3 Surprising Things I Did in 2019

Time flies so fast. You wake up one January morning, make plans for the new year ahead, and before you can revisit (and re-evaluate!) your list of big-picture-goals for the past year — another year has gone by.

Last year, I declared “growth” as my word of the year. Today, as I look back, I think it would be more apt to say that 2019 was a year of “surprising growth” on my end.

What does the word “surprising” have to do with the growth that I envisioned at the beginning of the year? This listicle tells all.

1. I surprised myself by signing up for a workshop on fundamental analysis of stocks.

fundamental analysis workship with Aaron Say of First Metro Securities
fundamental analysis workshop with Aaron Say of First Metro Securities

While I was already reading up on asset management, financial markets, bonds, equities, and related concepts late in 2018, attending a fundamental analysis and valuation workshop wasn’t in the plan. It was a last-minute decision.

This year, I learned a ton about financial markets not only from the workshop but also from books and podcasts. I also attended an investor briefing of a local company who’s about to get listed in the market.

For the rest of 2019, I was glued to quarterly reports, market trends, news, and  speculation in the Philippine stock market. Observing and participating in the market last year taught me a lot about human behavior. We are undoubtedly irrational beings!

While position trading (never tried day trading!) and stock picking brought me joy (or sparked joy ala Marie Kondo) last year, these activities ate up a significant amount of my time.

Instead of checking out company disclosures, scouring forums for discussions on the next undervalued stock, and pouring over financial reports, I think I’m better off spending my time learning a new skill, reconnecting with an old friend, or making new friends.

Who knows if I’ll decide to learn about technical analysis this time around, right? Time will tell.

2. I surprised myself by doing yoga consistently.

4 people doing yoga
Meeting new friends is an added benefit

Who would have thought that I’ll stick to a yoga routine and join a yoga class consistently (also read as once to twice a week) when I swore years ago that I’m not a yoga person?

two men and two women doing yoga
New to yoga but I can definitely notice some progress!

It was a surprise for me to enjoy (despite the struggle) different yoga poses and challenge myself to level up to the next challenging pose. I assumed that my swimming and kettlebell routines were enough to keep those endorphins coming and make me feel more mindful of my body. It turns out that yoga gave me the same feeling.

The community of yogis that I met was also a clincher as to why I did yoga more frequently. They were my kind of people — sensitive, warm, but not aggressively intrusive.

Will I do more yoga this year? Definitely!

Unfortunately, I got into a minor mishap at the airport last December, and I ended up with bruises on my knees. For this reason, I’m hitting the pause button on my yoga plans for now.

3. Finally, it was a surprise for me to have never entertained the idea of going back on Facebook this year.

I deactivated my Facebook account in late 2018 because I realized that the time and energy that I spent on the social network weren’t worth it anymore. Fake news was rampant and there were acquaintances who seemed to misunderstand the meaning of “civil, intelligent conversations.”

In 2019, I half-expected that I’ll be back after a few months of sabbatical, but it never happened. Can I imagine myself back on social media this year? I can, but I don’t see the need for it right now.

Moving forward

For 2020, I intend to rekindle my love for the mountains and trails because 2019 was when I hit the pause button for outdoor activities. It wasn’t even a conscious decision for me, I just got interested in other things.

I’d also like to read more fiction this year. The fiction-to-non-fiction ratio of books I’ve read last year is probably 1:5.  It’s not a good ratio for me because I’ve always wanted to strike a balance between the two.

Monsters of Men, the third (and last) book in the Chaos Walking series, was my favorite piece of fiction this year. It was heartbreaking yet beautifully written.

monsters of men book

For non-fiction, Tasha Eurich’s Insight: The Surprising Truth About How Others See Us, How We See Ourselves, and Why the Answers Matter More Than We Think was the most impactful read of the year for me.  Her thoughts and insights on introspection, perspective-shifting (and how it’s different from empathy),and  asking “what” questions instead of “why” were aha-moments  for me.

All in all,  2019 was the year I surprised myself by doing things that were unexpected yet valuable to the growth I was envisioning for the year.

Here’s hoping that you’ll surprise yourself in the coming year!

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