A Look Back While Looking Forward

It's that time of the year that happens every year around now, where we're all about to turn the calendar page on yet another year gone by. It's always a good time to reflect on the year that's ending and to look forward to the year to come. Whether that means making the annual resolutions that none of us seem to ever keep, or just setting out goals we'd like to achieve for 2014, it's a nice exercise to see how far we've all come over the past twelve months and where we'd all like to go in the next twelve.

Since this is my site, I'm (obviously) going to discuss my own life over 2013 and what I hope 2014 has in store. I've never really made resolutions for each new year although I typically set goals that I'd like to accomplish for the next year. Last year around this time, that was to be able to run a half-marathon. At the time, I was maxing out at around 6 miles each time I went for a run. So how well did I hold to this goal? Well, by June I was able to run 9 miles every time I went running and was well on my way. However, we moved house during the month of June and I wasn't able to run as often as I was used to. Additionally, I suffered from a runner's block (think writer's block, but for runners) and for whatever reason, the mental hurdles translated to the physical and I was stuck struggling to complete 4 miles each time out. I'm happy that I seem to have finally gotten through that, so I'm hoping that in 2014 I can finally move toward that goal and finally run 13 miles in one go.

My other big goal was to do more writing, as it's something that I enjoy and really want to make a go of, at least the best I can given that right now it must remain a side hobby while my day job takes priority. I had meant to continue work on the novel that I started in 2010 and have worked on intermittently since then, but sadly I wasn't able to add more than a few pages to that manuscript this year. I am making it a goal to get a substantial amount of writing done on it this coming year; whether that means finishing it or simply getting a lot of it written, I'll have to see. However, I *was* able to do a lot of writing this year on this very website! After starting this blog in 2011, I hadn't really devoted a lot of attention to it, not in terms of the quantity of the content nor the quality. I feel that I've more than made up for that in 2013 (and I hope you agree with me!). In addition to writing more about interesting music, books, and other topics, I've also taken on a side-gig since the late summer of reviewing books on this website. It's been great fun and I've been able to read a lot of interesting books and get my name out there in the blogosphere. I'm going to continue to try in 2014 to get more recognition for my reviews and hopefully also be able to parlay that into some freelance writing opportunities for websites and magazines, be they dedicated to music, sports, politics, or anything else of interest.

I completely failed to write and record a batch of new songs for another album of my own this year...in fact, I barely had time to pick up my guitar a few times this year and throw down a few demos onto my iPad and scribble some chords and lyric bits onto some paper. Part of that was down to the fact that I had a killer commute to and from work that got worse and worse as the year went on. The big change right now is the fact that we moved house again (yes, twice in 2013!), this time much closer to my job. Now instead of a 2 hour drive each way, I have a 25 minute drive each way. The time I've gotten back to spend with my wife and kids, just in the three weeks since we've moved, has been fantastic and I need to apologize to my wife profusely for resisting the move over the past few years; as usual, she was right and I wish I had been less stubborn about it a few years ago!  In any event, it's now a reality and I'm really looking forward to the increased time at home to spend with her and our four wonderful kids, who are all growing up far too fast!

Finally, I did get to do some cool things in 2013 (in no particular order):

- I made several trips for work to Rhode Island, Niagara Falls, and South Carolina 

- I got to see Niagara Falls on that business trip, which was very cool. On my birthday, no less!

- I saw Peter Frampton in concert 

- I saw Paul McCartney in concert at Fenway Park

- I got to see our amazing children grow so much over this past year 

- I added another ~450 miles to my running total 

- I sold a lot of copies of my second Blur book (released in December 2012) 

- I was interviewed for a French Who fansite

- I got my first sponsored post on this blog

- I interacted with a lot of interesting (and some famous!) people through my writing and presence online

- I finally made the move closer to work so that I can reclaim hours of my life each week and spend more time with my wife and kids 

I think 2014 is going to be a good year. At the very least I'm going to try and make it the best year I can for me and my family. I think that's all we can ever do, is to take life as it comes, work hard, enjoy it, and try to make the best of what happens to us, good or bad. 

What about you? What are your reflections on 2013 and what are you looking forward to in 2014?