Thursday, December 31, 2015

Old Year, New Year

As December 2015 comes to a close, I'll sneak in this single blog post for the month (the last five months or so, in fact). Once upon a time, I would routinely blog every day in December as part of Holidailies. Even further in the past, I would routinely blog every day of the year. But times change, people change, and here we are, heading into 2016, and ready to take this arbitrary boundary as a time to reflect. I've made resolutions at times in the past, but this year I'm struck by a suggestion I heard, to reflect instead on something from the past year I'm grateful for and something I'm looking forward to in the new year. But I always have trouble narrowing things down, so I've got a handful for each.

2015 Gratitude

In August, I was anxious about education for both of my daughters. Our oldest was going from the most wonderful PreSchool in the world straight into first grade. At first, I was a little concerned about her social transition from a small preschool to a 1st grade class of 22 in which she would be the youngest. Then, as the year went on, I was concerned about the quality of the education she was getting. But overall, I think it's been a good experience for her. At the same time, our younger daughter wasn't able to go to the same wonderful preschool, because it closed. She started at a different preschool which... is okay. It's not amazing like the other one was. But it, too, is good for our child. And we're thinking we'll try to put her in Kindergarten next year, a year early. So I'm thankful that my girls are doing well in their respective schools.

It started in 2014, but through the spring and summer of the past year, I connected with a local writer's group. I'm still working to make writing a routine part of my life, but I'm thankful for a group that has nourished this part of myself and enriched my life.

Just recently, I had some very difficult realizations thrust upon me, about myself and about my relationship to someone important to me. Confronting these realizations wasn't easy, it wasn't comfortable, it wasn't something I wanted to deal with. But I'm grateful to be able to see myself more clearly and perhaps to strengthen a relationship before it's completely broken. Here's hoping.

2016 Looking Forward

My wife's trying to keep an internet secret, so I won't say the most important thing that I'm looking forward to in 2016. But it is #1 on my list. I'm hoping I can talk about it publicly soon.

This spring will be my first season (and hopefully not my last!) as head coach of the girls tennis program at the high school where I work. I've got some very definite ideas about how I want to approach this, and I'm excited for the opportunity to try some new things and help my players reach their potential and, hopefully, win more than a few matches.

Most of the other things that come to mind seem far less certain. They're more like those resolutions that are more hopes and wishes than plans and certainties. I'm excited about the possibility of planting some almond trees in our yard. Could this be the spring we get chickens? Maybe in 2016 I'll finally finish at least a rough draft of the novel I've been putzing around with for the last few years? I did read more than a few books in the past year, which bodes well for reading a fair number in the next, and I'm always excited by what new great wonders I may discover between those pages. I expect I'll grow as a father and a husband, a son and a friend in the next 366 days--anyway, I'm sure those people most important to me hope so.

And so, a happy new year to you all: may it be filled with much to anticipate and much to be grateful for. I'd love to hear in the comments some of your own things in those categories.