Saturday, January 1, 2011

The New Year: Looking Backward and Forward


I've never been a huge fan of New Year. Perhaps it's my own dislike of deadlines. It's simply a date, after all, and a rather artificial one at that, given that, unlike birthdays, anniversaries, solstices or equinoxes (which have logical reasons for existing), there is, so far as I know, no particular reason why Dec. 31 ends one year and Jan. 1 begins a new one. It also seems to promote a whole act of "summing up and looking ahead," whichv should be done more frequently, and not necessarily only on a specific date.

And yet I found myself looking back quite a bit this New Year's. I'm not entirely certain why, although it may have to do with the fact that 2010 was one of the most up and down years of my life.


Looking Back: Big Positives and Negatives

On the positive side:
  • My wife and I celebrated our first anniversary in September, and our first full calendar year as a married couple. More importantly, we survived a year that featured a number of events that rank almost the most stressful couples can face: health challenges, moving, me starting a new business, etc. We didn't just survive: we're stronger partners than ever.
  • Cardigan joined our lives — and it's hard to imagine life without her. She's helped me look at life in a different and better way. And she's a riot, as you can see here. Whenever life gets me down, I just look at her and laugh.
  • I had the best year of writing ever. I produced four new short stories, including one that is likely the best shot I've got of getting something published, as well learned a lot, joined a writing group, and took several workshops.
  • I also launched this blog and it has provided a superb outlet for my blatherings, and a good way to vent steam in an increasingly uncomfortable environment for people who actually think.
  • I sustained my freelance business for an entire year. While business dropped off a bit in the fall (and I need to do more promotion) and I missed a couple of good contracts, I learned a lot and established a good foundation for the future.
  • We had tons of family time with two good visits to Canada, a week in Ulla's hometown in Germany, and a visit from my parents.
  • We had a spectacular vacation in June/July to Iceland, Germany and Denmark. We bathed in a natural hot spring in a river, enjoyed the kind of urban life I wish we all had in Copenhagen, caught up with old friends in Hamburg, and I survived my first Schnade.

On the less than positive side:
  • I suffered two major injuries (tearing all the ligaments in my left ankle XC skiing in Feb., and then broke my left arm in Oct. felling over a temporary fence in the backyard), plus a minor injury to my right ankle in Aug. while hiking.
  • As a result, I'm in the worse physical shape of my life. I have lost some weight over the last few months and have decided to temporarily give up on running and focus on low-impact exercise at a gym. But still, it sucks!
  • Also as a result, I spent very little time in the woods and mountains, and this leaves me feeling rather out of sorts, given that I am spiritually and emotionally refreshed by time spent in the wilderness. Fortunately our move to Medford has allowed greater access to Middlesex Fells and even though I hear traffic from most locations in the Fells, it's still a nice wooded area with beautiful views so that's offset this somewhat.
  • We made no real progress with our attempts at gardening, partly due to my injuries, partly due to the terrible heat in July, and partly due to being busy.

Looking Forward: Onward and Upward

Ulla and I have big plans for the year, which we're keeping to ourselves! For me, I want to accomplish these major goals this year:
  • Build my business to the point where I no longer need to scramble for business, and am producing sufficient income to do more than simply cover the bills.
  • Continue to make writing a regular part of my life, through my writing group, additional workshops, revising several of my better short stories to the point where they're publishable, and shifting my focus on new writing to my novel.
  • Maintain my blog with 5 postings per week and build an audience to the point of having a post with 500 hits by year-end.
  • Get back into shape!!! Hit the gym regularly, continue to rehab from my injuries, and start to run again in the spring. 

2 comments:

  1. Hey! Happy new year! Thanks for sorting the profile out so I can comment!
    Great to hear the round-up of your year - sorry to hear about the injuries. Wishing you best of luck with all your goals - especially yours & Ulla's!!
    Look forward to hearing more about the adventures of you guys and your wonderfully funny & endearing new family addition - Cardigan ROCKS!!
    Great blog, great pics, great music reviews... Thanks for sharing.

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  2. Thanks, Denise!!! I hope you're enjoying the Montenegrin winter and looking forward to your posts as spring work at Full Monte commences!

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