Metapost: Musings on a year gone by and a new one to come

Monday, December 31, 2012


This post is completely off-topic from Anthropologie.


It's no coincidence the Times Square New Year's Eve ball is made from mirrors and crystal. It's a reflective time of year, starting with Thanksgiving when we share all that we are thankful for and ending sometime around now when we make our resolution lists (and in many cases promptly forget them a few days later). To know where we must go it's good to look at where we've been.

I broke out my resolutions for 2012 and was expecting to see a list of things I hadn't done. Is it possible to be both an optimist and a perfectionist? If so I've got it nailed. I'm always hopeful for the future yet the past and the present always seem a little worse than they really are; I rarely seem to live up to my own super-high standards for myself. So it was a pleasant surprise to see a list of just 3 things I wanted to accomplish in 2012: either improving my job or getting out; pitching my pilot and hopefully getting it picked up and traveling more.

To each: check, check and check. I left my job and had my first summer vacation in 8 years, now stretching into 2013 before I likely head back to work full-time sometime in Q1. Thanks to freelance work and some generous help I've been able to pay the bills. I pitched my pilot in June and August; worked on a second that got network attention and while neither are picked up one has an option and that's pretty amazing. And travel? Yes indeed. Paris, Hawaii, Los Angeles, London and Vermont just to name a few. More soon once snow starts sticking up in the mountains.

It's easy to focus on the goals that haven't been met. To stress about things out of our control. To fret over lost opportunities and things that didn't go the way we wanted. In our current economic climate and social uneasiness the fears and insecurities speak loudly and can drown out the possibilities we could obtain by stretching ourselves. Reading my 2012 resolution list over was the reminder I needed. I have done more than I thought this year and while there's still lots of work to do progress has been made.

My best friend and I like to give each year a silly nickname or goal. It's a half-joke and sometimes a stretch of reality but it gives us something to strive for. I can remember that 2006 was the Year of the Boat (accomplished by taking a cruise around Long Island Sound for me, a cruise upstate for my BFF), 2008 was the Year of the Move (to Queens for my BFF and downtown to Wall St for me) and 2012 was the Year of Travel (we celebrated our 30th birthdays in Paris!).

But a truer picture of 2012 might be the Year I Faced Some of My Fears. Fears about change, fears about risks, fears about my own personality and values. I've shed so many layers and skins this year I feel like an almost entirely new person. It's an ongoing process that's left me unsteady at times. I'm not sure I have ever cried so much in a year or found so many new grey hairs. Challenging yourself does that. Not every change has worked out and I've had to course-correct. Sometimes I panic and fall back on old habits. And sometimes I'm just so unsure about what to do next that I freeze. Then again, I've found some amazing new people and friends. I've pushed myself further than I ever thought I could go and won opportunities I fought for very hard. I've found new traits within myself that I like a lot better than my old ones. My memory banks have been filled with some truly awesome experiences this year. In some happy instances I've even found peace. I'm still in the middle of this trip so I'm not really sure where I'll end up. Maybe this is the Year of Travel after all, in more ways than one.

Though I consider myself more spiritual than religious a couple of Bible passages have been on my mind a lot recently. First Corinthians 13:11: When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put aside childish things. Turning 30 has made Paul's words ring truer than ever before. I feel like an adult now whether I like it or not. Some things that used to matter so much no longer seem important. Other things have taken on more weight and importance. The second passage is Joshua 1:9: Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged. For the Lord your God will be with you wherever you may go. Whether you take that in the literal sense or choose to think of your shepherd as your family, or friends, or maybe someone special, for me the key lies in never feeling that I'm alone. That are times I've felt that way in the past, as though I was facing unknown challenges by myself without proper guidance. This year I learned not to feel that way any more.

I've always had what some friends jokingly call the Midwestern work ethic: I believe that there's no excuse for hard work, fortitude and putting your head down and nose to the grindstone. But I'm also a dreamer and it can hurt when you crash back to Earth from the heights of an idea. So it's nice to get a little reminder that things are often better that they seem, that even the darkest nights give way to dawn and that focusing on the goals you have met can temper the disappointment of goals you're still working towards or that you failed to meet. I achieved what I set out to do in 2012. Auxiliary goals are not yet met but that's alright. I moved forward more often than I moved back. I made mistakes but I learned from them. I let go of some of my more childish traits. I learned how to ask for help, and then how to accept it. I learned how to treat myself better. And though it may not seem this way from the serious tone of this post, I learned how to let go and just relax. (Thank you for that, Kauai.) So when the ball drops in Times Square tonight I will see not only the way I used to be reflected back in its mirrors but also the person I hope to become.

With all that in mind, here are my 3 resolutions for 2013.
1. To cut my debt in half.
2. To learn how to wait patiently as opposed to impatiently as I currently do.
3. To volunteer at least 500 hours.

I am excited for good things to come. Ever the optimist! Wishing everyone in the EA community a happy, healthy and enjoyable New Year!! With plenty of Anthro goodies of course.

How did your 2012 go? What lessons have you learned this year? What successes have you had? What are your resolutions for 2013?