Saturday, December 29, 2012

Looking Back Over 2012 and Ahead to 2013

Yesterday, I was looking over credit card receipts for the year and found something surprising.  It is now taken care of.

So, today, while 3/5 of my family is skiing and I've completed taken a first stab at a health economics second course syllabus, I thought it would be a good time for my annual aspirations blog.  I'll call them aspirations rather than resolutions.  At least according to, a resolution is "a resolve or determination" whereas an aspiration is a "goal or objective desired" or an "aim; ambition". I think that what I look forward to in the next year fits more in the second category of "big picture" stuff rather than specific determinations.  And I think that with a few exceptions the same could have been said last year.

Looking back, then?  Here is what I wrote last December 31:

(10) Continue to implement a plan for well-being that includes financial well-being.
Sort of.  We've built some assets.  Paid down some debt.  Some still hangs on.  And it has been difficult to anticipate what 2013 will bring.

(9) Run a sub-20 minute 5K and qualify for the Boston marathon. 
These were definitely in the resolution rather than aspiration category and I met both.

(8) Continue my involvement with Back on My Feet.
I did.  I stayed a team coach as long as I could, but something had to give way.  I still run with the Team at least once a week if at all possible and also run with a bunch of BoMF Baltimore teammates at track workouts that I somehow have been the nominal organizer of for a while now.

(7) While this could go under the well-being heading of #10, I want to integrate pieces of “the arts” into what I do including more reading (because one way to write better is to read more), continue blogging, continue other writing, and perhaps even get back to writing a bit of music.
On this one, I continued to blog, I started a second writing project, and while I never wrote a full song this year, I did finalize a poem for two friends who got married and they really liked it.  It was about what made a first impression about each of them as I met them--their smiles.

(6) Better balance of responsibilities at work.
I have mostly continued to learn what can "give way".  The new year may bring new opportunities here.

(5) Hang out with friends more in situations other than running.
There is precious little time for this.  Although we did make it to a few nice gatherings at the end of the year.  And while my oldest son's girlfriend was not someone I had thought of when I wrote this a year ago, we have welcomed her to hang out with us (and running is not involved) a lot more this year than last.

(4) Help my children become all that they can be.
We continue to find ways to provide opportunities for our three sons to try out and to get better at all sorts of interesting things.  I think that Sherry and I have done a good job at this.

(3) Take the serenity prayer ever more seriously. 
I definitely still take the first part very seriously.  It is interesting that I will simply speak--sometimes not even yell--a snarky comment about another driver and let it go at that.  My oldest son's girlfriend asked if it was my form of "road rage".  What it really reflects is my effort to let out a little frustration while otherwise letting go of whatever might cause road rage as I cannot change it and more or less have to accept what other drivers do.  There are still some things that go unacted on.  I strive to change that.

(2) Continue to share my cooking. Enough said.
And done. Mostly through having my son's girlfriend over for dinner more.  She even had a chance to help us make Christmas Eve dinner.  But I have also cooked for family on this vacation and have brought snacks for friends post-running on numerous occasions.

(1) Enjoy the second half of my 20th year of marriage and the first half of year 21. It has been an incredible nearly 20 years. I hope we share 20 more.

Year wasn't perfect, but we had some new experiences that served us well including going on our first cruise.  And we are still together.

Looking ahead...

(10) Keep running in the right place in my life--it should promote physical, mental, and social well being--the gold old health triangle we learned in high school health ed class.  It should also promote spiritual well-being. If it ever interferes with those re-assess.

(9) While keeping it in the right place in my life, don't forget that there are some real goals.  Mile on the track under 5:40.  2-mile on the track under 12:00.  5K--wherever--under 19:30.  Complete Boston--and if the weather permits aim for 3:10.  Half marathon closer to 1:30.  10 miler closer to 1:10.

(8) Continue to be creative.  Maybe art.  Maybe words.  I'd say 10-15 minutes per day.  Could be a little verse.  Could be a little progress in my ongoing attempts to write longer stuff.  Could be a blog entry.  Could even just be some project like the silk tie I did earlier this week.  Just to keep that part of my brain in high gear.

(7) Think about next career steps.  Who knows what they may be?  The key is that even as a full professor, there are things to think about.  Even if I stay a full professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health for the remainder of my career, the job will change.  And there may be opportunities within JHU (or someday in the future outside JHU) that would bring about even more changes and hopefully changes that would challenge me and engage me in new ways.  And while my well-being now is about stability, my well-being once the kids are out of high school and college will depend on what I see as my next steps.  So, I might as well start thinking now.

(6) Continue to grow spiritually.  I have stopped writing about every single bib number and race time.  That was fun.  But I have found many new inspirations for my spirituality including the tattoo that is now nearly finished.  That turned out to be an interesting part of my art experience last years as it really has become much like a piece of commissioned artwork that I always have with me and really participated in a two-person (me and the artist) effort to bring about a vision of symbolism that I had.

(5) Continue to play an active role at St. Pius X.  I don't see that changing for any reason--but it is just worth putting out there.  No matter what other pressures may come and go, the stability of my involvement in Sunday school and the worship band--each with its own set of ups and downs--is definitely like a rock for my to stand on in my faith and in my life.

(4) Continue to mentor.  The experience or mentoring has been a gift to me as much as anything from me over the past several years.  I have a new student to mentor in the Penn State Schreyer Honors College and there are other opportunities for mentorship as well.

(3) Help my two oldest on the path to figuring out where they will go to college and high school respectively.  While the process will not be completely finished one year from today, it will be well on its way.

(2) Remember that I would not be where I am without the help of others.  This is part of what I reflected in my artistic vision last year and what I hope to continue to reflect this year.  This is part of my spirituality.  It is part of my professional mentoring.  It is part of my family relationships.  It is part of being a good neighbor.  I am ultimately responsible for me.  But I am not responsible for just me.  And in the same way, I know that I have truly benefitted from having so many around me who are not only interested in benefitting themselves but who are interested in lifting up others.  When I am taking credit, I must give credit where credit is due. And when I am deciding how to act, I should remember to act with others in mind.

(1) Be the best family member I can be.  Husband, father, son, brother, and so many more rolls.  All important.  All provide ways to lift others up.  All provide ways to reflect on what others have done to lift me up.  And all provide ways to show God's greatness in blessing me and my family with abundance.

It should be an exciting year ahead.  

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