Vince Imbat

My 2016 Annual Review

Jan 7, 2017

Creating this annual review was deeply rewarding. It was like creating a mini-history book of my life in 2016. The latter parts of this year were still fresh in my memory but it was the earlier months of this year, which I needed to really review.

Like the historiographic projects I used to do back in college, my review of the past year involved organizing my photographs and using them to fill in the gaps of my story. I shared a few of them below. I also needed to reread my journal entries—intimate and more than truthful primary sources—to look at specific patterns of thinking that emerged throughout last year. Overall, the process was a cathartic, deeply spiritual experience, which provided valuable insights on how I evolved and changed last year and how I might thrive in this new year.

Looking back, I think 2016 was the year I really developed a deeper understanding and reluctant appreciation of the market economy. Throughout the year I confronted the issues of death, environmental degradation, vocation, poverty, and the violent “unconscious” economy. Ironically, as I progressed in my understanding of the material world, I went deeper into my spiritual journey and grew into trusting the things that we don’t see more and more—love, peace, camaraderie—as the sole refuge to what could be a harsh universe.

# My 2016 Timeline

# January

# February

# March

# April

# May

# June

# July

# August

# September

# October

# November

# December

# What Went Well

This was a great year for me business-wise.  Despite it being my first year as a real full-time freelancer, I was able to drop low-paying gigs for two high-level clients, one of which I think I’ll be keeping for a little while longer. The money I made was enough given my very minimalist lifestyle and for it I am grateful.

This was also the year I developed a more mature and conscious relationship with money. I spent more than half of the year building a foundation for my freelance writing/editing practice. Contrary to what most people think, freelancing is more difficult than traditional employment simply because a freelancer needs to handle most of the technical work, which employers handle for employees. The biggest challenge for me early on was keeping track of my earnings and managing my finances altogether. However, by September when I confronted the data from my first business year and a major project was canceled, I started to question what I was doing and spent most of October thinking about my general philosophy on money and making a living.

The inner philosopher in me has unleashed again and I started to ask questions like: What is money? Why does it even exist? Thankfully, I asked the right questions as these lead me to an important turning point in my intellectual maturity. I would say, my biggest achievement this year was my heightened awareness and consciousness on the subtle power of money and the importance of limiting my dependence on the market economy and helping our society’s transition towards a more nonviolent, environmentally-sound, and conscious economy.

# What Went Wrong

As I mentioned above, although this was a great year for me professionally and financially, I experienced a period of doubt on whether to continue freelancing particularly in September when I hit the end of my first business year (because I started freelancing full-time in September 2015). This year, I experienced the loss of a few really promising clients, I experienced a few delayed payments, and there were big projects that never materialized. In November, my first project with a foreign client was canceled. Although I was paid the entire amount, the general reference articles I wrote were not to be published. All of these greatly affected my confidence in what I was doing. I realized I could do better in terms of building my brand as a writer/editor and that is inevitable if I want to continue working in a competitive marketplace.

This year, I experienced a lot of confrontation with death. In July our family lost Helene, in August two of our most cherished dogs—Kara and Bubbles—bade farewell. They were with me during the most difficult time of my life and that hurt me more than anything. The Philippines also saw an increase of people being killed due to the war on drugs, one of which I myself saw near our neighborhood during a morning bike ride. Although these experiences are disheartening, they taught me a lot about coping with grief and developing acceptance of what is.

# What I’m Looking Forward To This 2017

While I’m open to anything that could happen in 2017, I’m looking forward to integrating all the important lessons I learned last year into making a big life and career pivot this year. My need for community is something I was not able to fully address last year despite the many interesting people I’ve met. I need to be close to where I belong if I want to thrive in the vocation I will commit myself so a relocation might be an important decision I have to make and implement this in 2017. Life is all about relationships after all and the healthiest, happiest people are those who are surrounded by the right people.

Here’s to a community-filled 2017!