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I never developed the habit of intentional retrospection and resolution that so many people tie to this time of year. I felt it was a cheat of some sort - why should such an important action be limited to just one brief (and usually ineffective) burst of activity each year?

But I'm starting to come around to the idea. Thinking back over the last several years, I don't spot many times where I *made* that time for introspection, and acted on it. Perhaps rather than being open to assessment and commitment at all times I've been avoiding them at any time.

2011 was, in many ways, a really terrible year for me. For us. We dance on the edge of losing our house, we have dug our giant pit of debt a little deeper, and we're facing the "Vime's Boots" dilemma with several major expense decisions. The kid is now out of high school, with a crisp new graduation certificate, but no real prospects that include living here on the outskirts, and no particular call to move elsewhere. I've stopped active efforts to find a "real job", even though I crave the routine and support it would provide, as there continues to be a 100% no response what-so-ever to my dozens of applications.

But 2011 had several high points as well. I started a second part-time job that, like the first one, doesn't pay enough to be a major support to the family, but helps with the little stuff. And the work is fascinating, challenging in ways that already have me making mistakes, learning from them, and hopefully improving (or at least making *different* mistakes). Everyone here is healthy and our attitude continues to be upbeat regardless of the sometimes distressing realities.

So, resolutions. My main one is to embrace, rather than tolerate, the multiple streams of effort that my work life has become. To say "yes" to new projects when they don't conflict with current responsibilities. To start actively charting and anticipating upcoming opportunities and commitments.

On the personal side, I want to push myself to make contact. To write blog posts. To comment on other people's. To pick up the phone. I've let my social interactions settle into a quiet background hum of skimming LJ and FaceBook, and just drifting through the rare convention or gathering I get to. I want that to change. I want to be more of a part of the conversation, and know better who else is there and doing things.

So here's the first post of the new year. May there be many more!


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 1st, 2012 03:26 pm (UTC)
"Real jobs" have changed so much since I first started working (in, um, 1966), that I don't think they're such a deal anymore, even at the professional level. Several jobs and multiple, if small, streams of income seems to work best, that way if one job falls away, or someone pays late, you still have some cash flowing.

Of course, I say this, being (apparently) inclined to a freelance lifestyle. And I don't have a college-aged kid.

Jan. 2nd, 2012 02:05 am (UTC)
He's college-aged, but not yet college-inclined. And I go with the philosophy that one shouldn't do college unless one desperately wants it. Also, there's this inverse cost/effect thing going on right now where having the degree doesn't give much of a boost.

Having done both, I find I prefer the "big group working together" mode better than the "one hundred tasks you do by yourself" mode of business, but I guess I'll go with what's actually available and make it work.

Thanks for being one of the examples that this *can* work.
Jan. 1st, 2012 04:26 pm (UTC)
Wishing you strength and a stream of good opportunities this year.
Jan. 2nd, 2012 02:06 am (UTC)
Jan. 2nd, 2012 01:57 am (UTC)
I agree with rolanni -- several jobs will help more than one big one, which seems hard to find. Have you encouraged the Kid to take on any possible job for which he may qualify (including car wash attendant, grocery bagger, fire-fighter)?

I know the market sucks, but is there anyway you can just sell the house and get out from under it? It's better to lose some of the investment rather than all of it, IMO.

I sure wish you lived closer. Not that I have any jobs... but selfishly, I miss you.

2012 has GOT to be better. It was a totally shitty year for me, too. xoxo
Jan. 2nd, 2012 02:13 am (UTC)
I did look into selling the house. Problem is, the monthly rental is not any better, and then we wouldn't have the stability of what equity we do have. At this point the house is not "under water" - it's still worth a good chunk more than we owe on it - it's just (heh, "just") a matter of coming up with the monthly mortgage payment every month.

The last couple of months have been encouraging, providing a minor boost even though we are still in very murky woods.

Job prospects here are Vashon are really bad, even grocery bagging has a wait list (the firefighters are volunteers, and there is no car wash unless you include the football club's almost monthly fund raiser). I do have some hopes that his drawing can be pushed into something he can do from home. On Tuesday he's going to be moving boxes for a few hours down at the studio, so that's something.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )


after all
Alice Bentley

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