I haven’t worked a full day since Friday, December 16th. That’s when I left for Christmas vacation. I actually returned to the office from holidays last Tuesday but left early and went home, sick to my stomach and with a sore throat and throbbing headache. After visiting the doctor the next day: strep throat. Ugh.
I’d love to be able to gush about how refreshing it was to have more than two solid weeks away from the daily routine, at home with family, enjoying the familiar warmth of the Christmas season but I won’t… because it wasn’t refreshing.
Of the 17 vacation days I had, only 3 of them were days that one of us was not just about sick unto death. (This last week was only another seven days of such “luck.”) In a year that saw many trials for our family (including my wife and I losing an unborn baby boy at 19 weeks, one year ago today actually, and subsequent minor surgery for Lindsey a few months later), those 17 days at home were really just in keeping with the learning experience that was 2011. Also…
- I am not really famous.
- I am not rich (financially).
- I don’t have a lot of the “toys” that many men pursue lustily.
- It will be a great, many years before my wife and I take our dream, 17-day tour of England, Scotland and Wales.
- My 9-year-old car has more than 215,000 km (129,000 mi) on it; a number that quickly and steadily grows.
Whoa, hold on. Honestly, don’t for a second assume that I’m bitter, resentful or upset because I am not. Why? Perspective. I’ve made the conscious choice to allow the trials and life situations in my life to develop me, not envelop me.
Listen, we just finished up the calendar month that has every year’s highest rate of suicide. I know for a fact that there are guys out there, not too unlike myself, that would do almost anything to have a sick family to take care of; they would love to live in the home I have to look after their loved ones; they would give up the world to live the life I have. A wise person was quoted as saying: “No one on their deathbed wishes they had spent more time at the office.”
Did you catch the phrase above? “…The learning experience that was 2011…” If I take nothing else from 2011, if nothing more it must be at least that: a learning experience. I made a decision a while ago that I am not going to sit back and let life happen to me. I have never asked, “why to bad things happen to good people,” because I know the answer to that question.
Perhaps I’m more sensitive to the language this year but I do not recall as much emphasis put on “New Year’s resolutions” as there was last week at the beginning of 2012. I’ve never been a fan of waiting until January 1 to resolve to do things I ought to do anyway: just do it already or, perhaps more accurately, just be it already. (I’ve written previously on the importance of being and not just doing.)
The end of the calendar year and the start of another is, however, an excellent time for introspection, looking back and planning for what lies ahead. For me, not much changed from December 2011 and January 2012; this year I am still going to:
- Stay the course.
- Continue steady on.
- Use trials and life situations to develop me not envelop me.