Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Introspection Time

Yes, Christmas has just come and gone, and there are only a few days of the current calender year remaining. So, as is my bent, I turn my reflective eye inward and take a look at this year gone by.

So far, I have written 258 O.S.N.G. blog posts, something of which I am quite proud. The goal was to write 365 for the year, and I'll be about a hundred short of that. But I'm up from 11 in 2010 and 3 in 2009, so I'm happy about my productivity. Not every post is a pearl; some are downright clunkers as far as the writing goes. What these posts all provide, however, is a record for my children of what was important to their dad, as well as some real-time snapshots of who they were at ages 8 and 6 respectively.

There are some thoughts on education, a little bit of politics, maybe a dash of religion here and there, all of which will give Diego and Jackson a feel for what the world was like in their childhood days of the "early-to-mid-aughts."

This year I took a technique of my father's, scribbling ideas ("early tweets," I called them in a 2010 post) on 3 x 5 cards, and ran with it. For a while there I kept the cards in my pocket at all times, coming home with two or three good journal/blog ideas each day. For a few months I averaged a post a day on Blogger, and I've gotten encouragement from a range of people I respect. At my high school reunion in October, several people who have never left a comment on my blog made it a point to tell me how much they enjoy reading it.

Thanks to the technology available to me -- the Internet in general and Facebook and Twitter specifically -- my writing has an "audience." This humbles me and makes me aware of how important honesty is to what I write. Used to be that what I wrote was between me, the void, and whomever I chose directly to show my work.

Now I can pretty safely assume that if I put my writing out there, via Facebook status update or tweet, that someone will read it. So it has to be good, if I want those readers to continue to view my stuff.

In the realm of the professional, I've just recently changed jobs -- moving back into the school arena. I feel back in my "comfort zone," working with young people and their teachers, trying to help them through the maze of school. It's much more difficult than the work I was doing at Region 13, and the change is part of the drop off in my blog's productivity during the fourth quarter this year. But I like the hard work. It makes me think back to my foreman, the poet Keith Althaus, who was in almost constant motion when we worked together at the MarSpec warehouse in Provincetown, Massachusetts during the summer of 1984. He was always working -- so much so that I cannot recall Keith without seeing him walking quickly, or checking his paperwork, or operating a forklift, moving inventory. He wasn't joyless, by any stretch; in fact, I still giggle at some of the snide remarks he came out with, always in motion, with his nose to that proverbial grindstone. My favorite was his sarcasm regarding the Olympic Games that summer. The Soviets boycotted the L.A. games, bringing down the level of competition considerably. Keith came in one morning and said, "Did you guys see what we did to Guam last night? We crushed 'em."

I once asked Keith, over a quickly-devoured sandwich, why he never stopped moving. "Makes the day go faster," he said. And he was right. In the past three months, I've come to understand that a high school assistant principal's day goes by extremely fast.

And on the home front, the self-esteem that comes with the new job (although wrapped in a significant pay cut) has paid dividends. I'm able to be more "present" for my family, all of whom appear to be thriving, thank God. Sure, I have my goals, particularly in the areas of personal finance and fitness. All in all, though, 2011 has turned out to be a very good year indeed.

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