Friday, January 02, 2009

2008 Year in Review

It's the time of year to make "Year in Review" and "New Year's Resolution" posts. So... Here is the first post of the pair. I'll introduce this Year in Review with one of my favorite quotes:

Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling some five balls in the air. You name them - work, family, health, Friends and spirit and you're keeping all of these in the Air. You will soon or one day understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four Balls - Family, Health, Friends and Spirit - are made of glass. If you drop one of these; they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged or even shattered. They will never be the same. You must understand that and strive for Balance in your life.
-Bryan Dyson (former CEO of Coca Cola Enterprises)

Ironically, I've never learned how to juggle five (literal, not metaphorical) balls. I'm a very good juggler of 3 or 4 balls, but doing 5 has always eluded me. Let's examine how I've done with my 5 metaphorical balls in 2008:

Family - The big news, for those of you who haven't heard yet, is that Mary Beth and I are engaged. There was a time, not long ago, when I didn't think marriage was in the cards for me. But Mary Beth is the perfect yin to my yang. We work well together, and I look forward to spending the next 60-70 years with her.

Health - My health is generally better now than it was one year ago. I'm proactively managing/monitoring known "concern areas", and I have been exercising quite a bit. But my diet is still awful: I ran nearly 700 miles in the last 7 months of the year without losing a single pound. That means I ate nearly 30 pounds too much food during that time!

Friends - I don't have a huge number of friends, but I generally think I did a good job managing my friendships in 2008.

Spirit - Building my relationship with Mary Beth has been undeniably great for my spirit, but I failed to do many of my other favorite "spirit building" activities. I didn't connect with nature at all. I did almost zero photography, writing, or "creative" computer programming. I read a few books, but don't feel like I expanded my intellectual horizon much. I still don't have a pet. I haven't felt as compassionate towards others (i.e. "I'm slowly becoming a cranky old bastard"). I'm still way too self-centered (count the number of time I used the word "I" in this blog post :-)). I blame a lot of my spiritual stagnation on poor time-management, and anxiety about...

Work (and Finance) - This blog is not the proper place to go in to detail, but I will say: I dropped the Work/Finance ball hard in 2008. I hope Dyson's quote applies and this ball can properly reintegrated without causing me to drop any other balls. As any juggler knows, dropping one ball will throw off your timing on the others. Work is both a creative outlet and a primary source of interpersonal contact for me. When the Work ball gets dropped, it unavoidably affects the Spirit/Friends/Health balls.

All in all, I have to declare 2008 a solid year.