Saturday, December 30, 2006

The year in Review

It’s not yet light out. I fell asleep on the couch watching a Leno re-run. When I woke up, it was about 3:30 a.m. I went to bed, but I haven’t really been able to get back to sleep since. It’s 6 a.m. In my head the words are swirling and I finally gave up. There will be no sleep until I get them out. I need to write a year-end reflection piece and it’s coming now. I’d much rather be in bed sleeping, but I don’t always get what I want. Sometimes I get more.

This blog, now a little more than a year old, has been a regular dumping ground for everything from commentary to introspection with occasional quotes from philosophers, politicians and others. Sprinkled in are a variety of photos, many honorably stolen from the Internet and, more recently, those from my own lens. Throughout it all, I have tried to be objective or at least open to other points of view. However, my thoughts and opinions are the result of my experience and my experience is… mine.

This past year, now nearly finished, has been a banner year for me. It is definitely one of the top-five best years of my life. In many respects, it has been the best ever, but it’s impossible to compare on a head-to-head basis the years from different periods of life. There were experiences in my teen years, for example, that cannot be duplicated now. Nonetheless, all things being equal, it was a very good year. And it was no accident. I worked for it.

I’ve worked much harder than I have ever worked for anything before. The funny thing is much of it didn’t seem like work. Oh sure, I have written of the situational pressures that have crossed my path, and I have documented many of the trials life has served up, but underlying all of those challenges was a sense of optimism. There was no whining, oh-no, no time for that. There was, however, plenty of assessing – processing out-loud, really. It was an unexpected fringe benefit, courtesy of blogging – and other bloggers.

Over the past year I have had and still do have a number of regular readers – you know who you are. Some comment regularly, some never do. However, just the knowledge that my musings are being read is encouragement enough. But to those that do leave comments and feedback, I am especially indebted. If it were not for the interactivity of this medium, I probably would not still be doing it. I write for a number of reasons – one is to be read.

I’m not going to enumerate the many milestones and accomplishments that have punctuated 2006. They are readily available in my archives – it would be an exercise in repetition. Besides, I said it best and, more importantly, most honestly in the moment. Although I could probably write each and every post “better,” I couldn’t possibly make them any more authentic. With only a few exceptions, everything written in this blog was written as a single draft. The posts developed as the words flowed – there was no plan.

In many respects, it is the way I have been living my life this past year. Although I have a couple of medium-term goals (one is now short-term), I have been letting life unfold for me one day at a time. There are a limited number of tasks I must perform in any given day. Although the nature of a specific task might vary, and often it is dictated by the events of the day or days before, the number is always limited. If I can do just those things, it’s a good day. If I do more, it’s a great day. There have been a record number of great days this year. Success has come in unexpected areas, but success itself is hardly unexpected anymore.

Ironically enough, for the past 20+ years, there has been no real plan either - no goals to speak of and no real direction. Again, I don’t want to re-hash what I have already written this past year, but the missing element seemed to always be that little, four-letter word: W-o-r-k. I was always after the short cut. I had no time for the journey; it was all about the destination. As a result, life was passing me by. If it wasn’t for the nearly life ending experience I had in October of 2000… well, I just don’t know where I’d be today. I reflect back to those miserable days in the hospital more often now than I did two or three years ago, it seems to amplify my gratitude.

So here’s to a wonderful, enlightening, healthy and prosperous New Year. Next year, some of my goals will have been realized, new ones will be set, and more than a few surprises are in store - I’m sure. I am hopeful that my country can improve its world image and in so doing, improve the world. Domestically, perhaps our new congress can make some headway on the issues we face as a nation such as health care, education, poverty and crime. Locally and personally, my wish is that everyone fulfills his or her dreams - and that you dream big. I am living proof that anything is possible.


Carli N. Wendell said...

Getting on that upward swing is the hardest part. Thanks for sharing, and good luck in the new year!

Anonymous said...

This is an extremely inspiring post! Thank you for writing it!

Sending new year wishes via Michele's!

utenzi said...

Michele sent me over, Mr Althouse.

It's good that you still have some trust in the political process. I'm a little unsure about that but I do have some limited amount of hope for the coming year.

I hope your schooling and writing continue to give you pleasure. Writing can be a very addictive thing! Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

Did I write this? I do relate. I stopped doing full time foster care, which I had been doing for the past 8 years, and became UNLEASHED. (The Blog being a big part of my unleashing). Doing my own work now, I feel like I now have my first full time job of my life.

The more you do what you love, the more it grows in you and can't help but develop into something of value.

Michele didn't say that, but she sent me here.

yellojkt said...

It does sound like you had a good year. Good luck with that degree.

Michele sent me.

Snaggle Tooth said...

May you have another fruitful year full of unexpected and pleasant occasions!

Doing what you love to do for work is frosting on the desert...

Your blog's helped me thru my year too! Thanks for being here!

Biff Spiffy said...

First time visitor, via a first time visit to Michele.

This is so cool! I'm a baby blogger, just started in December. I've already found so many worthwhile, brilliant, and funny friends - it's amazing.

I'll be back, now I'm intrigued with how your year went. Best wishes for the new year. And, I believe there is far more that is trustworthy in yourself than in any politician.

Unknown said...

Mr Althouse I found you via Michele a few days back and popped back as your blog intrigued me......

I have to say I am so very glad I did after reading this post I was warmed to say the least, I will be back but for now I sincerely hope 2007 brings you everything you wish for and is good to you in everyway it can be ;)

Anonymous said...

Ditto on the state of our country and world affairs.
And here's wishing you only the best as you begin your journey in the new year!
(RE: no comments. I gave up months ago trying to figure that one out! I get approx. 1000 hits per day to my blog...WHERE are these people? I've blogged about it a few times and "invited them in"....did pick up a few new commenters. But it still baffles me!) from Michele's this time. But I visit regularly anyway.

Anonymous said...

Wow, what an incredible recovery you've had. I'm glad you're here to tell us about it 6 yrs later. I hope 2007 is another banner year for you.

Anonymous said...

Here from Micheles & thank you for stopping by my blog also.
Very interesting Post, I'm glad someone's out there doing stuff!(my life is mostly child centered these days)I tried to do a year in review but couldn't think of a thing I'd done!
Happy New Year.

Catherine said...

It's getting very close to midnight on New Year's Eve here - just the right thing for me to read at this time.
Michele sent me.
Oh and those confetti poppers in the previous post look like the perfect thing to put in the Christmas stockings next year!

awareness said...

Hi Mike.........

hopeful, motivating, and downright growth enhancing!

Happy New Year, my friend. I feel blessed that our blog paths crossed in 2006. My life feels fuller as I continue to read your insights and about your personal growth.......and to know you share in mine.

It's magical.......... :)

Lee Ann said...

Happy New Year Mike!
Lee Ann

Bobkat said...

I am very glad to read that you found direction and had such a wonderful 2006.

I'm here from Michele's and still trying to work out what I want to be when I grow up! Glad I dropped by adn likely to come back.

Happy New year.

Anonymous said...

Back again...via Michele.

BarbaraFromCalifornia said...

It is so good, Mike, that you have found your niche through the written word.

That being said, may 2007 be a year of goodness, in health, writing, life, love and peace.

Belizegial said...

Happy New Year Mike~

I didn't know there were so many like minded souls out there until I stumbled onto blogging. Don't want to say quite how this all started for me, but it began as sort of a lark.

It has developed into something quite the opposite as I meet up with caring souls like yourself who do so much more by sharing your individual experiences in such an articulate manner. You are an inspiration just by being yourself.

Have yourself a splendid time on this New Year's Eve and stay safe. Looking forward to hearing much more from you in the coming year :)


Biker Betty said...

Happy New Year, Mike

See you next year!

Lisa said...

What a wonderful reflective piece. I'm glad you got out of bed to finish it! I hope that 2007 is just as much a banner year for you as 2006 was. Happy new year! oh, and Michele sent me!
p.s... having had my own nearly life-ending experience in 2005, I totally know where you are coming from... changes your perspective a bit, doesn't it?

Anonymous said...

ooops...your admonition to "behave" came a wee' bit too late..( hic!) he!he!

Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

oh'..shucks..I forgot to write me..


Catherine said...

Hi, Michele sent me back again. 364 days of 2007 left here in New Zealand. All you bloggers out there will make them special, I'm sure