another day, another year

January 1, 2014

No photos with this post, just verbiage. A marker between the end of 2013 and 2014.
Update: But I did find a suitable Dilbert.

Dilbert

It’s somehow fitting that my first blog post for 2014 was about a trip to a Japanese camera store at the end of 2013. It was inadvertently posted to today because I’d stayed up to watch the ball drop in Times Square on TV, a tradition my wife and I have observed since we started dating over 30 years ago. I watched it drop, tuning out the talking heads as I always do. My wife and I shared a glass of wine and a kiss, and then I went back to finishing the post about my trip into Yodobashi Camera.

What about 2014? Well, what about 2014? I have my goals for any given year, both short-term and long-term. They’re grouped into themes, such as home repair or travel or personal improvement. Specific goals are more or less wishes. I’m not so pedantic and narrow, and thus I avoid the disappointments that come when inflexible and generally unreasonable goals aren’t met. Themes can span multiple years and allow specific, more-easily met milestones to be accomplished. Your milestones can slide to the right without any undo personal anxiety. You accomplish what you can when you can and get to the rest, time and circumstances permitting. A single goal is inflexible and you may discover that the goal isn’t something you really wanted when it’s finally reached. A theme with smaller milestones gives you flexibility to change any ultimate goals, or even to abandon an ultimate goal if you discover along the way it’s not what you thought it was when you first started out.

If this sounds like engineering management, you’re absolutely right. No plan, no goal, no matter how carefully contrived, ever survived contact with reality and the shifting priorities of life.

The Year(s) that Preceeded

2013 was one of my more turbulent years and underscores just how little you can anticipate. I was laid off in May, after having gone through a left knee replacement in November 2012 and the subsequent physical therapy. I’d spent 2012 in increasing pain because of my left knee injury I’d received the year before that in November 2011. So the #1 theme for all those years was just to get back to a reasonably good walking state. Along the span of those years I’d traveled north on a two-week road trip to Toronto in 2012, and this year I traveled south (twice) to Key West in much shorter weekly sessions. While the trip up north was generally planned, it happened when it did when the date presented itself, not because we’d inflexibly decided to go at that exact time. The same with the lighter trips down to the Keys.

Fortunately I was out of work about a month. The new job is satisfying and presents many opportunities for personal travel in 2014, both within the US as well as overseas.

This year marks the 30th year I moved to Orlando. I’ve lived here too long, perhaps, considering I moved from Atlanta, my birthplace, when I was 30. Familiarity may not breed contempt, but it does lead to a sense of boredom. That’s why travel is so important at times; there’s nothing like looking on new lands with eyes of innocence.

2014 marks the 60th year of my existence. The theme going forward is helping the country and the world I live in. That seems like such a daunting theme, so overwhelming. But that’s about the only way to really approach all the problems we face. I’ll look for opportunities to satisfy that theme, a theme that I intent to stretch forward until the day I die. I was born late in the Boomer wave, which gives me enough perspective to know that retiring with money into one of God’s waiting rooms (retirement communities) is no way to help nor repay the generations coming after you. Selfish retirement as practiced by the early Boomers is not for me. This old world has demanded, and will always demand, a giving and constructive engagement. That is, after all, how you got to be where you are, by the selfless giving of earlier generations. You don’t stop unless and until the mind and flesh fail.

Here’s to interesting times in the new year, and in many more years to come. May we all find satisfaction in some form.