For those who received my year-end email blast last month this post will be a bit redundant. 2017 went by quickly for me and it seems like just yesterday that I was writing a post about New Year Intentions (vs Resolutions). While I didn’t actually articulate any of my intentions for 2017 in a blog post (fear of failing must have been what kept me from doing that) I did, with my wife the other day, look at our annual diary from January 1, 2017, and saw that we’d written down at least one intention on the front page – “learn to juggle”. I’m proud that we both in fact did learn how to juggle in 2017 and, as per my September post on the subject, I even graduated from juggling balls to juggling pins in the second half of year. That came after Galina and I celebrated 20 years of marriage in March, another highlight of the year.
Professionally, I had set an intention to grow and stabilize my business in 2017 and in retrospect this is what I did. We grew very nicely to a point where I can finally stop for a second and feel proud of what my partners, team and I have all built in the family office services space. Our Singapore and Philippines offices both expanded to a headcount of 12 professionals, including a Russian-speaking lawyer who joined our team in Singapore and we launched MarcWhittaker page of Facebook (like us here!).
My new cause and service
Also in 2017, I trained and certified as a coach focusing on life/career/family for clients and friends. An intention for 2018 is to launch a new website and brand – Be More – focused on coaching and life wellness (this time I’ve put it in writing). This intentionally dovetails with our big transition in 2018…
Galina and I moved to Singapore 6 years ago with the primary aim of putting our two sons, Nicholas and Marcus, through high school. We chose United World College (the boys each spent a year of middle school at Green School in Bali before Singapore) and we’ve had no regrets. The school, and Singapore in general, have both surpassed whatever expectations we had for a happy and fulfilling life during this season here. That said, it was always our intention to be in Singapore through 2018, and then move on when our youngest finished school.
Blue Zones here we come
As we approach being ‘empty nesters’, we want to mark this transition with something special. So in June of this year we will embark on a one-year tour of the so-called “Blue Zones” – named by National Geographic’s Dan Buettner (book of the same name) for being the top 5 places in the world with the highest concentrations of people living healthy and vibrant lives to 100+ in age.
We will start in Okinawa, Japan, then move on to Loma Linda, California, then to Costa Rica, Sardinia and finally to Ikaria, Greece. Galina and I will write and post about our travels and share what we learn along the way during this personal ‘Longevity Project’.
I am happy and confident leaving the day-to-day running of the MarcWhittaker office in Singapore to my longtime friend and partner Salman. Going forward, we will be back through Singapore and SE Asia often, and I intend to remain involved as a trustee at Green School. Once our Blue Zone travels are completed we plan to take up residence in London.
Reading in 2018
So one of my main intentions for 2018 (and 2019) is to learn more about wellness and longevity and share what I’m learning with my world. I also intend to read more in 2018 than I did in 2017 and in that vein I’ve actually set a clear and measurable goal of reading at least 25 books this year. And I’m posting that here in large part as a way to keep myself accountable. That said, I will practice what I preach and not hold the goal itself too tightly – the goal is set as a means to help me fulfill my intention and my desire to read/learn more this year.
I’m currently reading Dan Buettner’s’ book, ‘The Blue Zones’, and ‘Reminiscences of a Stock Operator’ by Edwin Lefevre, a personal account of a stock trader from the early 1900s who made and lost fortunes over years of speculative stock and commodity trading. This is a must-read for any Bitcoin cryptocurrency traders (I’m not one) as it’s plain to see how history repeats itself.
So as cryptocurrency starts to make headlines again in the new year, and Donald Trump is getting hit from all sides yet somehow manages to keep going like the Energizer bunny, I’m looking forward to my personal transition this year and all that 2018 has in store.