Back at the beginning of this year, I set a goal.  I wanted to write a thousand words per week for the year, much as I did back in 2013.  That was a fun project back then.  I thought it’d be a good challenge and give me a chance to reflect, again, on my year and what was going on and tell some stories about whatever happened to be worth a couple of hours of writing.  In the end, I failed at that goal.

I managed to get about halfway through the year before the muse up and left me.  I didn’t have anything that seemed noteworthy, I didn’t have any stories I felt were worth telling and while my life did move on, of course, I was busy doing many other things, just not writing weekly.

The muse walking away.

As I got further from June when the writing stopped, I managed to stop feeling guilty and just embrace that I was staying busy and working on things and I got on with my life.  As the year-end began to approach, as is often the case, I became a bit more reflective of what I’d done and what I had not done and I managed to start feeling guilty again about not reaching the goal that I had set back at the beginning of the year.

I thought more about failure and some reasons why I had set this goal on the back burner and then just shelved it.  And, in the end, I decided to just permit myself to be okay that I hadn’t completed the goal I had set for myself.

Looking back on the year, Christina and I had gone on a couple of vacations, I had worked on some projects.  Even just coming into Christmas, I had made some wooden trays which leveraged my growing skills with woodworking and using my CNC.  I also made some cool votive candle holders for gifts. I had learned to sew (at a very beginner level!) so that I could make Christina a set of pillowcases that she had requested way back at the beginning of the year!

Around our place, I spent time learning how to catch moles and mice because we were being invaded!  I have not won that battle, but we are more in a holding action which is an improvement over where things were before I engaged that problem.

I made many projects using various tools and technologies and that’s always fun.

We went to Texas and visited family down there and I ate a great deal of very good barbecue!

It wasn’t all fun and projects as we also made the very difficult decision to put our two dogs, Gabby and Zena to sleep this last year and while that experience went about as well as such a thing can, it still was very difficult emotionally for both of us.  That having been said, we lasted most of a year before we decided that we were ready for another dog and Ziggy joined our family late this year!

In my Role-playing group, I ran a campaign of about 20 months using the Savage Worlds system in the World War 2 time period (the group was ready for a break from Elves and Dwarves and D&D 5e).  I brought that to completion near the end of the year and was very happy with the results of that from a storytelling perspective as well as having had the opportunity to make some fun elements to bring to the gaming table!

Additionally around the homestead, we battled several pests and we did some additional work to improve our place by having four sliding doors replaced which involved a bit of painting and finish work, but we’re very happy with the results.

We took a ten-day road trip down to California primarily to visit my daughter Laurel, but also to take some wonderful side trips to places like the Redwoods and Lake Tahoe, firsts for both of us. The visit with Laurel was great! She and her boyfriend Alando were great hosts and guides. I got to go to SFMOMA, one of my favorite places and we had some great Indian food as well!

We also went to Vegas so Christina could participate in the World Series of Poker, which was on her bucket list! I went along to support and we had a great birthday dinner to celebrate!

We finished up the year with a trip down to Puerta Vallarta, Mexico where the priority was on tacos and sunshine and it was a great trip.

So, while I did not make my goal of writing a thousand words a week, looking back on my year we still did a bunch of things, I made stuff, I learned things, we traveled and we lived life.  Usually, it was fun and filled with enjoyment and happiness, but as with most, there were also some hard times and difficult things to deal with.  Nothing unique and nothing that felt worth making a weekly writing project out of.

It does have me thinking about how I might use my site a little differently as I come into 2024.  I think I’m going to try and use it more to document projects and things I work on.  Hopefully, this will allow me to find a balance between posting nothing and posting often about nothing that I feel is noteworthy.  A balance in all things, as it were.

As for goals for the coming year, I don’t know that I will have any hard goals.  As I get further into retirement, it seems clear that I still do not lack things to do, things to make, and things to learn.  My time is still as filled as I want it to be and I appreciate that I get to decide how I spend that time.  I’m going to try and avoid big, sweeping goals and focus a bit more on the smaller goals and projects.  I think I will enjoy that and hopefully, it’ll help me avoid getting myself into another situation like this last year where I was feeling guilty about not completing a goal that I set for myself.  Rather, I can just give myself the grace to feel good about what I did accomplish and be appreciative that I still have the opportunity to continue to explore what retirement looks like for me.


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