A look back on 2017

My birthday being so close to the beginning of the year, I’m usually feeling pretty retrospective around this time.

I think this is the first time that one of these hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows, but I’m not going to lie: 2017 was a hard year. It is not lost on me that I’ve lived a semi-charmed kind of life up until now, and that my problems tend to be of the “first world” variety. I’m not trying to say that I have it harder than so many people. But, you know, I only have this one life to live, so.

I’m generally a pretty upbeat, optimistic kind of guy, and stress usually just kind of rolls off me. So maybe I’m just not used to dealing with it, I don’t know. But I do know that 2017 has been, by far, the most stressful year of my life and, in retrospect, I have not been handling it well.

There was the drama of buying / selling houses, the tremendous amount of work we’ve put into said new house, and just generally having a one year old running around, to say nothing of the mugging and subsequent identity theft. (You might even be surprised to learn there are other things that I don’t even share on the blog!) And honestly, parenting the big kids has gotten quite a bit harder too, partially because of all the activities and things they do, which require a lot of time and effort on our part, and partially because as they get older, their problems (and the remedies to those problems) get more nuanced and complex.

(Just to talk about the mugging for a second: on one hand, I would say I’m well and truly over it, and it doesn’t impact me anymore, and on the other hand I would say that it’s been 9 months and not a day goes by that I don’t still think about it.)

So there are good days and bad days. It is certainly true to say I have probably cried more in 2017 than the previous 5 years combined (probably more in the last MONTH than the previous 5 years combined). I think maybe I had my first ever panic attack. But there have been a lot of good things too, not the least of which is my health. I ran not my customary one, but TWO 5ks this year. My weight has been maintaining somewhere around PRE-COLLEGE(!!!) weight. I have three very intelligent, very unique children, and a wife that I love very much, and we live in a house that is so amazing that I am consistently embarrassed by it.

I find myself reminiscing fondly for a time life was simpler (like, 2016 forex). At the very least I’m hoping for a calm, uneventful 2018, after which we will look back on 2017 and see it for the aberration it was. Just one blip on the radar, not the beginning of a trend (please not the beginning of a trend; I can’t handle another 2017!), just a one time course correction before everything settles down.

In the meantime, I am reexamining everything. Typically my approach to difficulties is just to keep my nose to the grindstone and work as hard as I can until I get to the other side. Just keep those legs churning. It has lately occurred to me that that approach only works if I am pointed in the right direction. If I’m throwing myself into work in the wrong direction, that is, in a way that is not recognized or appreciated because it’s not what everyone else wanted or expected, then I’m actually just digging in deeper and making the problem worse.

So my New Year’s resolution for 2018 is to realign and strive for Zen. Hopefully, if nothing else, I can learn some lessons that will help ultimately redeem 2017 into something worthwhile.

Here’s to a peaceful, calm, Zen 2018!

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