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.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?
2. Say no to everything else.
3. When something falls in the gray area, re-read #2.
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!