The Year That Was; The Year That Will Be

On balance, 2011 was kind to me. I spent the year in residence in a lovely South Hill apartment, and my rusty, ancient Ford Ranger really didn’t fare too poorly. I traveled a bit, including two trips to Las Vegas and a week in Miami Beach for a conference. My health stayed stable, and I have mostly re-provisioned after the Great Purge of 2009. I’ve made progress on many fronts, earning just over $7,500 from my side business and even making the first steps back to church via the Cathedral. And the monthly cigar-and-cocktail evenings have helped bring a different focus to my personal social networking. (Oh, and PPQ — 100 percent attendance rate in 2011. That’s all I’m sayin’.)

So, my farewell to 2011 is largely without disdain, although the year did go out with something of a whimper: I went with Tony and Jen to the Laurel Manor NYE party in Livonia and didn’t acquit myself as professionally as I would have preferred. It was a somewhat fancy affair, with 500 or so attendees, many of whom were older folk in tuxedos and ball gowns but there were plenty of the younger crowd, too. Let it suffice that despite the good conversation and the salmon/filet dinner, I was insufficiently attentive to the nature and pace of the product flowing liberally from the premium open bar and ended up paying the price. I think part of it was that the bartenders were wildly inconsistent in how stiffly they poured the drinks — some were thin, some would shock a bear’s liver. Hard to pace yourself when you’re not acutely aware of what’s coming your way.

The last week of the year witnessed unheralded productivity. I’m not sure if it was the time off, or adding fish oil to my daily vitamin cocktail, or what, but my vacation saw me knock off more long-term goals from my to-do list than I’ve accomplished in the last two years combined. Among other things, I wrote a journal article, tweaked my various social-networking profiles, set my 2012 goals list, wrote a letter of inquiry to finish my master’s degree, pulled my annual credit reports, knocked off a bunch of around-the-house tasks, scheduled a long-delayed dental appointment, set up appropriate Mesh syncing for my files across my phone/netbook/PC, updated my freelancer profile with SPJ, reviewed my 403(b) investment allocations, blogged a fair amount and sketched out the drafts of four different books. Whew. And that was on top of holiday parties and a few other goals I accomplished too personal to mention in a public blog post.

So. I’m off to a good start. As part of my 2012 planning, which began in October (as usual), I’ve pulled forward my long-standing personal vision: “I aspire to be an elderly man who, upon his 70th birthday, can look himself in the mirror free of the sting of regret.” This vision will be realized in party through four major life goals and six core strategies:

Major Life Goals

  • Begin the Great Loop by the time I turn 40.
  • Complete a circumnavigation. Eat lunch in Antarctica.
  • Finish at least one major thru-hike (PCT, CDT, AT).
  • Write at least one fiction and one non-fiction book.

Core Strategies

  • Reduce consumption.
  • Cultivate serenity.
  • Nurture relationships.
  • Exhibit insatiable curiosity.
  • Do fewer things, but do them well.
  • Favor action over study.

In the master plan, I’ve got a series of almost 50 tasks between now and September 30 (and a handful extending until 2016). These tasks represent time-bound chunks of the various activities I need to do to make progress on my bucket-list goals. So, it’s good to have a plan of attack. Other major things I want to nail this year, at a lower grain than the bucket list, include (finally) running the Riverbank Run and G.R. Marathon, getting the prerequisites out of the way to begin divemaster training, return to the dojo in late winter, go skydiving this summer, and take a long weekend to backpack/hike in a national forest.

In other news … 2012 is looking interesting. I’ve planned out attendance a series of business-networking mixers to grow my company, and the prospect of playing in the new water park in Las Vegas in June provides great incentive to get back to my target weight (no one likes a shirtless muffin top). Tony and I are spending the weekend together in a few weeks to dedicate solely to joint business planning. I’ve already booked a client meeting for next week, and I’ve got a good handle on my tasks, calendar and bills for January. Yay.

I am looking forward to 2012, and I hope that my dear readers have a safe, happy, healthy and profitable year as well!

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