penny in a castle

A digital chapbook.

Happy New You

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As I mentioned last year, I don’t tend to resolve much at the beginning of the year (or even throughout the year for that matter).  Frankly I just don’t have the energy to reinvent myself year after year – and then live with the disappointment when I am still…myself.

All that being said, it’s helpful to reflect and plan ahead.  And this year, I’ve had a few resolutions thrust upon me – whether I like it or not.

So, as I wave good-bye to the year rapidly vanishing in my rear view mirror – here is how things went down in 2013 and how they are shaping up for next year.

My mom still has cancer

You might at first consider this to be a bad thing.  Certainly she would prefer not to have cancer, and we all live in hope of the miracle cure.  That being said, with the kind of cancer my mom has, she has already outlived the statistics.  This is such a blessing – to have so much more time with her, and to be able to treasure her and tell her that I love her.  So that she can watch her grand kids grow up a little bit more and see the interesting people they are becoming. The fact that she still has a good social life and so much to give still – it takes my breath away.  She is still my hero and I marvel at her strength and courage.  So, yes, it really, really is a terrible awful thing that she has cancer.  But I am so very thankful that she is still with us to celebrate this new year.

I changed jobs

The change was not significant.  I am still working in communications – even the same kind of communications for the same branch of government and at the same level.  That being said, I’ve taken on a whole new set of completely different issues and clients.

This is something that can be said about working in government communications – you can (relatively) easily move around and do something new to stay fresh and interested.

I’ve only been in this position for two months.  The learning curve is steep as the files are completely different from ones I have worked on in the past.  Each day I feel as though I am out of my depth and stumbling around a little.  I feel as though every day I have to have long conversations with folks just to scrape the surface of understanding.  Frankly, I’m even still trying to decide if I like it or not.

But what is important is that I’m learning something new.  I’m asking questions. I’ve met new team members and clients with different perspectives.  I’m also working with colleagues in other areas of communications that are teaching me about their specialities.

It’s challenging, and even though I am out of my comfort zone, I think it’s exactly what I needed to get me out of my entrenched work habits and ways of thinking.  It may not be a perfect fit, but it will help me to kick my own butt and continue to evaluate my career path.  It’s a start.

I kept volunteering

So much for taking a break.

It seems I can’t help myself from staying involved. However, I have taken a lower key, more one-off approach to volunteering.

I have attended parent council meetings at the school, but I didn’t put my hand up to hold down a particular position.  Instead, I have spent some time on field trips herding marauding school agers.   I bought supplies for the Halloween dancethon, and Christmas gifts for the kids at school who would otherwise have nothing under the tree.

I did reluctantly agree to sit on our community’s communications committee and run their Twitter account, but this is so low impact as to be almost non-existent – and it allows me to nicely dovetail my work skills in with my volunteer work and vice versa.  With my daughter I helped run the craft table at an event for celebrating the history of our community and its trees.

I baked the damn cupcakes for the bake sales at work (actually, I think I’ve baked more for charity than for my own family this year).  I brought in canned food for the food bank.

There are times when I chose to give donations rather than time because my own time has frankly become more precious and elusive.

All of my careful non-commitment may change though in the new year because I think I might have accidently volunteered to help out at Sunday school.  However, I think I do owe this one back to the teachers who have taken care to teach my kids over the last few years.

I fell off the gym wagon (several times)

Boy that one smarts a bit – especially the thud as my pride hits the ground.  I had really hoped this past year might have been my year of getting fit.  Instead it has been the opposite.  Initially I managed to get out to the gym. Then in the early summer I started running at 5:30 am.  Guess how long that lasted?  After our vacation, I started walking – again early in the morning.  But admittedly, while my new job has been good for my career, it’s been terrible for my body.

I’m not getting any younger, so being fit is becoming less of a choice.  At the same time, it’s getting increasingly difficult to fit into my schedule.  That’s why I’m glad my oh-so-helpful husband signed me up for a 10K in the spring (I’m glad he did – registration is already 90% full!).  I’m hoping that by giving myself a drop-dead (actually, hopefully not that) deadline, I will get myself into gear and make it stick.  Now I just have to figure out where to start.  Right here looks good…

Il faudra que j’aprenne français

This is another resolution that I have decided I don’t really have a choice about.  I’ve reached a point in my career that I need to have a specific level of French if I want to keep my job.  I’m really thankful that my manager has given me the time, space and opportunity to take French language training – it’s a gift that is not available to everyone and I truly appreciate it.  I’ve been very lucky – I have had the opportunity to take French training in the past. I know it’s not an easy road and it can break you down.  But I find that by embracing the learning of a new language opens up whole new worlds of reading and culture that you really should be exposed to if you want to see a broader perspective.

Bloggity Blog Blog Blogging.  Blarg.

I’m continuing in my resolve to blog.  Last year, I had hoped to experiment more and try new things.  I wanted to make blogging a habit.  I think I was less successful on the creative side of things than I would have liked to have been.  I have many ideas – but sometimes they escape before I have a chance to get them written down somewhere.  Blogging has also not been as habit forming as I have expected.  There are only so many hours in the day and sometimes the laundry has to take precedence or else my children won’t have clean underwear.  I’m hoping this year though will be a bit different and I will squeeze in a few more writing moments.

I will admit though that practicing my writing has helped me immensely at work.  I don’t know if the quality has improved much.  It does seem to have increased my speed (although perhaps not my accuracy) and I certainly don’t find myself as daunted by the blank page.  If you are in any kind of communications field and you want to practice your writing, I highly recommend blogging, journaling and random throwing down the words on a page as a free and easy opportunity for learning. Writing in my own blog and reading others has also taught me a bit about how this particular social medium works.  I won’t say I’m an expert, but I’m learning.

I resolve

Sometimes, even a “make it up as you go” girl needs to have goals.  This year, I think I’ve set a few (or had a few set upon me) that are realistic and that will move me in a positive direction of growth and improvement – yet leave me with enough space to feel unpressured and unfettered for other opportunities.

So hello 2014 – bring it on!



Written by pennyinacastle

January 1, 2014 at 2:48 pm

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