shafts of light break the surface of the water

What if you spent a year just enjoying what you have? Focusing on the activities you enjoy, getting better at the things you already do, and reading the books that have been sitting on your bookshelves. No purchases you don’t need, new hobbies, or the like. Deeper, not wider.

I first read about the ‘depth year’ concept in this article. The author suggests it as a rite of passage for someone in early adulthood. As a type of option for a gap year. Where rather than exploring somewhere new, they explore what they have in front of them already.

I like that idea. But I like even more the idea of lifelong depthing.

Going deep into the depth year

I have shelves full of books I haven’t read, playlists I haven’t listened too and recipes I haven’t tried. Hell, I have tabs open on my laptop that have been there for weeks!

So I’ve decided to adopt that ‘depth year’ ethos. Or, perhaps more accurately: I’ve decided to be informed by it. I may still buy some books this year, and I’m going to take my wife up on her offer for me to take a weekend sailing lesson. But in the big picture, I’m going to aim for more depth, less breadth. 

I’m halfway through learning Dutch to a reasonable degree, am doing yoga occasionally, have a ukulele, juggling balls, a book on sleight-of-hand card tricks, and a fresh skateboard set-up. All of which I can pursue and incrementally improve at, no matter how good (or bad) I am right now.

An ‘Enthusiast’ focuses

I recently did the Enneagram personality test, and discovered that I’m an enthusiast. If you know me, that may not come as a surprise. But I think that’s why the ‘depth year’ idea resonates with me. It’s something new I can try, and it’s a thing I know that challenges my natural tendency, which is to dive into new things and then do them until the next new thing comes along.

I’ve always got new projects and new things I want to be doing. I need to respect that (its who I am), but I also need to bed down with some of the things I’ve been working on, and hone that ability. As well as finish Infinite Jest, sharpen up my Dutch, and learn at least one song on the ukulele.