2014 – A Year of Downs and Ups

I could have written this as “A Year of Ups and Downs” but I didn’t want it to sound that way. My 2014 (+ two days) has been a challenge on many fronts and I’m choosing a perspective on it very deliberately. To me, it’s not a series of lows punctuated by some high notes. I’m taking it as a continuum to grow from. For every challenge below, you’ll see me taking away something. I’m certainly not singing Monty Python’s Always Look on the Bright Side of Life. Rather, these are real situations and outcomes which can either drag me down or help me become a better person. Thanks for reading and keeping touch. It’s been a year like no other for me and my family.
Lights Through the Fog
Even when it’s gray and misty out, there’s still lights in the fog to guide you along.
My mom came to live with us last Dec 30 and stayed for six months. My father’s dementia had started to make him dangerous to her at times.
The whole family survived it though things were more stressful than they needed to be. I put a lot of emphasis on my marriage and doing fun things with my wife and kids.
A long time mentor and colleague committed suicide at the end of last year – I found out Dec 31.
Not much upside here. Even though we hadn’t worked at the same company for a few years, we’d still talk on occasion and I’d bump into him at the airport sometimes. I still find myself keeping an eye out for him when I travel. Never hesitate to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and even then you may have no idea of what they’re going through.
I did a lot to manage the situation with my dad and checked in with him while he was living solo.
I had a good number of dinners out with him and my brother during the first half of the year. Those are memories I know he has and the restaurant we’d go to is really one of the few places he remembers by name.
Some career challenges as I worked my way from one group where I was very established to another where I wasn’t yet.
I used every bit of negotiating skill I have to get from one good place to another good place. I kept old relationships and gained new ones. The work I’ve done over the course of several years put me exactly where I wanted to be and I was able to take advantage of it. I couldn’t have asked for a more positive outcome – but it was a stressful situation.
Having to help establish legal guardianship for my mother over my father and get him established in an facility which could both help him and handle him.
Nobody was shot in the process. Seriously. This was the worst experience of my life by such a scale that I don’t even know what the second is and if it even matters.
Seeing my father decline with the combination of brain damage, dementia, and medication to treat it.
Seeing him as a humble man who loves his family and being able to be there for him. Drawing lessons from the experience and capturing them for myself and others to learn from.
Saw my number of blog posts drop considerably this year. It’s something I enjoy yet I did less of it – because it was harder.
2012 – 50 (Starting in March)
2013 – 53
2014 – 29 (By Thanksgiving_)
I needed to write the ones I did. Many of them were impactful and I got a lot of very respectful comments by people I both know and don’t. They’ve felt worthwhile. Many of the earlier ones gained inspiration from TED Talks or traveling. They helped me expand my thinking and got me ready for this year. Thanks for reading.

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