So This Is the New Year: 2018 Edition

I’m going to end up writing this in two parts. I say that as if it’s unusual, but it’s not, since I normally write blog posts over the course of many days. It is rare, however, for me to know exactly how many times I will return to a post.

I’m going to write this in two parts because it’s New Year’s Eve and right now my wife is reading books to our son as he gets ready for bed. When she’s done, I’ll go in there, and after that I’ll spend time with her, until she has to go to bed as tomorrow is her morning to get up with him. I will then no doubt slink back into my office to pick up where I left off.

It will be interesting (to me, at least) to see how different the two writing sessions are.

Anyway, it’s New Year’s Eve and when the aforementioned three year old asked me what it was, I used the phrase “arbitrary division of time” or the like. I know that this particular night doesn’t mean anything. That said, I’m a big fan of taking stock of your life, something I generally do every other day or so. The fact that there’s at least one night of the year when I’m not in the minority on that front is nice.

I could talk about 2017 but I’m wondering if that’s better a) left to the more tired and probably tipsy me of later this evening or b) forgotten about. There are enough people writing about the awfulness that was this past year. Such awfulness makes it hard to be optimistic going into the new year.

I follow a comic book artist on Twitter (I follow a lot of them) who became a father last year and tonight he posted about how, even though 2017 was a phenomenally bad year, it was the best of his life.

That’s how we get through it. When the big things are bad, we look to the little things to find good. There’s a lot to find.

For me, I think the fact that I’m an uncle for a third time is the saving grace of this past year. I’m thrilled that Nicole’s brother and his wife get to experience parenthood and I’m so happy that my son gets a new cousin not too far from his age.

Obviously, any year that I get to spend with my wife and son is a good one. There’s a meme going around on Twitter to name the one thing you got to do this year that yourself from five years ago would be really excited about. I think I’d be overjoyed to learn that I spent the year playing with my son. He is an incredibly amazing and frustrating 3 year old that means everything to me.

It’s hard to talk about the past year in a larger sense. I don’t know anyone with a soul who hasn’t seen their life negatively impacted, at least indirectly. I know I’m not qualified to accurately speak to it, so I’ll leave it alone.

So what do we do about next year?

I’ve never really made new year’s resolutions in part because I don’t really try to do anything new, just better, but that’s something I’m trying every single day. But I can get behind long term goals as resolutions. The idea should be “this is what I’m going to accomplish by the end of the year.” And that should be followed by “and here’s how,” although I think it’s safe to say that most people have yet to figure out that second part.

I divide my life into a few choice groups: my wife, my son, my writing, work, domestic duties, and free time. So it’s easy for me to say I want to be a better husband, father, writer, and employee. It’s not easy for me to actually do those things. And those are all vague ideas, anyway. So here’s what I’m actually going to do:

  1. Have more family adventures
  2. Have more date nights
  3. Send my stories out
  4. Send my query letters out
  5. Be more diligent at work
  6. Help clean out the garage
  7. Get our cat’s teeth cleaned
  8. Drink less*
  9. Clear one plate, two plates, and three plates in the Big 3
  10. Learn Spanish*

*I’m breaking my vagueness rule a bit with these two, I know. 

As for learning Spanish, it will probably take me all of 2018, so that’s less a vague goal and more of a all encompassing one.

I suppose there’s also another big issue:

 Comic by John Auchter, found here:
Comic by John Auchter, found here:

I’m going to try to be more active next year. I give money to a number of causes as it is, but next year is an election year so I need to get the vote out.

Next year is also the first year that I think my son will really understand Christmas, so my wife and I have already decided it will be time to incorporate giving to balance out the receiving. I think right now he’s still too much of a toddler, still too much in the “me, me, me” phase to appreciate that lesson.

So there it is. There’s my idea of the new year, at 11:44PM on the last day of the old one.

Oh, and one last goal: blog more. That’s already been in the works for a few weeks now. Lucky you.