Turning 41. The year of Quo.
Forty-one is not a mile stone year. It is just a year to keep on keeping on. To keep L-I-V-I-N. To just keep swimming. This is not to say that I don’t have goals for the year or expectations, I certainly do (see GOGOBEAR). It is just that the expectations are internal, personal to me, rather than societal. The last two years, 39 and 40, were milestone years. Those are the years by which you are supposed to accomplish all the things that make you a mid-life adult. And for the most part I did, but more by happenstance and fortuitous timing than any societal mandate. I found a lovely woman with whom to share my life. I created a family and became a father. I got a job with good insurance benefits and a retirement plan. I traded in my two-seater truck for the family friendly adventure-mobile that is the Rambler. I got a set of power tools and made things out of wood. But, those are past accomplishments. What of the year that was? What of the time spent between this birthday and the last?
The answer, is that I remained upright. I kept swimming, kept L-I-V-I-N. There were moments of challenge and trying emotional times. Times when I had to grind out the normal day-to-day monotony. Days when I was down. But there were also days when I was up. Days when the daily monotony was broken by the joyous or adventurous or gleeful. Many days were not a challenge. Days when the emotional aura was lovely.
My research was published and I propelled my career forward. I got to travel for work, seeing friends and colleagues from around the country (and world). It was a year where I got to go on vacation twice, to the lake in Wisconsin and the beach in Florida. I got to celebrate Katie’s first birthday twice. I got time to hang out with my family and Sara’s family for nice long holidays. I also got time with just Katie and Sara. Time for us to develop as a family, to begin the dynamics that will define our relationships for years to come. I found time to write and think and ramble. I spent serious time thinking about what my goals for the future will be.
For the most part, this year has been about the quo. First defining the quo, the state of being. Developing a status quo, finding the comfortable boundaries, the easy routines. Then it became about maintaining the quo. Finding the balance, and keeping the ship upright. The status quo is not stagnation. It is not without movement. Time marches on. Careers move forward. Projects get completed, new ones start. But it does not push forward. Just a steady march from March to March. The last part of the year has been thinking about how to change/challenge the status quo. Answering “quo vadis” – where are you going? . This is why I started writing my goal-oriented manifesto, to set for a path.
With goals set forth, I want the next year I want to be my driven year. I want to push myself to be better, to be more creative, to think, to speak, to engage, to drive forth. It is not about throwing out the status quo. My life is great, my boat moves steadily forward. But I want to be a better sailor. I want to tack harder into the wind, to feel the breeze more fully in my sails. So far, I have set a number of goals. This will be a year to strive. To endeavor. To challenge myself. To push boundaries. To reach beyond the status quo. To find quo futurum!