2017 - A lookback
2017 was a fantastic year. I am a believer in using the word fantastic as much as I am allowed to, but this time I truly mean it. It was funny, it was mysterious, it was inspiring and wondrous and joyful and horrendous and cripplingly sad. There was a lot that happened this year - I finally finished business school, moved to my favorite city and started living on my own again. I met some interesting people, almost drowned in a flood, and saw the total eclipse in all the glory of Mother Nature. I went to South East Asia for the first time, ran hundreds of miles collectively, and had the general time of my life overdosing on peak TV.
I have always meditated about writing a lookback post, but I never have. So this year, I’m writing one from November, collecting my thoughts, gathering all things good and bad that have happened to me this year and putting them all here. I’m talking about the best of all the books, TV, trivia, cinema and more I’ve experienced this year.
Best articles I read this year
I read hundreds of articles in the entire year, and it is impossible to distill them down to a select few. Here are some I have in my recent memory, and from my Pocket saved lists:
Solitude and Leadership
Why do we work so hard?
Does anyone want to be well read?
You’ll never be famous - and that’s okay
( Includes this fantastic nugget: You don’t have to change the world or find your one true purpose to lead a meaningful life. A good life is a life of goodness — and that’s something anyone can aspire to, no matter their dreams or circumstances.)
How Netflix reverse engineered Hollywood
I had a target of reading 50 books this year. I have managed to read 36 books this year, about 10005 pages in all. While I’m sad I didn’t touch 50, I’m glad I’ve come this far. Here are some of my best books:
Best fiction books I read this year
- The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
- Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke
- Em and the Big Hoom by Jerry Pinto
- The Vegetarian by Han Kang
- The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
Best non-fiction books I read this year
- The Most Controversial Decision by Wilson D. Miscamble
- A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
- Being Mortal by Atul Gawande
- The Wisdom of Finance by Mihir A. Desai
Best TV shows I saw this year
I’m counting the shows that I saw this year, and not necessarily shows that were made this year.
- Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency on BBC
- Planet Earth 2 on BBC
- Brooklyn Nine Nine on Fox
- Master of None on Netflix
- BoJack Horseman on Netflix
Best movies I saw this year
- Logan Lucky
- The Big Sick
- Baby Driver
Things I failed at
- Staying in shape
- Learning how to swim
- Not reducing my fear of dogs enough
Best things that have happened to me
I think one of the best things that happened to me this year is one of the best things that has ever happened to me.
In 2012/13, I made a friend on Quora and Twitter, Kevin. He was a brilliant guy who wrote some great essays. We became penpals of sorts, and in conversations, he would tell me about how he’s writing a book and how it was a difficult task. I encouraged him as best as I could, asking him to not give up because I knew he had some really interesting thoughts to share.
Fast forward to this year and I realize he’s finished his book! I congratulated him and that’s when I understand that he’s actually named me in the book’s preface. This is one of the most heartwarming things that has ever happened to me. What a warm fuzzy feeling that was.
Best original thought
I barely wrote new things this year, which means my best post was this original post - Last. This was a deeply personal post I wrote about my last day at XLRI - when I climbed on the roof of our hostel with a bunch of friends and just sat in quiet and watched the skyline.
Plans for next year
Next year’s plans are simple - to write more. I think the only logical step from reading is to write something for yourself. I also want to not abandon Chinese, and finish the Beginner Course. Only making very few plans and hoping to stick to them. Let’s leave some room for 2018 to surprise, shall we not? :)
Happy New Year!