Tuesday, January 04, 2011

2011 State of the Me Address

You may recall from last year that I'd isolated three main categories of goals where I need to put in some effort: (1) career, (2) German, and (3) arts (writing/blogging).

So, how have I done?

1. Career -- on track. As usual, this is a point where it's not appropriate to post too many details to the Internet, but I'll just say I had some specific goals in mind about the direction I'd like to see my career heading, and where I'm at right now is (if anything) better than what I was hoping for.

2. German -- on track. I'm at the point where I can carry on more-or-less reasonable conversation with a very patient German-speaker. I'm about halfway through my intensive German class (two afternoons per week), and I'm enjoying it immensely. And I'm planning to spend my vacation this Summer on a really, really intensive German class/immersion in either Germany or Austria.

3. arts (writing/blogging) -- pretty much totally dropped the ball.

I had a number of different creative projects I wanted to work on this past year, and I got very close to zero work done on any of them. I haven't given up on them. Rather, as Jen Hancock (and Madonna) explained:

So NARAS asked her, how do you keep all those balls in the air? She said she didn’t. She just makes sure to remember where she drops them so that when she has the time she can pick them up again.

Even though lots of amusing stuff happened to me and my family -- which I could have written about -- I didn't even bother to keep my blog updated regularly! At least I updated my masthead so y'all would know I'm not dead...

The trouble is that I have more than twice as much stuff I'd like to do than I have time in a day to do it. I used to write a lot of blog posts in a little notebook while I was commuting on the bus or tram, and now that time has been taken over by German homework. (Well, let's be honest -- for a stretch of several months in there, I developed a rather unfortunate Sudoku habit that also ate up quite a lot of otherwise-potentially-productive commuting time.)

The one exception -- the project that I'm very proud of -- is how well things have been going at Main Street Plaza. For years I've been gathering all of the former-Mormon blogs into a common list (Outer Blogness) and encouraging community discussion by highlighting new blogs and interesting posts in my weekly column Sunday in Outer Blogness. But it was hard for MSP to really get a foothold as a central gathering place because we didn't have enough news and other content to keep people coming back. Then Chino Blanco signed on and changed that. And in the past year MSP has really taken off, from having a small-but-loyal readership to being one of the Internet's most popular blogs on the topic of Mormonism. And the success builds on itself: the more popular MSP becomes, the more people are willing to contribute interesting guest-posts!

Naturally, the blog that's doing well is the one that gets all of my Internet time lavished on it. Usually, I feel like I'm hardly doing anything substantial over at MSP, but it is amazing how time-consuming it is just to read everyone's blogs every week and look for ways to weave the different discussions together.

Another goal that wasn't on my official list -- but that I did a good job on -- was to spend more time with real-life (non-Internet) friends and with my kids. As far as the kids are concerned, I'm a huge believer in undirected, free, imaginative play. However, it's possible to go overboard on that. I like to set aside a certain amount of time to read to them, and to just sit down and play some of the things they're interested in with them. Especially now that they're getting to be old enough to build some really cool, complicated stuff out of Legos!

So, my goals for the comping year are (1) to keep going on the items that are on track (German, career, family, friends, MSP), (2) pick up some of the balls of creative projects I've dropped, and (3) Put some more effort into "thinking globally, acting locally" regarding the environment, charity, etc.


this duck author said...

Machen Sie es aber gut mit dem Deutsch lernen.

the chaplain said...

I love your new header. It's not that the old one was bad - it wasn't - but this one really appeals to me.

C. L. Hanson said...

Hallo this duck author!!!

Keine Sorgen! :D

Thanks Chaplain!!!

Jen Hancock - A Happy Humanist said...

Two things - 1) thanks for the shout out.
2) you aren't kidding about how much fun kids are when they can finally build things out of legos - we spend a lot of time doing that - but balance is hard. My son is 5 and still doesn't hold a crayon correctly - hates coloring and just has no interest in that. His teacher also wants me to work with him on learning how to cut things with scissors - so yeah - have to balance unstructured playtime with actual constructive play time.