Here I am staring down the proverbial tunnel, face-to-face with the inevitable end of yet another year. I always feel a knot in my stomach when it really dawns on me that another year of my life has just vanished, in many respects without a trace, but this year that feeling is particularly bad. For one, there’s an added sense of helplessness thanks to my busted up, momentarily useless leg. I haven’t been in my house in several weeks, and cannot return for several more. That sense of longing to return home amplifies the overall melancholy of this time of year. But there’s also the general disappointment in me having not accomplished all that I set out to do.
Every year since I was in high school, I’ve written down a list of what I want to accomplish in a given year. I never really intend to complete all the goals, but they give me a general sense of direction. 2018 was hit and miss. One of my goals was to not be afraid to drive to new places and be less scared of putting myself in new situations while behind the wheel. That was a resounding success - this year I drove to several new cities for work and personal opportunities, and I made home visits to several new clients. I wanted to not be afraid to check my bank account regularly (I used to put it off until I absolutely had to, a terrible habit to find yourself in). While I didn’t check it every-other-day as my goal specifically listed, I did check it drammatically more, so I’m going to mark this as a spiritual win. I wanted to renovate my bathroom - check. I wanted to improve as a developer and open source contributor. Depression got in the way at the beginning of the year, but I’m very proud of how I turned it around. Not only did I rekindle my love for programming, but towards the second half of the year I overcame my minor bout of depression, started actively contributing again, and produced work I’m very proud of. Not only that, I am proud of the ways I improved as a developer. The biggest change I can point to is committing to no longer just pushing straight to master in Vocal, but instead now creating separate branches and opening pull requests. This not only lets me work on multiple issues simultaneously without having to merge them immediately, but it also makes it easier to see the code changes at a glance and improve the overall quality of the code that makes it in. So while I wish I could have done more, I’m happy with the changes that I have made.
But there are definite lapses and failures in my goals, no two ways about it. I didn’t make it to see the ocean this year. I didn’t find a romantic partner. I didn’t drammatically improve the quality of foods I put into my body (although I think mentally my attitude has shifted over the course of the year, and I’m on the right track to be able to tick that box next year). I’ve not saved quite as much as I wanted to have saved (though it’s not too far off), and I’ve not donated as much as I wanted to have donated (although here too, not too far off).
So that was my 2018. I had some successes, and some failures. That’s pretty much always going to be true. But it’s not just about my goals, I had a lot of life experiences that I enjoyed. I went on a camping trip and got some much needed R&R. I officiated a wedding ceremony. I rekindled some old friendships. I had my first trip to Waffle House. I took my sister on a much-deserved kid-free shopping trip for her birthday. I visited Biltmore. I fixed up my house a bit and put in a secondary source of heat for when the power goes out. I improved my carpentry skills quite a bit, and improved some of my processes and techniques as a technician.
Still, I wish I had lived a bit more in 2018. I can’t help but think of it as kind of a “dud.” The last month in particular solidified it as a limbo-like year. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t amazing. That having been said, I feel it was much better than 2017. In 2017 I was still dealing with losing a close family member, and the depression that followed. This year I at least was able to return to normalcy a bit more and finally get out of 2nd gear, so to speak.
So that’s what 2019 is really going to be about. I want to hit the ground running and not slow down. I have a lot of goals marked down for it. I have high hopes and high expectations.
I want to write here on this blog much more - at least once a week, if I can. I want to release a couple major versions of Vocal with big features. I want to rennovate my house further by putting down new flooring throughout, building a new deck and tearing down the rotten one, and I want to get a new washer and dryer (that actually work). I want to go on at least 5 camping trips. I want to see the ocean. I want to pay off my pickup truck. I want to save more money. I want to buy a crappy used car just for the fun of it. I want to stay awake later and stop going to bed so early. I want to spend more time in libraries and coffee shops. I want to eat more in local restaraunts. I want to cook more at home. I want to start exercising regularly. I still want to find someone in a romantic sense.
But more than anything, I just want to get better. I want my ankle to heal. I want my life to return to normal. I want to feel the clutch pedal underneath my foot and the wind through my hair. I want to return home to my own bed. I want to forget this whole thing ever happened.
Or maybe I don’t. What I really want is to see how this whole experience will change me. I can already feel a slight change in my temperment. I feel calmer, more patient, more appreciative. I don’t know if my accident will change me in any meaningful way, but it’s hard for me to see how a life experience like that couldn’t. As with all things, it’s a matter of time and patience. More than anything on my goal list for 2019, I just want to start off the new year by getting better and returning to some kind of routine.
Here’s to a happy, healthy, fun, productive, rollicking good 2019.