Well, here’s the deal. The last two weeks in January held more mental and emotional challenges than I had expected. And spiritual ones. Social ones, also. Plus the professional and financial ones.
2018 was a rough year. 2019 is continuing the trend.
And it’s only February.
That being said, I did not do the stoic, deep dive into 2018 that I desired, but this does not mean I did not think on it.
2018 was a difficult year. I can’t really get around that. I would like to. I would like to be able to say I made all these wonderful strides, that I am more of a whole person, and that 2019 is going to be my best year yet. As I look back on 2018, I could not say this honestly.
Is anything better as a result of the personal work I did in 2018? Of course. Based on the personality profiling and self assessments that I’ve done, I learned that I have a certain amount of creative impulse and default neuroticism, which leads to a great deal of disappointment, shame, and withdrawal. This makes sense and is actually encouraging. If I know what my default responses are going to be, it will be easier to anticipate when I am going to spiral into emotions like depression and despair. Unfortunately, we’ve already learned in 2019 that knowledge is one thing, application is another.
Perhaps the greatest success of 2018 was maintaining a morning routine typically during the work week, which helped recalibrate my mindset each day. Having a decent chunk of time to oneself to do things that really matter is a great way to begin the day. It’s far better than dragging oneself out of bed and fighting through breakfast and slogging off to work feeling like they got you as soon as you’ve gotten up. Easing into the day by doing things truly matter is a proven method to improve oneself, and I would recommend it to everyone with whom I speak. Particularly as a person of faith, opening the day with wisdom from the Proverbs, strong words from Christ, or encouraging words from Paul has shown to be a valuable practice. The other reading helps to because I find it to be such a relaxing activity.
Another aspect of 2018 was the ongoing tracking of things like my “to do” list and schedule, to see how well I did with commitment and to ensure I was on top of tasks. I find that I’m pretty average in this regard. If something needs to be done, like an eBay package going out or paying a bill, I do a fairly decent job of maintaining my due dates, deadlines, and responsibilities. When it comes to anything remotely related to personal growth such as focused writing, personal project, or even allowing myself time to build Lego, I find that I am woefully poor. In fact, it seems that when I’m tired all I wanna do is lay down and consume a movie. There is nothing wrong with this in and of itself, but when one consumes the same films and they don’t really elicit anything (or they’re just hollow or plain bad), this is not a good way to relax. In fact might be one of the worst ways to relax. But I love laying down on the couch watching a movie and eat popcorn. I don’t know if I just need to train myself out of this in 2019, but it is something of which I took a note in the last year.
So at the end of the day, I’ve really concluded that 2018 was the year of focused self-reflection, identification of personal flaws and ongoing struggle to battle against those issues. Further of note but above referenced, it was the first year since publishing Stronghold that I really felt concerned about relapse, and it reminded me of the reality that overcoming addiction is a lifelong journey and struggle.
What does that mean for 2019? Well, I am going to put that as best I can given a recent revelation, that I did not even discuss yet. I was working on a portfolio, and I stated, “I have had two clear constants in my life: faith and toys. They are not the sole Constants, but they are two readily identifiable. Yes, both are tied to friends and family, but when I am alone, these two facets of life seemed to always be in equation; sometimes they have even interwoven. That’s a major part of what my life has that’s been my life, and I think it will be the focus of the coming year here.
How do I intend to manifest that? That’s a really great question to which I do not have a good answer. If I had more time to blog, the things about which I would write would be toy memories, recommendations for activities with your children, ways in which you can be encourage others, and the intersection of these with faith. Will I have a work life balance here in the states to enable me to do that? Probably not. Time will tell.
Thanks so much for the visit and the support,