she starts school in a few years, but that’s within walking distance and 9–3 kind of hours. It’s a completely different mentality and structure. My baby still needs her mommy.
- I’m almost at the salary ceiling. That’s it. No matter how hard or smart I work, I’m still going to get paid the same.
- Job security is a myth. It’s income security you want. You can lose your job at any given moment’s notice. That’s what happened to me back in 2018 when the billionaire that owned the company pulled the plug on the brand and called it quits. I don’t think I ever properly recovered from the experience. It was that moment I realized how disposable I was. I hated the feeling and never want to put myself in that situation again.
Over the years, I’ve been deconstructing success, what it looks like, and how it’s supposed to feel. It led me to the conclusion that what I was taught and internalized are all superficial values. It’s all for show. None of it was from an internal ‘want’ of it.
I never really got to explore what that ‘want’ is. It’s always been one thing after the next, checking boxes and doing things to collect credits, accolades, certificates, degrees, and anything else that involves external recognition. I never allowed myself to figure myself out, after all these years.
So I’ve been reflecting. How can I morph this conditioning into something productive towards a system that benefits me?
Because that’s what success looks like to me: to create a system that nourishes you from the inside and makes you calmly happy.
Why calm happiness? Because it’s stable rather than a fleeting burst of elation. That’s how flames die. It’s the slow-burning stuff I want for my life.
Last year, I went on a depth year. It started out strong until I fizzled out. In part, because I got bored learning in a linear process. I recently tried to kickstart my depth year again but failed.
After some reflection and observation, it failed because I didn’t have clear and measurable goals. So I’ve decided to reframe how I proceed with my depth year and I’m going to commit to it for the next three years.
Why three years? Because that’s how long a usual bachelor’s degree is. Rather than go down the formal education route, I’m hoping to go down a self-created curriculum that’s aimed at personal development, skills enhancement and, general mental growth. A lot can happen in three years, so I’m banking it as a personal time investment.
So what does it look like?
They’re going to be structured as projects and start with the following question: how long will it take me to…
The ending part of this question will define what the project is and what the expected outcome looks like.
I’ve inverted the usual way of doing things, where I set a time frame and try to do as much as I can. Instead, I’m aiming to take my time to do whatever is necessary to achieve the outcome. Time estimates are never accurate, especially if you’re trying to do something new. In these situations, I’m just going off what I think are best-case estimates without knowledge of potential road bumps, delays and knowledge bottlenecks. But if I use an outcome first approach, then there’s a clear and defined goal to reach rather than a time limit to hit.
I feel that if I work with projects and outcomes, rather than arbitrary learning milestones, I might make something concrete from my depth year rather than just floating around, hoping for the best.
Over the weekends, I drafted up a list of things I want to learn in this new how long will it take me to… format. It might take a few months. It might take up an entire year. Whatever the case, let’s see how long will it take me to complete this list, or at least a few things on it.