Retrospective; Prospective; Perspective

Today is the last day of 2007.  Tomorrow is the first day of 2008.  Worth some words.

Retrospective

It’s been a great year, in terms of values clarification.  As I go back and read entries from the early months of 2007, I think that the “where I am” position from a year ago has changed dramatically, in part because I engaged in a more thorough assessment of who I am, and who I aspire to be, during the early summer.  This led to a deeper desire to plan my way to a coherent strategy for achieving the long-term goals I’ve set for myself.

Of course, this hasn’t been a painless and bump-free process; it takes work to think through years of accumulated psychology and habit to break through to an authentic ideal-state for one’s whole life.  But I’ve done that, and it feels good. 

Over 2007, I’ve experienced some great things.  The Jon/Emilie wedding, the trip to Las Vegas, my time at East West Karate, the development of my workgroup at the hospital.  Some things, though, were less than pleasant — nerve damage in my foot, growing in awareness of my advancing age, watching friends suffer emotional pain and ongoing existential angst.

A.D. 2007 was a good year for me.  But I could have done more to make progress.

Prospective

I have some goals for the next year:

  • PADI divemaster certification
  • USPA “A” license
  • Parliamentarian certification
  • Complete the River Bank Run in May, a 25-K race
  • Earn the purple belt
  • Continue study of escrima and yoga
  • Continue work with piano and singing

I also intend to continue the trend of getting healthier with every passing year.  Lately, it’s not much effort to hop on a treadmill for 60 minutes and run 6.5 miles.  But, now I must augment that with some strength training.  As I tell people — some days, it feels like I really do have all of the upper-body strength of a six-year-old girl, and working on my back will certainly make a difference for the post-obesity mid-back muscle tension I’ve been experiencing.

This will be the make-or-break year for establishing my consultancy and developing myself as a viable freelance writer.  It will also signal whether my sailing plan (Project 810) will founder under the weight of my own latent inaction.

Perspective

I suppose I’ve learned a few things of significance this year.  The first is that people have a remarkable capacity for self-deception.  Inasmuch as I fully concede that I also probably look at certain aspects of myself through rose-colored glasses, I’ve met a lot of younger people this year — in a variety of settings — who believe things about themselves that have little apparent basis in the truth as evidenced by their behaviors.  This is not a universal, of course, but still … it’s hard to engage with people on a deeper level when, as a conversation partner, one must reconcile the discrepancies between not just the person as presented, but also the person’s self-image as presented.

I also have been re-introduced to the timeless truth that every environment is inherently political, and the practice of easy geniality goes a long way to making one’s life less marked by unnecessary conflict.  The person who appears to be the statesman regardless of the setting is the person who usually earns the respect and social capital to fix a bad situation.  In this, observing a few of the brighter kids in USG has been illustrative.

Perhaps the biggest lesson is that any dream is achievable; we often fail to achieve our dreams because fear begets rationalizations that foster inaction.  Harness the fear, and the dream becomes a reality.  There’s a deeper wisdom to the “just do it” attitude than is immediately apparent to most.  As I consider the times this year that I’ve just done it, I realize that I’m a better person for having made the leap.

May your new year be safe, healthy, and profitable!

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