Thursday, 31 December 2009

Forward Momentum Is Everything

Things happen in your life, even (or especially?) when your life is structured and mapped out to near-perfection, that totally derail your plans. It’s the things that don’t make you feel sorry for even one second that make life worthwhile, and teach you to take everything as it comes.

I didn’t even get close to reaching the ambitious goals I set myself in June. Did I have a marvellous holiday? That'd be an understatement. Ever since I’ve been on a thrill ride that only seems to become more fun with each passing day. Normal just doesn’t quite exist anymore, and I’m not mourning the loss.

And somehow it’s turned December, and I had to be reminded I hadn’t updated this blog for months. I’m backing up, sorting out, and have stopped postponing decisions I'd been leaving for later. I’ve cancelled subscriptions I’ve been meaning to cancel for months, have discontinued old web domains, basically stopped what no longer fitted into my life.

Definitely different from the normal backing up and sorting stuff that I normally do towards the end of December.

I initially didn’t think I had much to show for 2009, where it concerns accomplishments. Closer inspection tells me that’s not quite the case. I passed my teacher training course, officially qualifying me as a teacher in higher education. I got a promotion, which is one way to interpret that I’m doing something right professionally. I gave what in my opinion was one of the best birthday presents ever. I managed NaNoWriMo in November, which was an accomplishment in itself, besides the added value that that particular project had as well. I read six books more in 2009 than I did in 2008. I’ve finally started those postponed driving lessons, and got my driving theory certificate in one go.

I did a shitload of photography both privately as well as professionally, and I even got paid for my first poster. I saw Neil Young perform, experienced Rammstein live again, and it took me twenty-eight years, but I’ve apparently finally learned to relax. (Though not all the time.) I wrote three chapters for my PhD thesis.

That thesis is my biggest failure as well. Then again, as I keep jokingly telling people: theoretically I have at least eight more years to finish it, so I shouldn’t be in such a rush. I predicted 2009 would be a better year than 2008: in many ways it was, because I got at least two research spots where I’m more than welcome to spend some time, and I did quite some decent research besides that. My whiteboard, tellingly, is not empty, as it was last year, but still has last thesis chapter’s structure on it, which I haven’t removed yet. Still, I could have done more. More positively, I could have done less.

Physically, I think this has been the year when I’ve seen the most doctors, dentists, and other health officials ever. This despite the fact that I’m pretty healthy as healthy goes. Weird, that. It doesn’t help I have a toothache as I write this. On the other hand, this too can only get better.

Writing-wise (thesis and otherwise, my private diary the only exception) this has been a very bad year, continuing the downward spiral I started last year. I’ve been word counting on a daily basis for the past four years now, and this has been the worst year for writing since 2006. (I wrote a third more this year than I did in that year. Comparatively, I only wrote 50% in 2009 of what I wrote in 2007.

Last year around this time, I summed up 2008 as a year with no real lows and no real heights, steady on a comfortable level. I said that I should probably aim for heights in 2009. I think it’s safe to say I managed that one. For me 2009 was the best of years and the worst of years, to misquote Charles Dickens. The first half was the worst (though it wasn’t entirely bad), the second half was the best. It’s simple, really: you can’t have heights without the lows.

I’m not sure what to expect for 2010. In 2009 I marched into the unknown reasonably optimistically, to discover the unknown is nothing to be afraid of. I have the suspicion 2010 is going to be brilliant, but it’s never good to have too high expectations of anything, especially not of an entire year. I predict that if 2009 was about changes, 2010 is about even bigger changes.

I wish for everyone’s 2010 to be like my 2009: an adventure that gets better every single day. That for you, 2010 is going to be the year in which you’ll reach for all the goals you’ve set yourself and find them closer than expected. A year in which you’ll conquer the things you fear, get everything you really desire (but not too easily), and in which you’ll have the strength to push yourself, to dare to do great things. A year in which no one can stop you unless you let them.

Finally, have my year in pics, here.