Thursday, December 31, 2015

Goodbye 2015

I started 2015 looking for change and I am happy to say I found it.  I have a restless soul by nature and am inclined to take chances on new opportunities.  Sometimes things work out, sometimes they don't, but I can easily say I am in a better place now than I was in December of 2014.

I enjoyed 2015, but I'm happy to see it go.  It was a year filled with emotion - happiness, anger, hope, frustration, love, disgust.  That's not the way I normally like to live my life.  I prefer an even keel, marked goals, and predictability.  Emotions upset all of that.  They cause erratic behavior, destroy relationships, and are ultimately self-serving.  I think that's out of my system, but I can't say there haven't been long-lasting consequences that I ultimately regret.

But I also learned a lot this year.  After spending 18 months focused on the outside (voters, endorsements, fundraising), I spent the last 14 months looking in.  I didn't go to as many events.  I didn't write as much (at least not publicly).  Heck, I even gave up Facebook for 40 days (and probably will do so again).  I can tell you that the inside work is much more exhausting than any amount of time knocking on doors.

I appreciated what my friend Candace posted on Facebook this past week:
1. Decide on what matters the most.
2. Say no to everything else.
3. When something falls in the gray area, re-read #2.
My 2015 was spent thinking about #1.  I haven't been great at #2, but I think that's because I haven't been able to answer #1.  My family, of course, my friends, of course, but then what?

The past few months have helped me rediscover abandoned passions and hobbies.  I've read more books this year than the past two put together (and that is with a toddler on the loose [who is adverse to unripped paper]).  I've restarted a program I created for ex-offenders in Baltimore City that will be going on its fourth session next month.  I've taken leadership positions on nonprofit boards that previously seemed outside of my depth.  I have a lot of pans on the stove.

I've committed myself to make my 2016 a year of building and growth.  No more change.  I want to be a better husband, a better father, a better son, and a better friend.  I want dedicate time and effort to my professional career in a way that I haven't since passing the bar exam nearly 10 years ago.  I'm going to ensure that every hour I spend working with nonprofit boards or in our community has a commensurate positive outcome. And I'm going to "say no to everything else".

Have a great 2016 doing what you love!