2016 Goals & Dreams

  1. Publish my book
  2. Record one cover song
  3. Record one original song
  4. Make one app
  5. Take photos
  6. Publish my second poetry book
  7. Don't spend money
  8. Love my neighbors
 All very simple...all much harder than they look on paper, I think.

What I did in 2015

I wish I could say I met all my personal and reading goals for 2015 - but I really didn't.  Personal issues threw me off course for the better part of the first six months, and it was summer before I came back to where I had, so optimistically, began.  It's ok: it's why I call them goals and dreams, not resolutions.  In the end, failure became a catalyst for achieving other things, which, in an odd way, turned out for the best.

Goals met:
  1. Quit my Tumblr habit -  I give this an 80% pass.  I still manage to idle away time on the internet, but I do so less these days, and spend relatively little time on Tumblr.
  2. Save money - I spent quite a bit of money, to buy a car and to build credit, but I managed to save quite a bit as well.
  3. Contribute to open-source projects - 50% for effort.  I put a little project on GitHub, which is a start.
  4. Finish The Infinite Now - In July I finished my book...my pride and joy and four years' labor of love.  :)  It's really not too much to say that it was life-changing, both writing it and finishing it.  If I'd done nothing else this year, this alone would make me happy.
Things done that were unplanned:
  1. Becoming vegetarian - At the end of March, I decided to go vegetarian.  I'd been thinking about it on and off, and finally felt like I'd better just do it and stop thinking about it. My goal, as it's evolved, is to not eat any meat for a year, then to reevaluate and decide whether to continue or stop.  Maybe in another post I'll talk about my motives and inspiration, but for now, I'm relieved I've made it through summer potlucks and holidays, nine months meatless!
  2. Cutting my hair - The same day I finished my book, I donated 12" of hair to Wigs for Kids.  It was not as heroic as it sounds...I have had medium-to-long hair for over a decade, and suddenly getting a bob was a bit shocking, far from the "yay! makeover!" as it's sometimes marketed.  However, like vegetarianism, it was something I felt compelled to do.  I haven't regretted it (though I miss my long hair).
  3. Mentoring - My dad and I became programming mentors at my brother's robotics club this past November.  It feels kind of scary...I don't consider myself particularly qualified...but they really needed more mentors, so I decided to give it a go.
  4. Surviving a year at my job - Getting acclimated to my first full-time job, I went through an enormous amount of pressure, panic, and despondency.  I was frustrated with tasks I felt I knew nothing about, frustrated with comparing myself to other new coworkers, and frustrated with feeling out of place (which I still do, but that's another quandary).  The good news is, I had my one-year review this month, and my boss thought I did fine.  I scored highest on interpersonal skills...which, as a former shy girl, made me want to weep for joy...no one has any idea how much pain it takes to be "natural" at communicating, unless you used to be very unnatural at it.  So I have changed.
This year, I grew up.  I've become old and tired and almost aromantic (little 'r'...I'll always be Romantic).  But growing up for me has been surprisingly good; at heart I am still "seven-and-a-half exactly," and in my head I'm all the combined wisdom and rubbish and pomposity of a twenty-something.  2015 was not quiet, nor very bookish, nor a "gap year" - it was what it was, and I'm grateful for a happy ending to it. 

December again

Suddenly, when little ironies show their hideous faces, and the little world twists madly on and around its weary axis, it's as if you can hear Jesus saying, "Am I not enough?"  In His Words, He promises, My grace is sufficient for you, and Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help.  

I can think I am at equilibrium and sufficiently past time's early barriers, but when the tendrils of expectation enter my head, they weigh me down with the scent of deception and false deities.  I scramble in the dark for easy exits, forgetting there is no reason to run.

Emmanuel means God is with us - I want only to be always conscious of His omniscience.
  
A year ago I was (once again) at a very low point, overnight as it seemed.  Last night, confused and self-loathing and crying tired tears, I asked for help again.  Like this year was new, this morning was also new.  He doesn't look down on my ongoing battles: every time I look up He pulls me through. 

How do you be joyful again, when you remember past joys being undone by personal sorrows?  By probability, joy will never not be crushed again, but through Jesus, sadness and losses are conquerable.  New courage, when it is so perfect, is a miracle, and comes as quietly yet completely as only God can make happen.