Northbound: New year, new journey ahead

Onward to 2017! But first, a look back at our New Year’s resolutions from 2016.

Looking back on my old resolutions, I did make a concerted effort last year to get to know more of my neighbors and make new friends in our part of the region. It wasn’t easy — making new friends, particularly as an adult, can be tough. Still, I’d say I’m richer for having ten new friendships in North County, and many more elsewhere throughout the world.

Saving money — I was all over that one. Smart & Final moving to Carlsbad Village has helped me save hundreds of dollars on my grocery store bill. Dollar Store visits have also been more frequent. More than anything else, I’ve probably said “no” more last year than any other year to evenings out, trips, and purchases that would have drained my bank account. Fiscal discipline, folks. Fiscal discipline.

Career-wise, I took more time to learn new skills, new areas of research, and increased my professional visibility. I’m still trying to get the hang of Tableau, a powerful data visualization program for data geeks — think Excel/pivot tables, on steroids. I also have new coworkers and a new supervisor that challenge and motivate me to perform at a higher level in the workplace. Never a dull moment in 2016, and I think I’m in for more of the same in 2017. That’s a good thing.

For 2017, I’d like to begin taking more trips of self-discovery. That doesn’t necessarily mean leaving town — it’s really taking the time and effort to get to know myself more — test my abilities, and find the edges of my limitations.

To live beyond doubt and fear, and share what I have with the world and my loved ones. Reading, meditation, and a good conversation can begin to chip away at the image I have of myself, and the person I really am.

Actual trips too are helpful for the journey of self-discovery. Last fall, I shared my plans for a trip to Portugal, and I’m happy to say that trip has been coming together neatly since the holidays. I’ve already booked my hotel reservation, and slowly begun figuring out what I’ll need to bring with me (and what’s left on my travel purchase list). I’ve also taken this opportunity to reach out to a few friends who may join me along the way, and possibly even my parents, which I think would be a lot of fun.

Going places that take us off autopilot, out of our comfort zones, and force us to think, interact, and learn, are places we all need to be. Perhaps with age, a cushy routine is a reward, a luxury even, but what do we lose in the process? The joy of discovery, and learning more about ourselves and the world around us.

I’ve given a lot of encouragement to my readers to explore Southern California, local breweries, and Baja — there’s no reason not to, especially in 2017. We have a three-day weekend coming up soon — maybe take on your new year’s resolutions, and learn more about life outside of North County. You’ll be glad you did.

Vince Vasquez is an economist based in Torrey Pines. He is a Carlsbad resident.

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