Busy is the key word for January, but then again when you're a Controller and your fiscal year ends in December, January's are always busy. I did a silly thing and joined Brad on a mini-trip to Seattle last weekend, since I lived in Washington state from 1989-1991. While living in Wenatchee I spent a lot of time in Seattle, especially since I was sick with something no one could correctly diagnose (turned out to be Lyme Disease). The Seattle Children's Hospital was an all-too-familiar site, but I choose to not revisit that location during our recent visit. Brad had never been to Washington and even though we only had two days I wanted to be able to show him some great sites that I remembered fondly from my childhood. Lots to share, including some decent pictures, but that will have to wait until this weekend when I actually have some time to do a write-up. But I will say now that despite the time zone change and lack of sleep I really enjoyed it.

January is always a weird month personally. I'm in the aftermath of Christmas and a bit in a fog after all of the time off. Because I live in Ohio it's usually cold, dark, snowy/rainy and a bit depressing (except for today, which is actually brightly sunny). I'm tired from all of the family & friend events, broke from the gift buying, and even though I had all that time off it was spent running around like crazy so I'm still lacking sleep. But then January starts and it's a fast paced sprint to get through everything that needs to be done.

This year I started off doing things a little differently though - I actually added to the chaos by trying new things that would hopefully, at some point, decrease the chaos. I've started up the Franklin planner again, which I've been out of since 2005. I stopped using it because I was in health care consulting and my job description was basically to be at everyone's beck & call so there was no need for a prioritization list. My back pain was also horrible so carrying the thing around became a burden. What I didn't realize then is how much I not only needed it professionally, but also personally. I took a seminar on the planner in 1997, which was paid for by the company I was working for at the time. It wasn't just about keeping track of scheduling or to-do items; it was about prioritizing your life so that you spent the majority of your day working towards your short & long term goals. It helped me keep my life in perspective, and prioritize what was meaningful and what wasn't. It may sound silly, but taking that seminar at the time completely changed my life. A few months later I put in my notice with a company I had been at for almost four years & had been very successful at, all so I could pursue my dreams of finding a job where I could attend college at the same time, not to mention a job where I could actually see my family & friends because I wouldn't be working 80+ hour weeks. I picked the Twin Cities in Minnesota as my new home, packed up my stuff and headed for the unknown. But I had a plan, and that little planner kept me on track. Then a few life issues started getting in the way, mostly in the "health" category, but I was still able to maintain a decent balance.

What I've lost the last few years is balance. Balance, happiness, productivity, fulfillment and overall meaningful time accomplishing my short & long term goals. I've spent the last few years in complete reactive mode instead of proactive mode. I'm not going to beat myself up about it because with the health struggles I've had, being reactive was really all I could be most of the time. But what started as being reactive just in regards to my health filtered in to everything else, and I found myself with a mess of a brain & body trying to handle it all but accomplishing few things meaningful in the process.

I have a long ways to go before I'm back to that place I was back in 1997, but at least I'm heading towards the path; I have a partial map, but at least I know the general direction.

I still don't know what's in store for 2010, but in the end I just want it to be a year of progress. I was hoping that 2009 would be the same, but it wasn't - it was a big "stall", and I'll take the responsibility for that. This year my goal is to be the "Renewed & Improved" Carrie. And now that it's in writing out there in cyberspace, it holds my feet to the fire a bit to actually make it happen.

Or to quote "The Office" - "Make it happ'n, Capt'n"

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