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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

2009 in Review, and Goals for 2010


Obviously, this is a little bit behind, but what are you going to do?

I know a lot of people have had a lot of bad things about 2009, and I guess I can't entirely blame them. This was a rough year. I'm going to actually start with the bad stuff, mostly in the hopes that if I jettison it early, I can focus on the GOOD stuff and move forward with my life.

So, the bitching.

2009 had a lot to not recommend it. My grandmother passed away in January. At 99 years old, she certainly had a long and full life, but that didn’t make losing her any eaasier. It didn’t help that we always had a very strange relationship; despite knowing her for, well, thirty-one years, I felt like I never really knew her. She was very closed off, not just to me, but to many of her friends and family. I always hoped that I might break down whatever barrier was there, but I never quite managed it.

Much later in the year, my friend Phil Hughes passed away. It was a very sudden event, and if it wasn’t for the magic of the internet, I’m not even sure I would have known he was sick. I was terrible about communicating with him before the end, and of all the things I regret this year, that might be at the top of the list.

My father had a bunch of heart related issues this year, which culminated in a surgical procedure on November 30th. Thankfully, everything turned out okay, but it was scary as hell, and did not do a lot for my mental health.

Financially, this year wasn't good. My business is just not where it needs to be, at all, and I have not done nearly enough to make it grow. I accept total responsibility for that, but it doesn’t change it or make it easier. Em really wants a house, and the fact that we can’t get one is basically my fault. If I had kept my job at Summit, no matter how disagreeable, we’d be a lot better off financially right now. As it is, I’ve started looking into part-time and even full-time work, which is not fun, but possibly necessary. Unfortunately, trying to find a job of any kind in this economy isn’t really any fun.

A lot of this culminated this past November, when I went into a full-blown depression the likes of which I haven’t experienced since I was a student at Tufts almost ten years ago. I pretty much checked out of life for the month of November, and a small chunk of December. It took a very tearful conversation with Em to realize just how bad I was out of it. I seem to have pulled myself out of it, but it was still scary. That wasn't some place I really wanted to revisit.

Okay, that’s sufficient bitching; now, the good stuff.


Em and I got engaged, which is the highlight of the year. Hell, it’s the highlight of the decade. I can’t say enough good things about this. While planning a wedding is stressful at times, there is no one else I’d rather be with. She makes my world go 'round.

The other highlight of the year was our adoption of Sally, our Shepherd/Lab/Irish Setter/Great Dane. Yes, I really think she’s got all of those. She is also, without question,  the best dog I've ever had. She's also the first dog I've had where I am the primary caregiver (or whatever the right term is), which has been a fun, interesting, and exciting challenge.

While my business struggled financially, I felt that as a coach, I grew a lot in this past year. I've been teaching a lot, to a wide variety of students, and have gotten a lot of positive feedback about my teaching. I feel as though I've learned a lot about being a good coach in this past year, and I hope that I'll continue to grow with my students through 2010.

On my actual personal goals from this year:

Goal: Write More

In a way, I didn't do very well with this one. Which is to say, I made no real progress on my memoir, nor any of the novels I've got in head or partially on paper. I need to do some serious thinking on how to fix that, because clearly, none of my prior ideas have worked well.

On the other hand, I kept this blog going strong, started up Jake Reviews Books and became the Boston Martial Arts Fitness Examiner, all of which seem to be well received. So I am writing, just not always what I'd like to write.

Goal: Grow My Business


Okay, yeah, that one just didn't happen. Let's not dwell on it here.

Goal:
PDR

Nailed these. Made it to three events, not just two, and was promoted to Principles Level Coach at the third event. Got be around for Coach Blauer's first visit to Sityodtong. Really, really, happy with how I'm progressing in the system. I've got a lot more to learn, but it's been great. (Stay tuned for a big announcement on my part about PDR offerings in Boston).

Goals: Muay Thai

Again, I did great with these. I wanted to really focus on improving my clinch game this year, and I did. It's a LOT better than it was twelve months ago. Sadly, I wasn't able to compete this year, for a variety of reasons, but maybe in 2010.

Goals: Judo

Epic fail. I haven't even BEEN to Judo in about ten or eleven months. Sadly, that will probably continue to be a trend for a bit. As much as I love Judo, I have too much on my plate right now. A regrettable, but necessary sacrifice.

Goals: Get a dog.

Hey, it was one, and I nailed that too!

Goal: Get engaged to Em.

I never publicized that goal, but after the fact...I got it, and it's the best thing I did all year!

So that's 2009. It's over, it's done. It had good and bad, but I'm ready to move on to 2010!

I've been thinking a lot about what I'd like 2010 to look like, and honestly, it's a bit confusing. My top priority is to improve my financial situation, whether that means acquiring more clients, more writing, or hours in another position, it's hard to say. I'm exploring a lot of options, but something needs to change a bit.

I would like to do more writing, both on personal projects and on a larger scale. I'm going to try submitting some of my work to various martial art/combat sport publications, and try to come up with a plan to get back on track with my other writing.

As a combat athlete, I'm planning to start the year with some conversations with teammates and coaches. One of the things that intrigued me about Rodney King's book was his emphasis on focusing on a fighter's strengths, not their weaknesses. It's a bit of a turn-around from the traditional training methodology, and I'd like to experiment with it a bit. The reason I want some help from my teammates and coaches is to evaluate exactly what those strengths ARE.

I want to compete this year.

While there are lots of other things that I WANT to do (more grappling, Judo, some weapons work, tons of reading, get stronger, get leaner, etc.) , I'm going to really try to keep things simpler this year. I have a gift for over setting goals for myself (on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis), and I want to work on NOT doing that this year.

I will be drafting some more specific plans for accomplishing my goals in the next couple of days. Stay tuned.




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