What I’m Doing Now

Inspired by the now page movement. last updated December 12, 2022

Back in Ho Chi Minh City!

In June 2022, I returned to Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC). What a blast of energy! The motorbikes, street food, 24-hour electricity of activity! Despite a host of visa issues, I’m happy to be living in HCMC again.

Dancing Takes a Larger Stage

Sadly, both my salsa teachers left Vietnam during the pandemic. They had worked very hard to grow a following, as well as a weekly salsa social. Our dance group wanted to keep both going, so I soon found myself teaching, deejaying, organizing and choreographing – all new identities that require many hours of practice and preparation.

The weekly practices and salsa social grounded me in HCMC. I was no longer able to travel whenever and wherever I wanted. Am I happier? It’s tough to say. But, I certainly feel more fulfilled. Here we are dancing rueda de casino.

Taking a Break from Words

This year, I read less than normal. I think it’s because I spent so much energy writing The Fail-Safe Solopreneur and podcasting the past 3 years. I needed a break from words and found myself craving a deep, inner knowing directly. Words can’t capture the richness of life, whether dancing, communing, or enjoying a simple meal.

That said, my book recommendation this year is Crucial Conversations. I tend to shy from difficult conversations. Learning how to get past “fight or flight” instincts and talk through difficult topics has been an invaluable lesson for me this year.

My favorite quote of 2022 comes from James Allen’s The Path to Prosperity, written in 1901:

Do you wish for kindness? Be kind.
Do you ask for truth? Be true.
What you give of yourself you find;
Your world is a reflex of you.

Starting everyday with a sense of awe and wonder is my most desired habit. “Your world is a reflex of you.” Often, I fail to start the day with calm and clarity, but my closest hack is mindful meals to anchor me to the present, the larger world, and my many, many blessings.

Is Life a Juggling Act?

While this year was disappointing from a career standpoint, it was full of relationships, health, and joy. I enjoyed more than 300 meals with my parents… saw a therapist and made mental health a priority… took extended trips to Honolulu, San Diego, Cambria, Singapore, Bangkok, and Phu Quoc with close friends… rediscovered my hometown of Los Angeles… danced like crazy in the park every Wednesday and Sunday… hosted and deejayed a weekly salsa party in HCMC… I feel fortunate to look forward to each day!

When a writing How Much Money is Enough?, I stumbled upon a metaphor for living a meaningful life: success is less a race and more a juggling act. Some balls are made of rubber – your career. Others shatter when dropped – your relationships. Success is about defining which balls to juggle, and then not dropping them, because dropping leads to regret. I think, looking back on 2022, that I certainly dropped the career ball but kept the relationship and health balls high in the air!

I’m looking forward to a healthy 2023 full of business, love, and dance.

– Darren

updated December 12, 2022 from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam