Monday, February 25, 2013


I like to let my year in review posts marinate for a while before writing them. It provides me some space to process the year as a whole. When I start writing them in January, the holidays haven't had enough time to integrate into the totality. The danger is that life will get in the way of writing, and before I can sit down and write the year in review, I've forgotten half of the year I'm reviewing....
I almost fell into that trap this year, but here it goes.
2012 was a rough year professionally. I didn't lose my job or need to take a pay cut or even live through yet another round of pay cuts. In fact, I got a nice raise and a healthy bonus and my job got more secure. What did happen was that for the first half of the year my company lived under the shadow of an impending sale. The second half of the year was spent adjusting to working for a much bigger company. Both situations made it hard to stay focused and motivated. Before the sale it was a little easier because there was hope that our company would survive as a standalone entity; we would continue to be able to do things our way. After the sale, it was much more difficult. The new parent is a good company, but it is huge and has its own way of doing things. It was particularly hard for me, because in many ways it was a step backwards professionally. I went from essentially running a doc team, to being little more than a cog in a sea of cogs.
Personally 2012 was complicated. My anxiety continued to be an issue. In the early part of the year it was fairly acute. I expended far too much energy worrying that every ache and pain was terminal. Fortunately, I'm pretty good at hiding the anxiety and, hopefully, am not scaring Kenzie for life with it. Amping up the exercise, meditation, and nightly journalling have helped reign the anxiety in, although I do wash my hands way too much.
Aside from the shadow of anxiety, my personal life is excellent. (I think that perversely fuels some of the anxiety... My shrink tends to agree) Heather and I, aside from the normal tensions married couples face around money, chores, and child rearing have a great relationship. We work our way through the issues without yelling, saying things we'd regret, or harboring any lingering anger. It is actually pretty cool to have a partner who accepts your crazy and whose crazy fits nicely with your own.
Kenzie is growing like a weed. She is super tall and pretty coordinated for a two year old. She climbs all over her play yard like a champ and before it started getting to cold was trying to climb on the tree in our yard. Watching her personality develop is fascinating. She is a pretty cautious child; she takes her time checking out new situations; she will explore every part of a new toy. Once she is comfortable, she is all in. I can sit for hours and watch her make cookies, talk on her phone, feed and change her babies. The things she remembers are crazy too. She will mention things from week previous with no context and it will take me a while to figure out exactly what she is talking about. She is usually a pretty good sport when it happens (usually).
One of the most amazing things to me is how as she grows, I need to grow as well. I am constantly faced with situations where I must consider my own biases. Whether it is explaining something to her, teaching her how to do something, or managing her behaviors, I find myself asking myself questions. Explaining things to a 2 year forces my to rethink and distill my understanding of them. When deciding to set a limit, I am always asking myself who is this limit intended to help: is it to make me feel better (or my life easier) or is it for her? I don't always change my mind if it is for me, but at least I'm clear about it.
My extended family grew this year as well. My brother got married and had a second child. My niece also got married and had a child. This is a study in contrasts. Everyone was thrilled for my brother and his new wife. They make a good team and are pretty stable. Most of us were concerned for my niece. She is 20 and bi-polar; her husband is an unemployed high school drop out. We were supportive, because the heart wants what the heart wants. All one can do is be there when family needs help. One never can tell how a story will end....
We got to go on a bunch of good vacations. Kenzie seems to be a goodish traveller. The first night at any new place is rough for her, but I think that is true for most kids. It was definitely true for me. Even when I was staying at my grandparents house, the zillionth time, I had a hard time falling asleep the first night. Fortunately, Kenzie shares our enjoyment of the outdoors and the water. If she didn't it would make vacations much harder.
For 2013, I'm going to continue working on anxiety management. Life is too much fun to waste energy on fear. I'm also going to continue enjoying watching Kenzie grow and relish all of the opportunities it offers me to grow as well. As for work, they wouldn't call it work if it was all fun and games. I am keeping my options open. I keep trying to find ways to make positive changes and at the same time keep my eyes open for new opportunities.