To The Past Year, “Adios”, To The New Year, “Bring Beer”
January 1, 2012 § 4 Comments
I think that reflection and retrospectives are important. When you sit down, turn off distractions, and actually think about what has happened and where you’re going, you’ll find it’s both healthy and horrifying. When you do it, you’ll clear away some of the cobwebs. You’ll find skeletons, hidden under the dust, but the only way to deal with them is to drag them out of there and bury them. And sometimes, you can find treasure. Until you do it, though, you won’t know what’s under there.
Stephen King described his muse as a bunch of “boys in the basement” who act like movers. They bring stuff into the subconscious and down into the mental basement, rearrange it, unpack it, reject some and keep some, and when they’re good and ready (and not a damn second before that) they send it on up to the top for you to take over. I like that image. Sometimes, figuring things out really does just take time while you sort it out inside and conscious thought be damned. I think that’s part of a healthy mind, and retrospection means you’re sticking your head down into the basement and seeing what they’ve done. It’s dirty down there, and the boys are sometimes rough and unpleasant, but it’s good to know what they did and what they’re working on now.
In other words, it’s time for some of that retrospection. Was 2011 a good year? Well, good things happened. Was 2011 a bad year? Well, bad things happened. I think that’s the same for everyone, for the most part. Even the bad things, the really bad things, taught me some good lessons. So that’s good and bad. Did the good outweigh the bad? I don’t know. I don’t even know if that’s a good question to ask, or necessarily what I needed to happen. I can say, however, that mistakes did happen, and learning did happen.
Will 2012 be good? I don’t know. I stuck my head downstairs a couple of times, and the boys shooed me out. They’re still working down there, and I’m not helping by bothering them. It’s busy now, we’ll see what happens in the future. They don’t plan the future, mind, but they do give me what I need to work on it.
Speaking of the future, you could ask: “So John, do you have any resolutions?” Why yes, I do. I never used to believe in them, but I have a good idea this time.
On my wall I have the Work Board. This is a whiteboard on which I have the week ahead laid out. I have a daily quota of writing that I need to do to fill out sections of the board. It’s a very visible reminder of the work I’ve done, and the work I still have to do. It’s helped a lot to motivate my work and push me when I need a little reminder. Seeing where you are and where you’re going is the best way to stay on track.
First resolution: I’m adding something new to that board this year. I have a project for 2012, and that is to read a book a week. I’ll call it the Mighty 52 because it sounds cool. I’ll check in every Sunday with my progress, and you can laugh and judge my reading habits for a whole year. The first book is Stardust. Yes I know I’m a huge Gaiman fan and no I haven’t read it yet and please don’t hurt me but I’m reading it now.
Second resolution: Well, that’s not for you to know. Not yet.
Finally, I want to thank all of you who come by and check what I do here. I’m still young and this is still getting started, but doing this wouldn’t be possible if I didn’t know people saw it. Thank you, one and all.
And, because I love Mr. Gaiman so much, I’ll copy him and make a wish for all of us. He said that he hopes we all make mistakes this year. I say that I hope we all dream.
Because dreaming doesn’t build anything, but it’s like hiding treasure under the ground. That treasure, because it’s hidden, becomes valuable, and you have to go out there and find it. That means you’ll encounter pirates and secret maps, danger and man-eating (or woman-eating) crocodiles and adventure, and you will have to dig and fight and sweat and bleed to bring that treasure out to the light of day, to turn that treasure from a dream to reality. And, big or little, great or small, if you do it, you’ll be all the richer for it.
So long for now, and may 2012 be the year we dream and make mistakes and grow older. From here, it doesn’t sound that bad to me at all.