Vacation has been great. For the most part, I completely checked out from my professional life and from any sort of normal routine. I based my schedule–no, my daily activities, for there was very little that could be construed as a schedule–on my whim. I visited, cooked, ran, played word games, slept, wrote, learned French, read, disconnected, reconnected, watched football, and did laundry–if and when I felt so inclined. Some days I accomplished very little, some days a bit more. Some days I even got dressed.

While all this “nothing” was happening, random thoughts would occasionally slip unbidden into my consciousness, particularly the kind that are wont to do so as a year ends. I didn’t hunt for them, but neither did I ward them off. They just happened.

I’m not sad to see 2011 go.  Some chapters in my life closed while others can’t seem to move forward without first taking a few steps back. I’ve lost people close to me and struggled with futility. Sometimes I feel like a feel like a fish out of water as I try to discover the person who is the real me.

All in all, it was a fairly turbulent year, but it wasn’t without some really brilliant moments of sunshine breaking through the clouds. I started writing publicly, first this blog and then a freelance gig. That validated a hidden desire and brought me confidence I didn’t expect. I found a family I didn’t know I had. That opened a new corner of the world for me and brought some special people into my life. It also gave me the impetus I needed to tackle another language, an intellectual challenge I have always loved. I made some new friends. I reconnected with some old friends. I’ve watched my son turn into a young man and my daughter charm the world around her. I paid off my car and refinanced my house. I’m starting, slowly, to get plugged into my community.

It is these moments of promise that I want to carry into 2012. I don’t want to squander them by letting them languish; I want to lay them as the foundation to something bigger. Resolutions don’t interest me, but goals do. I need to work toward something concrete that I can attain; I need a plan. Trying to embrace a formless ideal won’t move me forward. So here’s what I’m going to do.

  1. I’m going to continue my French lessons so that I can become reasonably conversational with my newfound family members. I want to be able to express myself in their language.
  2. I’m going to run the Indy Mini again. My goal is to improve my time from the last Mini I ran, even if it is by one second.
  3. I’m going to ride the PMC again this year. This time, I’m going to put in 500 miles on the bike before I cross the starting line. That means getting on the saddle earlier and more regularly.
  4. I’m going to run five races besides the Mini this year. I need events to keep me true to my running.
  5. I’m going to sit down to dinner with my kids at least one night a week.
  6. I’m going to teach my kids to follow a recipe.
  7. I’m going to write something bigger than an article, and then I’m going to try to have it published.

Okay, maybe those don’t sound like much, but they are steps in the process of living healthier, tickling my brain, and preparing my kids for adulthood. I encourage you (read: plead with you) to check back with me throughout the year to see how I’m doing. Hold me accountable, please.

Here I come, 2012, ready or not.

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