Burn the boats: 2021 reflection

You have to love stories. They travel great distances and mutate like a virus depending on who they come into contact with. The Burn the Boats story is a beauty. It’s an historically important story most likely retold by whichever colonial power was in charge at the time, and it seems it’s become a rather useful narrative for those in the self-development space. Think Tony Robbins. Now forget I said that.

Depending on which article Google chooses to show you, the main protagonist of this story was Hernán Cortés or Alexander the Great or Julius Caesar, but the underlying plot can be summed up as:

Large army takes to the high seas to capture an island and its people. Overwhelmed by the numbers on the island, the soldiers beg for a retreat, but the leader orders them to “burn the boats” and march forward unrelentingly. 

The theme of the story is commitment, and we’re also led to believe it’s the key to success. It’s about shedding anything and everything that is stopping you from committing to and hopefully achieving what you want. It’s about advancing forth with a bloody-minded focus on the path of success. Hahaha. I know what you’re thinking. And you’re right.. 

But the image is so powerful isn’t it, despite its militaristic nature. 

Why am I telling you this?

Because it’s December, and that means it’s time to reflect on the year that’s been and set intentions for the year to follow. Burn the boats, so to speak. Maybe not all of the boats, but surely some of them. Personally, I embrace the barnacled ones, but you might not. Ideally build new boats and not steal other people’s boats, nor their island for that matter!


I’m a painfully detail oriented nerd who loves to reflect at this time of year through the tradition of list making. I create a fresh Trello board, plot and plan, answer reflection questions, colour-code and conspire with the heavens-of-my-creation to get a feel for what life could mean in the new year. Of course, I’m not alone. Humans have been setting goals, consciously or subconsciously, for time immemorial.  

Reflection and planning is a literal lifesaver for the soul-crushing reality that I have no clue what’s really going to happen in this flesh and blood life even though I desperately want to be guided to utopia by some beautiful glowing orb of light in the sky. I willingly conspire with The And, even though I have to still myself for a long time to hear the whispers.

I’ve decided to share my list of what’s been and what’s to come. It’s an added layer of commitment to myself. A way to track any/all positive growth, and another opportunity to express gratitude for ‘this one wild and precious life’, to coin the incomparable Mary Oliver. Especially during a time of great uncertainty with Covid19 and its cronies at the pulse of it. 

Inevitably, stuff will change over the next 12 months! 

Major events of 2021

  1. Moved to The Catlins
  2. Took over care of Tesla
  3. Learned how a solar system works
  4. Reprogrammed my noggin with new information
  5. Embarked on digital art creation using Procreate
  6. Decided fuck freelance writing and fuck novel writing
  7. Upped the ante on exercise and fibre fueled eating
  8. Experienced moments of paranoia
  9. Returned to the ancient wisdom of meditation
  10. Embraced being a bonus parent after years of anxiety

2022 Potential

  1. Get better at making digital art and web comic stories
  2. Return to making paper collages
  3. Combine art and collage with poetry
  4. Knit, knit, knit
  5. Dive into the NFT space with careful optimism
  6. Continue investing money into ethical growth companies
  7. Prepare more food rather than buy i.e. hummus, sauerkraut, kombucha
  8. Reprogramme my noggin with even better information
  9. Keep Tesla the dog alive, despite her best efforts to live dangerously!
  10. Meditation/breath-work daily