Monday, January 11, 2010

2009: a personal retrospective

I started this blog three years ago, posted one post and then left the blog alone for almost 2 years. I started posting regularly at the beginning of 2009. I thought it would be a good way to sort through the mid-life confusion I seemed to be experiencing. I'd have to say it's been an unequivicol success in that respect.

Quick interruption, holy crap I finally have some actual formatting options.  In playing  looking around yesterday I realized there was a new editor for the blog posting.  This is a highlight of my day today. (yes, it's been that boring).  Sad news though, it doesn't appear there is a spellchecker, which means I've going to have to go into the word processor for checking. 

I've been hesitant to write this recap, because as I posted in my Friday thoughts, I've been in an extremely sour mood.  Talk about Seasonal Affective Disorder. My mood overly affects my views, so I didn't think I'd be able to offer a true baseline of where things are since I started.  I'm going to forge ahead though and attempt to be objective when viewing it and put my mood to the side for now.

I'm up to about 165 posts, which means I almost averaged a post every 2 days.  I'm actually surprised I was able to get that many up.  There are a fair share that are short, but for the most part, I think I was able to deliver enough content to make this something worth following.  One of the things I struggled with last year, is there was no foundation. This bothered me, as I struggled with how to frame posts early on, often times droning on and on to try and get my point across.  I'm less worried about that now, if someone wants to understand, there's plenty to read to give them a better understanding.

I also hoped the blog would lead to a 'change' for me.  I wanted to be more genuine with my feelings and actions with people.  I wish I could say that happened, but I don't think it did. Opening up emotionally at times has been refreshing, but I've found myself applying my everyday tendencies to my writing.  This means, I continue to over complicate things, phrase things with an eye to shaping perceptions, and fiercely protect the deeper emotions.   Whether or not, I'll ever get to the point I want to be emotionally remains, to be seen.  There's a part of me that knows I'm going to always struggle in this regard.

The blog itself has been very cathartic for working through things.  It's given me a chance to sort through some of the feelings I was experiencing and given me an opportunity to try to identify areas I can resolve issues.

Last year, I started struggling with issues of getting older.  Not so much the getting older part, which I could accept (reluctantly), but the notion of how things might be in 5, 10, or 20 years.  I started to realize that where I was at, was going to make for some miserable moments down the line and I wanted to start understanding how decisions today affected my moods tomorrow.

I decided that I needed to turn things upside down a bit in my life and work to break out of the status quo.  Instead of accepting things as they were, I needed to make choices that appealed to me with an eye toward the future, rather then just maintaining the balance in my current life.  I'm happy to say I've made some progress with that.  For lack of a better phrase, I've found my voice again and am starting to get a better understanding of what mid-30's Mike needs/wants. 

The most significant action I took and blogged about was that I joined a band.  By far my biggest outside the mold step I've ever taken in my life. I came back from my summer trip to Vegas and decided I needed to change up my everyday life.  I'd been thinking about trying to join a band for a while, so I pulled up some classified ads and sent off some emails and got lucky in that an experienced group that fit my style was looking for a new direction.  We've had two small shows so far and a ton of practices and while we are in a bit of a holding pattern at the moment, it's only a matter of time before we really start playing out, which I'm very excited about. 

I've had friends ask me "Why a band" "Why now at your age"?  It's funny that I had no interest in doing something like that for years.  2 years ago, I jumped on stage with a band for a 'rockstar' karaoke night. (get up on stage with live musicians and sing to a monitor.) And I realized I wanted to do this needed to do this.  About 8 years ago, I realized that while I was constantly working and building skills in the workplace, I never created anything.  Now, I'm not the most creative person in the world, but I need an outlet, so I took up baking.  It was a great fit, something I could do to start out with a ton of room to learn and improve, and when things went right I'd wind up with something pretty damn good to eat too.  This band gig is the similar.  I love mastering new things, I also hate to fail, so I like to at least start out in things where I'm fairly competent and have some talent.  Joining a band was the next progression of this for me.  And while I think we sound pretty good, there is so much room for me to improve it's not even funny.  On top of that, I'm getting something out of it.  A sense of accomplishment, a chance to get out of the house regularly, a way to meet new people, earn some extra cash, and to experience something that's so outside of 'normal' for my type of lifestyle that it seems surreal at times.

I wouldn't say I was boring, but my life had definitely fallen into a pattern or repetition.  And in thinking about getting older all I could think of was this is the way it's going to be day in and day out for the foreseeable future.  Joining the band not only broke this mold, it smashed it completely.  And for me that was a huge accomplishment.

The band and many other decisions I've made throughout the year, have lead to other issues in my life, many that I've not written about and I'll continue to keep private for the time being.  Many of them in my opinion were coming and as time goes on I may write about them, but we'll have to see how things play out. This has been another interesting part of the blog's development, how much do I want to ultimately share.  I'd love to write about everything and anything, but since so many of our lives are intertwined I realized early on that I needed to be conscious of what I wrote about other people or my thoughts in relation to certain things.  (Hillbilly neighbor being an exception).  Those that know me might be assuming they know what I'm talking about here, but I can honestly say it's not one particular person or situation I'm referring to.  There are multiple topics and people I choose not to write about.  While I haven't overly promoted this blog, I'm conscious of the fact that it is public and therefore I've made a conscious effort to document my thoughts and feelings around things, rather then about them at times.

I'm getting a bit disinterested here in my writing, so I'm going to try and close this up.  Since it's been one of my favorite things to do on the blog, a list format seems sort of appropriate for an ending to the retrospective.

Some of my favorite things from 2009.

1. Unmuddling my emotions, getting beyond the feeling of despair and getting an understanding of me today.

2. Joining "Torrn"

3. Making new friends, whether it's from the band, the blog, or other ways of meeting new people, I'm happy that I've been able to open up the circle a bit and meet so many new people.

4. Buying the new car, a decade is too long to go between new cars.

5. Bronwyn's development, 3-4 was a heck of a lot of fun. So many things I see her developing into and she always makes my day.

6. Reacquainting myself with many friends from my past.  So nice to reconnect with people I haven't talked to in years.  In thinking about this, I can't believe the number of people I've seen or talked to that I haven't for many years.

7. Breaking the status quo of everyday life.

8. Family: Immediate and extended, there aren't words that can express my appreciation.

9. Friends, my friends are my extended family and extremely appreciated as well.

10. Surviving another year.  Whether it's financially, physically, or emotionally, it's easy to dismiss this as a small thing, but given how complicated life can be it's definitely something to be thankful for.

2010 What's ahead

1. Getting out and playing.  It's funny with no practice for the last month, how far away this seems to be, but realistically it could start happening next week if a gig opens up.  Once we get playing, we should break into the schedule pretty quickly and it will be busy.  I'm hopeful it will make for some interesting reading.

2. Continuing to decipher things in my life.  Still a lot of emotions to untangle, but I think things are going to become a bit clearer during the year.

3. Long workouts.  I'm not sure whether they will happen, I'm just saying after the holiday enjoyment, they need to.

4. Continuing to experience my daughter's growth, amazing to watch.

5. I'm looking forward to writing more and finding other ways of breaking the mold of everyday life.

6. Stopping lists at less then 10 when I can't think of anymore to write about.  That's where I am today, between a headache and being tired of typing, that's all I have for the retrospective.  Hope you enjoyed and if you are lurking and haven't left a comment, say hello sometime, nice to know what people think of the content.


Monica said...

Congrats on such an impressive blogging track record and for getting involved in so many fulfilling activities in '09. Hope '10 is even better for you!

Michael said...

Thanks Monica, appreciate your comments through the year and for linking my page to your blog. (which I might add is outstanding). Good luck in the New Year as well.