Bookends

November 2009 and November 2010 sit like bookends on opposite ends of a year, bounding another transitional period of my life. Most of the world lives a cycle that starts in January and ends in December but I, perhaps because it is the month of my birth, seem to define my years starting and ending with November.

On November 1, 2008 I began a new life. From that date through 2009 I effectively ran the US-based engineering operations for my Taiwanese employer, a supplier for my former employer (MFE), operating out of MFE’s building, working with most of the same people I’d always worked with at MFE, just paid for from a different coffer. My boss was a new element, though. He had no real experience with MFE and was a lame duck in the immediate situation. I spent most of ’09 doing his job and my job. As the year drew to a close, I’d had enough. I was ready to quit.

I spent November ’08 blogging every day as part of NaBloPoMo. In the year spanning Novembers between ’08 and ’09 I wrote over 300 blog posts (between A Mother’s Angst and Our Own Oasis). I began to imagine a different life. A life as a Writer. An Author. And with that in mind I spent November ’09 writing a novel as part of NaNoWriMo. Immediately after finishing (68k words) I headed to China on business. I’d barely recovered from jetlag when a twist of fate (karma, the almighty justice of God) eliminated the era of my old boss and put me in charge of the US-based operations.

In January, 2009 I became the Acting Division Director of an engineering organization. So, I did what any aspiring author would do. I started a 3rd blog. This one. One intended to chronicle my experiences as a leader. A site where I could share the wisdom gained through painful experience. Or something like that.

That’s not exactly what happened. I’ve posted about a dozen times on this site. Ironically my first post was a list of all of the books I wanted to read this year. I’ve read 2 of the books on that list. I’ve read other books, mind you…but it’s a sad reflection of my ability to be intentional.

In total, counting all three blogs, it seems I’ve posted a grand total of somewhere around 50 times in the last year. Compared with the over 300 the year before. Sure, I’ve been busy. Sure. Yes. I’ve been busy. Unh-hunh…yeah.

To my credit, before this year I’d never run in a 5k and this year I ran in 3. I spent the better part of the year absorbed in a battle with physical fitness. On top of that, my husband & I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary with a ceremony/reception. We went to Hawaii. And I started playing the piano again (referring to my efforts to diligently practice). On the work front, I’ve made 2 trips to Taiwan. I manage Payroll and Benefits and IRS {shudder} things I don’t want to talk (or think) about. I publish bi-weekly operations reports. I’ve hired some, fired some, laid off one and lost (through attrition) other key members of a relatively small team. It’s been quite a year.

And then came this November. After my August post about my workaholic ways I’ve been diligent in my efforts to push away from the office and my compulsion to log into e-mail afterhours, etc. And somehow life filled the void. That’s not a bad thing, but it’s not…intentional. There’s no discipline in busyness. And so, in mid November, I cracked down and finished my second novel.

Which brings me to the point: this year I intend to be intentional. I’ve recently developed some marvelous habits. My inbox is under control (Alleluia!). I am taking time every day to peruse news of the industry. I am training myself to act like a Director (more on this later).

My theme for the next 12 months is “Boundaries & Balance”. I’ve got to say “no” to some things so I can say “yes” to others. I plan to use this space for mentoring myself and holding myself accountable. I hope you get something out of it.

Do you have a natural rhythm? Is your year bounded by the calendar or your birthday or something else altogether?

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