Reflections on 2008

This is something I’ve been meaning to write for a while but haven’t got around to it. I just need some time to think!

2008 was a weird year for me. I started the first two months still on the road, traveling from Guatemala to Belize to Mexico and then back to New York. I actually didn’t write that much in 2008 when I was travelling, I started pumping out less travel notes (but higher quality of course :P)

Highlights of 2008

1. Watching the NY Giants v Green Bay Packers in New York

Then celebrating the win by running riot in Times Square. We were one of the first people to get there because we literally ran there after the game finished. Who could believe that New York would win? Not even the most diehard NY Giants fan. I was interviewed by two different cameras about the win, and I knew nothing about NFL!!!

2. Watching the David Letterman show live

3. Saying goodbye to my Mexican host family in Playa Del Carmen

I promised to send them pictures but still haven’t – I will one day!!

4. Visiting Washington DC

A very profound place where I wrote something really deep about what I saw – the monuments, the poverty, the history.

5. Playing competitive basketball again

I actually hadn’t played any form of basketball in a long long time since April 2007, when someone tripped me over and landed awkardly on both my knees.

I started playing two nights a week, Mondays at Bankstown and Tuesday at Hurstville.  To be honest, I hadn’t played comp basketball since university finished save the odd game (mixed basketball doesn’t really count). I also started playing more frequently at my old high school, once or twice on the weekend in addition to twice during the week.

I really do feel like now I’m a much better player, more confident having played a lot more and with and against better players.  I must give some credit to playing with Adam Labbad and Bardya for teaching some of the finer nuances of the game.  Sometimes, at Bankstown I would stay back after the game and shoot around and once I went there when we didn’t have a game and practiced myself. The highlight must be of course scoring like 14 successive shots in a pick up game at Kingsgrove high school against Chuck & co (which I’ll never hear the end of and probably will never be repeated).

As you can see basketball is a big part of my life and always will be.

6. Seeing my family again after my trip and being able to sleep in my own bed & having home cooked food: this really should rank higher on my list.

7. Deciding to start a new career

I made a big decision to try something new. I wanted to do something I could be passionate about, was challenging and that had some creativity around it. For someone that was trained in accounting and law (two relative conservative fields), having a really good job I could go back to and great colleagues, it didn’t make the decision easy. But I was on momentum thing when I came back and it was kinda like now or never. I was 26, and if there was a time to make a change, it was now.

I had a really supportive workplace. Even though I wanted to make a change and I wasn’t really sure what, my old workplace tried to facilitate that. People gave me tips about what to do and my old boss, Matt Turner was really understanding and helped me get my mind right in terms of what steps I needed to take. And I thank him for that.

I decided to look elsewhere and decided to work at a place called Next Digital, where I work on a bunch of different things. That was one of the reason I chose to work at this place, because they did everything from websites, email marketing, search engine marketing, SMS, etc…So far it’s been pretty good as I’m very into the internet so it’s been a good fit.

8. Going to advertising school

As I was thinking about embarking on a new career, I needed some fresh knowledge and I had a lot of time since I was unemployed. So I enrolled in AFA Advertising School.  I decided to do one subject to test it out “Media Buying & Planning”. I really wanted to do “Account Management”, but this was the only course that was available. It ended up being pretty interesting and I made some new friends.  Plus I got a distinction – I aced the final exam!!!!

9.  Melbourne (twice)

Before I started my job, I booked a trip with my two best friends Tim & Ashby to Melbourne. It was a good trip and we stayed at some dodgy hostel. We checked out this place called Nightcat club, the GameOn exhibition, met up with Tim’s Melbourne friends,  saw DJ Roc Raida and had a pretty good time.

I also went to Melbourne for my company’s end of year Xmas bash. That was cool because the company paid for it, and I stayed a couple of extra nights. Also, I had a bunch of mates Limo & Christian that were also there and we hit up da clubs!!!

Oh yes, I also went to my favourite kebab place Stacalities twice in a year! How good was that.

10. Being a part of RICEFest & seeing Mark Driscoll speak

I’m not very big on attending Christian events, but last year I actually made a conscious effort to do more. I helped run two events for high school kids as part of the RICE Festival. It’s kinda like an outreach ministry event at Homebush and the Entertainment Centre in August. So that kept me busy.

11.  Concerts – Alicia Keys, Stevie Wonder, Kanye West, Snoop Dogg/Ice Cube/Bone Thugs

I love live music and I got to see some of my favourite artists. It wasn’t cheap (except for the Snoop one which I got in for free – thanks Dan!).

12. Starting a new blog focused on digital media – www.inspiredworlds.com

Lowlights

If you have highlights in a year, you must have lowlights as well. For me there were a couple, and I think one of them was being unemployed for 2 months. When your making a career change, its never easy especially when you have no relevant experience that people can see nor studies in that area. Also, bumping into someone from my past unexpectedly was not good. And I’ll leave my lowlights at that because the highlights have far outweighed that.

I don’t feel like I did that much in 2008, but after typing all this out, I feel like I’ve had a pretty big year.  One of personal & professional growth, lots of travelling & trying new things, but also getting back into the swing of things. I feel like I have to continue trying new things in 2009 as I have regressed back into doing the “same old”. I always wanted to try a salsa class, submit some writing to a magazine ( I thought about it a lot and enquired with two magazines) but never made that extra step, and travel around Australia more.

I’m out like 2008,

Matt