A Gap Year, A Depth Year

2018 is going to be my gap and depth year.

I am becoming more certain about the decision to take a gap year and focus on things that really matter to me. Life is too short to be doing shit that doesn’t spark joy. Well, my current job is not really shitty (though the environment is). But it is a big boulder of my time every day. I want to have more space to go deeper into the values that I believe.

Go deeper, not wider is an article written by David Cain and his idea about the depth year aligns with my current perspective.

What is a Depth Year?

According to David,

No new hobbies, equipment, games, or books are allowed during this year. Instead, you have to find the value in what you already own or what you’ve already started.

You improve skills rather than learning new ones. You consume media you’ve already stockpiled instead of acquiring more.

You read your unread books, or even reread your favorites. You pick up the guitar again and get better at it, instead of taking up the harmonica. You finish the Gordon Ramsey Masterclass you started in April, despite your fascination with the new Annie Leibovitz one, even though it’s on sale.

The guiding philosophy is “Go deeper, not wider.”

When I read that, I instantly feel – this is what I need. I believe that by putting constraints, we are forced to give our attention to what’s left. For example, I’m able to write this post by setting few constraints between 5:00 am to 6:00am that are, no extra sleep, no other screens (unplug) and no mindless reading. Though it’s actually more of a short-term condition, it really works.

Now, I’m challenging myself for a year-long condition.

2018, here we go.

Don’t buy new things.

You already have everything you need. So, no clothing-shoes-bags, no gadgets, no furniture, no kitchen appliances. And A’ishah, don’t try any new beauty products and make up brands. No more journals, planners and notebooks //Exception to things that are really necessary i.e consumable.

Don’t take up new hobbies.

Focus on writing, decorative journalling (use existing deco materials), running and yoga //It’s actually Youtube and Spotify most of my free time.

Don’t get new books, ebooks and online courses.

Finish whatever you have. The books on the shelves. The books that you borrow from friends for so long. Your hundreds of e-book that you bought and downloaded but only skimmed through. The online courses you’ve enrolled on Coursera, finish them or un-enroll the one you think not so relevant anymore. The newsletter lessons in that one folder of your Gmail you’ve promised you will give time to. Brush up French and Japanese instead of taking Spanish and Thai.

And more importantly, focus, indulge, and go deeper on what you’re doing now.

Some of you might think, this is a bit extreme and depriving. As for me, I have been practicing simple living and minimalism for more than a year already and these settings are not really new. It’s just an extra settings – a clearer line and an upgame. It’s my personal choice and I promise you it doesn’t feel like deprivation at all. Instead, it is so freeing.

It doesn’t have to be a year of no shopping for you. But think about the thing/relationship/commitment that you hate or just kinda accept and not really like. Let me tell you this if you haven’t known, actually you can try to cut those things to give more time and space for things that really matter.