Roman Malanke

Thank You, Year 2009

The year 2009 is coming to an end. It’s hard to believe that it has been one whole decade since the millennium. The time does pass quickly and it’s true that the older we get the faster its pace seems to become. Caught in the minutiae of everyday life, we seldom get a chance to reflect on the big picture. That’s why New Year, being a tangible check point, gives us wonderful opportunity to think over what we’ve done during last year and set up our goals and resolutions for the next.

Described in one word, 2009 was the year of awareness for me. My sensation of life seems to have shaped itself to some definite and stable form. I was trying to spend every minute consciously, by doing good things that will have impact in a long run. During the year I gradually came the point where I feel ready to define my values and start developing my own personal mission statement (using Stephen Covey’s words). And even though I’m still thinking about exact wording, I know for sure that I want my life to be based on self-discipline, integrity, open-mindedness, non-complaining, and abundance mentality.

At this post I would like to report to my own self about the last year’s accomplishments along two different lines. First, I want to appraise how good I adhered to my plans and goals and then tell about the fascinating new things I experienced, learned and started during this year. Also I want to share some interesting personal statistics and of course, I’m going to set up some challenging and exciting goals for the year to come.

The Report 2009

So, I’ll start with my goals. At the beginning of the year, inspired by “4-Hour Workweek” I wrote down all the things I wanted to do, to have and to be in 2009. In terms of “to do” I basically wanted to get my first ever travelling experience. And I am happy to say that the year has brought me even more than I expected. Apart from planned trip to the U.S. in March, I got a chance to visit nothing less than “Fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada” in July, celebrating my birthday in Las Vegas, Los Angeles and in the sky above North America. Then, there was unforgettable trip to beautiful Prague for the best purpose I could imagine — live Radiohead performance.

From “to be” perspective my goals were related to developing new and strengthening existing physical and mental skills. First, I wanted to learn to swim decently and technically correctly in all for known strokes (freestyle, butterfly, breaststroke and backstroke). This goal was achieved and now I feel quite comfortable in swimming pool. I am still about two times slower than world record holders, but usually there are not too many people in the swimming pool who are faster than me.

Another bodily skill I wanted to develop was roller skating. Here I haven’t shown as much diligence as with swimming but achieved some progress anyway. In particular I learned how to have control on the wheels, do inclined turns and skate backwards.

A couple more undertakings I gave to myself in the field of languages learning. On English front my goal was to become fluent and get rid of accent. Here I would say that I accomplished the goal at 90% level. By this moment I don’t have any problems with listening, reading and writing but still feel some constraint when speaking. However it’s definitely not something one more year of intense practice couldn’t wipe away.

Another endeavor of mine was to learn basics of the Spanish language all by myself relying just on online sources available for free. My goal was to become able to build basic sentences and understand adopted speech. The result here, I must admit, could be better. I would estimate the completion level as 60%. But anyway I have learned main grammar rules such as verbs conjugation patterns in different tenses and persons, subjunctives and so on. Now all I need to do is to enrich the vocabulary and practice more.

In the goals related to material possession I showed modest results. I wanted to get myself a bicycle, a semi-pro photo camera and a wrist watch for active life style. And it was only the latter that I did get. But it is not something that makes me sad.

So that’s about it for my Goals 2009. I liked having those with me through the year. It was a pleasant experience to check items in the list with the sense of accomplishment. So I encourage everyone to set up  ambitious goals and move towards achieving them fully enjoying the process.

Statistics 2009

Through the whole 2009 I kept a log of all of my physical exercises such as swimming as well as mental activities like reading. This allows me to calculate some funny statistics now.

For example, the total distance that I swam during the year equals 167 kilometers (it’s about 450 meters per calendar day!)

And here is the calculation of  the average time I spent each day listening to educational materials, podcasts and audiobooks:

  • Total Listening time: 363 hours (15 days!) = 60 min every day
    • Listening to English podcasts: 154 hours (6. 5 days) in total = 25 min every day
    • Listening to English audiobooks: 170 hours (7.1 days) in total = 28 min every day
    • Listening to Spanish podcasts: 16 hours (0.7 days) in total = 3 min every day
    • Listening to Spanish audiobooks: 23 hours (1 day) in total = 4 min every day

What do you think about spending 15 full days of the year listening? It’s actually 1/24 part of the year!

New Experience in 2009 — Salsa

The bravest thing I did in 2009 was my decision to learn dancing. Why is it brave? Well, because in elementary school I had choreography lessons and the teacher used to tell me that I was hopeless and as graceful as a bear.

The choice of dance was made in favor of salsa due to its social nature and relatedness to Spanish-speaking culture. I made the first attempt to attend classes in March but very soon abandoned them, because there was no good order and system in place which I conceive to be the necessary part for any learning process.

I got back to the idea in the summer, and resolved to start attending serious classes starting in September. After doing some research on Kyiv-based salsa schools and different salsa styles I decided in favor of Bailamos Salsa School and Los Angeles style. So on September 9th I pulled two friends of mine and we attended the first lesson. In October eager to learn even more we started attending another school called S-Tres where we learn salsa New York style. Now, after four months, having been to several salsa parties I am happy with my choices seeing real progress and enjoying the learning process. ¡Viva la Salsa!

New Initiative in 2009 — Gotosuccess Club

One summer evening I was watching Ignite sessions at Google when an idea struck me. It was the idea to create a closed club for friends, where we could do the same as those famous inspiring people do — meet regularly and speak on interesting topics, share observations and ideas. I wanted this club to be a place where no one ever complains but everyone thinks creatively, where people find synergies between each other’s professions, jobs, skills, hobbies, interests, where they generate ideas for future business and social projects, develop presentation, speaking, listening and discussion skills. So I quickly shared my idea with friends and shortly we had our first kick-off meeting scheduled. We named our club “Gotosuccess Club”. As of this moment the club has ten people and we have met eight times keeping fortnightly schedule. Everyone seems to enjoy and benefit from these meetings and I see a great future for this organization.

Goals 2010

So, now it’s time to set up interesting and challenging goals for the year 2010. In the same spirit as the last year I have created a page on this blog which will be my reference throughout the year.

I wish you all a very Happy New Year and Merry Christmas!