hourglassIt may seem strange to want to evaluate my year in June, but as an ex-school teacher, I still think of years in terms of fall to summer. And I’m fast coming up on my one-year anniversary of quitting the profession.

I had big plans for this year. Recently, I felt discouraged because I didn’t achieve all my goals. Some of them, however, were outside  my control. I couldn’t make them happen. (Where’s Riley and his voice of command when I need him?) One goal felt like it should have been within my control, but I still didn’t make the progress I wanted. More on that later.

I realized, maybe it would be better to make a list of what I did get done – from July of 2014 through June of 2015.

  • 12 School Visits
  • 9 Skype Visits
  • 7 Library Events
  • 5 Book Festivals
  • 8 Book Store Events
  • 3 Presentations at School Librarian Conferences (NJ, MD, PA)
  • 1 Book Club Visit
  • 1 Manuscript completed
  • 2 Manuscripts revised
  • 1 First Draft approximately 3/4 of the way done

I also (unexpectedly) picked up a part-time faculty position at a local community college. I taught 2 classes so far, and I’ve signed on for 3 more classes this coming summer and fall.

I became a moderator of a Facebook group for writers, and started a local critique group.

I read countless books I wouldn’t have had time to read if I’d been still teaching, and I got into the habit of regular exercise.

That last one is connected to the goal I thought for sure I could control: losing weight. Exercising 3-4 times per week (a change from the big ZERO of the previous year) and moderating my diet, I thought the weight would just drop off.  And, right at the start, I did lose 5 pounds. And then I stayed there – without budging — for months.

In spite of the disappointing news from the scale, I know I’m stronger. I have more endurance. I can go longer, get my heart rate up higher, and not come home with cramped muscles and swollen knees and ankles. (Dare I tempt fate by saying this? I haven’t had a sinus infection all year. I think my immune system is stronger.) A recent doctor’s visit and blood work proved that my overall health is good.  It’s just that my age and my genetics are working against me. My doctor’s advice: “It’s good that you’ve increased your activity. But if you want to lose weight, you’ve got to step it up even more.”

AGI Book Fair 2Dang it. I wanted it to be easy. But then, I want all my writing goals to happen easily too. And we know how that goes. So, in my first year of being a full-time writer, things started off slowly (like my exercise). Next year, I’m going to step it up. But I also have to accept that some things will always be outside of my control, and I need to rejoice in all the accomplishments that I’m not directly working toward, but which happen anyway.

Like that hill I used to have to walk my bike up that I can now take without switching out of 5th gear. Or signing my book for students at the Scholastic Fair in my former school — something I didn’t expect to happen.

 Goals are great, as long as I don’t forget to appreciate the scenery along the way.