2019: My Depth year

I’m a TreeHugger reader and early January, I read this article about Why you should embark on a ‘Depth Year’ in 2019.

This article lead me to the original article: Go Deeper, Not Wider.

I’ll let you read those. Go ahead, I’ll wait! 😉 The TreeHugger article really piqued my curiosity, while the original article deeply resonated with me.

What is a Depth year

In short a depth year is a year where you do not start any new activity. Instead you dive down into what you already have, what you already do.

A reminder to stay focused

There are no set rules of course but the creator of the concept has provided guidelines and examples: Don’t buy new stuffs, new equipments, new books… Instead read the books you have, use the equipment you have and become better at using them.

The goal is to improve on the skills you already have, rather than trying out new ones. The idea is that, for a year, you stop being a consumer of all the latest new trends and instead cultivate your special skills, the ones you’ve been longing to possess.

I was immediately sold!

I have started so many projects in the last couple years that sometimes my mind is ready to explode. Plus the concept of a depth year just matches really well with my downsizing / mindful / eco-friendly / budget-friendly / etc. mindset.

So what was the plan?

Early January, I decided to start my depth year and selected the things I wanted to focus on. Beware, the list might seem a bit random!

  • Learn how to sew with my vintage sewing machine
  • Finish the restoration of my dad’s vintage motorcycle
  • Improve my German
  • Draw more & finish my 2 big projects
  • Be more regular with my yoga practice

And that’s pretty much it!

So my guitar will keep gathering dust. My golf clubs will probably be sold at one point or another. Forget about oil painting, I’ll focus on watercolor for now. Yeah, I do want to learn Spanish, but that will have to wait as well…. I had to make choices and set priorities.

My Indian Scout 741

How is my depth year going?!

If you want to know, item by item, here it is. But that’s not the important thing actually.

Quick status per goal?

I had already mentioned that I wanted to use this depth year to learn how to sew and as you can read there, I’m not particularly good at it, yet!

I had as well already mentioned here is that, last year, my dad & I have started renovating his 1941 Indian Scout motorcycle. That’s huge, actually! I started with absolutely no mechanical knowledge and I really have to dive in for this project. That is going well!!

As for the German, it’s on and off. Sometimes, I manage to do a lesson everyday. And then I skip for a week, sometimes two. It’s not ideal.

The drawings’ goals are nowhere near what I had planned 😦

The yoga is going strong!

At least I got one or 2 castles done!

Most importantly

A status on each item is fairly uninteresting really. What I feel from such experiment, might be a little more. Maybe?! Anyway, here it is:

I feel free within these constraints! I have 5 topics to focus on. It may sound like a lot or maybe it sounds boring to you. But to me it’s enough. At least for now! It gives me a sense of freedom because I ‘have’ to say no to everything else. I ‘have’ to say no to all other temptations!

At first it wasn’t that easy. Now, it’s second nature!

An email with a great offer for a class that sounds sooo interesting? No.

An add for something new and so à la mode? No

I’m all good, I’m covered with my 5 goals!

It truly is liberating from all external pressure!

What I also feel is a sense of purpose. Committing to 5 goals and to such goals only, feels amazing. When I’m down, I know what to do. When I’m tired, I recall my goals. When I’m not feeling like working (like actual work-work), I can focus on my personal goals. I have a purpose to create, not just to consume.

I feel disconnected from the crazy world we live in but feel so connected to myself! I used to spend way too much time worrying about the next financial crisis or the dooming prospects of the environmental crisis we are facing… These things are still looming over our heads but I try to not spend so much time worrying about them. The time I spend worrying, sometimes paralyzed by fear, has changed nothing to such issues. But I’m not retreating from the world. I still do what I can to limit my impact on the environment. I’ve just turned inward for peace and feel so much better about it.

It’s been really good for my budget!! I didn’t really thing of this aspect to start with but a depth year has been good to limit my spending. Saying no to every online classes I find interesting is definitively a huge saving area for me. Deciding to sew my own eco-friendly clothes as well!

To be honest, the restauration of my dad’s motorcycle has been neither eco-friendly nor budget friendly! I had to buy quite a few replacement parts, tools and stuff to handle such a project. But this is to take care of my dad, this is to spend time with him on something he loves doing. So I don’t mind!


Overall and although it’s only been 4 months, I love the concept of a depth year. It’s been really interesting and considering all what I have left to do, I know I won’t be bored before the end of 2019!

My vintage Singer sewing machine 15K from 1923 - 1 year to learn how to sew
My 1923 Singer 15K – Yeah I like old things!

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