Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Retrospective

My new year's goals for 2013 were to write more and exercise more. I succeeded at the former and failed at the latter. (I didn't exercise more because I was writing so much.)

I'm going to focus on the positive, though. Let's look back at the year's accomplishments:

* Daniel's DI team went to state.
* Eric did well at a state math competition.
* Sam transitioned from "talking like a toddler" to "talking in recognizable, complete sentences."
* Sam is now potty trained. One more to go. I can do this. I mean, Jeff can do this.
* Jeff actually decided to start talking. He is now babbling meaningful phrases, like "Oh, thanks, mom."
* Jon continued to be wonderful and awesome. He says he can't think of a specific accomplishment, but then, he has so little room for improvement. It's so much easier to move from the 48th to the 49th percentile than to move from the 98th to the 99th. In a world where too many people abrogate responsibility, a calm, steady, smart, honest, hardworking, unselfish, quietly funny dad who unobtrusively always does the right thing should be cherished. Thanks, sweetheart.
* Eric and Daniel delivered "The Summer of Harry Potter," a fantastic two months in which they read and re-read the books, analyzed characters, predicted plot points, acted out wand duels, sent "owl post" messages to each other, and taught their little brothers Latin words. It was a glorious moment when the boys both finished book 5 and were then allowed to watch the movie for the first time. In the opening scene, as the Dementors swooped in to attack, Sam, age 3, pointed a chop stick "wand" at the TV and shouted "Expecto Patronum!"--before Daniel Radcliffe said it. What reflexes!

It has been a good year.

For myself, here is a list of what I'm most proud of:

* I stopped whining about "nobody ever giving me a chance to teach" and just decided to make my own opportunities. I started a writing camp for kids over the summer. It was successful.
* Afterward, a chance to lead an elementary math group fell into my lap, and I seized it. So much fun! Isn't it interesting how decisions drive destiny?
* I stopped thinking of myself as a "wanna-be/prospective/someday/future" writer, and started thinking of myself as a "real" writer, now. This happened at the same time I pitched my services to mathleague.org and said "You should hire me to do some technical writing." Something about getting paid to write--even if it is just "soulless procedures"--made it all seem official.
* It wasn't just the paycheck, though. I effected an internal shift. "Adulthood isn't an award they'll give you for being a good child," wrote Lois McMaster Bujold. "You can waste...years, trying to get someone to give that respect to you, as though it were a sort of promotion or raise in pay. If only you do enough, if only you are good enough. No. You have to just... take it. Give it to yourself, I suppose." I decided to start thinking of myself as a writer. Period. Even if I never get published formally, writing is part of my identity. I can't not write.
* I have forced myself to be more outgoing. Invite people over more. This has met with generally positive results.

I feel like everyone in the family has grown in positive ways. I know I feel like a "bigger" person than I was last year.

Let's see what growth 2014 brings.

Although...actually, what I'd like for 2014 is to see some shrinkage--of my waistline. [Wink]