Tuesday, January 8, 2008

New Year's Fortnight

I have resisted the trite New Year's resolution post. There's a part of me that hates going along with what is expected. I also think I'm still recovering from November's post-a-day marathon. Then December was a month-long workday. After working long hours day after day, it's hard to muster any energy to write something remotely coherent. As January opened, my December hangover lingered. I am just now wiping away the cobwebs and ready to start writing again.

But what am I going to write?

Rather than look forward, I am going to pause to look back. Not that I can do anything about what happened in 2007, but I think there are some lessons to learn in the review.

In the fall of 2007, I took part in a men's group at church. I plan to continue the second half of that course this spring. What I learned by participating was not really anything new. It was a reminder that men need to be with other men for accountability. A reminder that I am flawed. (Jen will be surprised to read that I am flawed. She thinks I'm perfect in every way.) And encouragement that my crazy background is matched by a lot of the backgrounds of other men -- many of whom I would never think shared life experiences with me. In 2008, I want to be even more transparent -- and I think I was fairly transparent in the small group I am in. I also want to be more intentional about acting on some of the things I learn/realize/experience in this group. That's not the easiest thing for me. I am cognitive. I enjoy the mental exercise. Which also means I can overthink things into inaction. I don't want to do that with this group. If that's all I do, I will have wasted this opportunity.

In 2007, I did a decent job of making time for Jen and Keegan. But as you might assume, "decent" signals much room for improvement. I need to be more intentional about being present when I have time with Jen and K-Man. I can't waste those opportunities.

In 2007, I was unsuccessful in reaching some goals at work. I am an attorney, and I work in a firm. What that means, is that my life is ruled by the billable hour. The firm places expectations for billable hours on attorneys like me. We have to bill a minimum of hours each year. We are encouraged to bill more than the minimum by the firm's bonus structure. When 2007 started, I set some goals for myself in terms of billable hours. I did not meet those goals. (I hate even admitting that!) But what did I learn from 2007? That sometimes, I need to worry about me and my family more than I worry about what is best for my reputation. Huh? Suffice it to say that I left some money on the table in 2007. Money that my family could have used in any number of ways. So for 2008, I intend to do what I have to do to ensure I am in a position to earn what I can for the family. Now that doesn't mean that I need to work more hours necessarily. What it means is that I need to make every opportunity I have count. If my workload slips, I need to secure more work. I don't want to waste this opportunity.

2007 was a good year. Here's to a solid 2008. Here's to a 2008 that balances life and family and friends and faith and work. In the first fortnight of the year, things seem to be on course.