A year of good intentions 

I should have known my grand plan for this year might hit a snag or two when my most enterprising, driven friend told me he thought my list of 40 goals for 2015 was “really amibitious.”

Almost everyone I talked to – while expressing good wishes and excitement over such a list – said they thought it was too much to pack into a year. It was. But purposely! It was a set of achievable and stretch goals, for sure.

And yet…

In project management, you’re taught to not only account for what needs to be done but also the unforseeable that might push back a project’s schedule.

The other thing they tell you is to create accountability and tracking processes.

Without any of this, most projects are doomed to fail.

From a sheer numbers perspective, this one did.

I know I achieved some of the goals on this list, but trying to remember the details behind them (outings with AG, records I listened to, books I read) is proving somewhat challenging.

The unforseeable played a huge role in my year. No one expected my friend Mark to succumb so quickly to cancer. His death left me sad and angry in ways I’ve only fully accepted over the past month. You know how you injure yourself and the pain subsides but then you realize you healed up all wrong and need to rehabilitate a new injury now? That’s the best way I can describe it.

I’ll also note here that some health issues in my extended family pulled my focus for several months in the spring and summer and left me without a lot of mental or physical energy to knock out some of the more fun things on this list. Superdawg will have to wait for 2016.

Plus, some of these things weren’t fully under my control. A book with one of my essays in it got pushed back a year, some date-specific goals had unavoidable conflicts, etc. And I forgot to anticipate how much starting a new job pushes other things to the background.

Some of the important things on that list did happen though. I did launch a South Side reading series, The Frunchroom (the next one is January 21st, you should come out for it!). Some friends and I created a scholarship fund. I’m about halfway through that bottle of Lagavulin and know about four chords on a ukelele. I appeared on a national TV show (and even though it’s the place I work I’m still counting it).

Unexpected accomplishments also popped up. I went to L.A. for the first time this year. We took Abigail to her first White Sox game. I stood up in a friend’s wedding. I took a photo that made my ice-cream-holding-hand locally famous as the death knell of winter. I coached kids’ soccer despite not really understanding soccer. Erin and I went to Moto. And wrote my first obituary, which will probably go down as one of the most important things I will ever write.

The whole point of this list was to learn new things this year. Whether I expected to or not, I learned a lot about myself. I developed new priorities. I discovered more about what needs my attention.

Looking back on this list, it’s full of some really great things. They’re all worth doing.

I’m just going to push back the due date on some of them.

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