Out with 2014; In with 2015 — A Reflection

We are now a full 1 percent finished with 2015. Can you believe it? Tempus fugit. Lots of good stuff occurred this past year, including —

  • Earning promotion to management at work
  • Executing successfully our state healthcare-quality conference in Traverse City
  • Finishing my gear-out for scuba diving and getting back under the water
  • Trekking to Boston, Chicago, Nashville and Las Vegas — plus the Detroit/Windsor casino excursion from February
  • Receiving the Rising Quality Star honor from NAHQ
  • Establishing Caffeinated Press, Inc., and pulling together our first product, an eight-story anthology
  • Sponsoring my friend Rob into the Catholic Church
  • Maintaining a perfect track record for our weekly Vice Lounge Online podcasts
  • “Winning” NaNoWriMo with Aiden’s Wager
  • Ending the year about a pound lighter than I started it
  • Seeing my 403(b) account increase more than 6 percent from last year

As I survey the legacy of 2014, certain lessons have presented themselves:

  1. I’m more likely to get things done and to prioritize effectively when I have a lot on my plate. Conversely, the more I have pending, the more likely that fairly routine tasks will be set aside in service to the crisis du jore. Among those routine tasks are the basic “wellness” activities that too often get trumped by an external deadline.
  2. Unlike the heady days of my early-to-mid 20s, nowadays I need regular downtime to recharge. If I burn the candle from both ends for too long, as soon as a free day comes, I just collapse. That sprint-then-stop pace isn’t healthy in the long run. I’ve been tinkering with my normal to-do list to isolate Sundays. I am going to try to make Sundays a day of full and complete rest — no work, no chores, just tranquility. Maybe some reading or Netflixing or walking in the park, but nothing I have to do.
  3. The things that are important and the things that are urgent, rarely overlap.
  4. The older I get, the less I can pretend that bad habits don’t matter.
  5. Having aggressive goals does matter.

I’m not a fan of new-year resolutions — they reek of “lost cause” — but I have identified some goals for the coming year. I need to replace my vehicle and my desktop PC. I’m planning on trips this year to the Dallas metroplex, Philadelphia, Seattle and Las Vegas, as well as a return trek to Isle Royale (weather permitting). I want to learn Python and R, launch a quarterly literary journal through Caffeinated Press, upgrade my radio license to General class, earn SSI’s “master diver” rank by the end of the summer, and publish a textbook about clinical quality improvement. Later this month, discussions will commence about a possible dive trip with the Gang of Four and about a possible visit to see my friend Jared in Abu Dhabi (perhaps, twinning the UAE trip with a side excursion to Bangalore, India). I’d really, really like to try the Metro Health Marathon in October. And despite bobbing around the diocese, including extended sojourns to the cathedral and to St. Robert, I think I’d feel more at home with a return to St. Anthony.
Today is the final day of Grand Staycation IV. I got a lot done, but much remains to be finished. I’m looking forward to 2015, mostly because I have a better sense than last year of the things that are worth pursuing, versus the things I have either always done, or allowed myself to be talked into. So I think the watchwords for the coming year are “triage and consolidation” — i.e., fixing what’s not optimal and doubling down on what’s important.
Best wishes for a safe, happy and healthy new year!