December 28, 2011


It is perhaps, disingenuous to write a review, a wrap-up of the year after this site has been offline for over 365 days. My silence on this space has been deliberate, to a certain extent; I have devoted 2011 to myself, to fixing things that needed to be fixed, and to come to a better understanding of who I am and who I want to be.

This does not mean that I haven’t been sharing, writing, or publishing — I continue to write extensively for Sympatico and other websites, and have been sharing thoughts and links on Twitter regularly — but it has meant that I decided not to share much on this space, a space so deeply tied to my name and image, until I had taken stock of what it is I wanted to share.

Taking stock often means collecting data and metrics about one’s life. I have been, in the past, miserable at keeping records, keeping track of my patterns, routines, activities, intentions. In 2011 I have been much better, and it seems as though I am not the only one. The idea of the quantified self has exploded this past year with many services and products launching to help people get better data about who they are and what they do.

I do not use any of those new products or services, but have instead better leveraged some of the tools I have always had at my disposal and have used them to get further insight. My data collection has been deliberately meek and meagre, but it has been enough for me to understand, a little better, what drives me to be who I am right now. Here’s a snapshot of some of those numbers:

  • In the past 365 days, I have bought 296 cups of coffee; mostly americanos, mostly at Starbucks.

  • In 2011, I took 18 flights, 6 train rides, and numerous road trips, all to 17 cities in five countries around the world.

  • This past year, I lost 86 pounds. My BMI dropped by 15 points, and my body fat percentage went down by 11 percentage points.

  • Over 52 weeks, I read 36 books, over 1,600 articles and pieces of long-form journalism, every single issue of the New Yorker and Esquire that was published in the calendar year, and hundreds of more blog posts and short pieces of commentary.

  • I fell in love several thousand times this year — that is, I fell in love with the same woman, over and over, dozens of times each day. I fell in love with her every time I saw her smile, every time I closed my eyes and thought of her smile, and every time I saw something that I thought would make her smile.

  • My 2011 was made up of 14 live sporting events, 9 live concerts, 7 nights out at the theater, 3 trips to the ballet, and 2 evenings at the opera.

  • In 365 days, I attended 5 weddings, 4 funerals, 3 engagement parties, and got to celebrate the births of 2 of my friends’ children.

These are a few numbers that marked my 2011. There are many more.

Yes, life is more than a sum of its parts, but sometimes breaking down the parts helps us to understand the whole. The sum may not be who we are, but it helps us understand who we’ve become.

Happy new year, everyone.