As I continue to reflect on how the last year went in regards to my goals and life in general, one word that comes to mind is scatterbrain, i.e.: incapable of serious, connected thought. I had several goals in mind and I achieved some of them, but when I look at what I have to show for it, I honestly feel as if I came up short in regards to many things because my mind was all over the place.
I just gave myself a B- in my year end recap and I think a lot has to do with how I went about things. I used the word scatterbrained above not so much because I think I wasn’t disciplined, but because I was trying to do too many things at the same time and focusing on quantity versus quality on more than one occasion, which isn’t how I prefer to go about things. In addition, rather than a sense of satisfaction, I honestly feel really tired, physically and emotionally and that I don’t have as much to show for the effort I put in. It may have a lot to do with everything that happened, but the feeling is there and rather than ignore, I’d rather take a closer look at it.
The year started off weird with all the things that are happening worldwide, politically, socially, economically, technologically, and yes, environmentally. Concentrating was a huge challenge because SO many things were happening. From shootings, to massive fires, to some of my favorite artists dying, to weird things happening with AI that seem like the prologue to a dystopian future, to the surge of cryptocurrencies, racial tensions, to environmental catastrophes that hit home, literally, and lord knows what else.
For two months, I wasn’t able to pick up a book or write about anything that wasn’t related to home. Throughout the last 4 months of the year, I did what I could to raise awareness about Puerto Rico after Hurricane María, to motivate, to encourage people to donate and help, and now that 2018 has started, still half the population doesn’t have power… It leaves a weird feeling in my stomach to know how many people are hurting, how many people have left the Island, how many people lost their homes, their jobs, and unfortunately, their lives. The hurricane itself claimed 50 or so lives, but since Hurricane María, over a thousand lives have been lost and quite probably, most directly linked to the aftermath of no power, no water, no communication, and everything that comes from a place afflicted by a natural disaster. In case you’re wondering what this means, it’s actually quite simple, Hurricane María was a humanitarian disaster, people that didn’t have to die did, and while a lot of people have gone on with their lives, we don’t really have that option. Those abroad and back home are faced with a new definition of normal.
All the meanwhile, the political maelstrom known as 2017 will more than likely continue into the new year, with people focusing on their team "winning" rather than doing what’s best for the country and the world. Every single day there was some sort of horrible news report of awful sounding legislation being passed, including a Tax Reform that will finish what María started apart from shafting the US’s middle class, Net Neutrality being voted against in a ruling determined by 5 people…. Really, so many things are in the hands of so few… In addition, some of the most important artists of my life passed away and some even by their own hand. The amount of intense news during last year was just insane and most people are reeling for one reason or another. And I won't mention other people by name, because they get enough coverage as it is.
For my part, I wanted to write and publish several books and only achieved two. Add to that no book events and you can get an idea of what I felt disappointed in myself. I was able to do NaNo Wrimo and Camp NaNo Wrimo twice and won all three times, but upon having some beta readers take a look at some of those projects or others I’ve finished, it feels as if I haven't done some of them proper justice. I know the purpose of NaNo is just to get words on paper, but to me, that’s not good enough, especially when other projects are from another point in the year. It feels as if I didn’t push certain projects to the point they need to be and that is a really upsetting feeling, but it serves as a lesson of sorts and as an invitation to switch how I’m doing what I’m doing.
Sure I could be hard on myself, but that achieves nothing and actually only distracts and wastes energy. I may not be happy about certain results, but I think I did pretty well considering the challenges and it’s not like I was idle. All I need is a little focus (OK maybe a lot of it), but I am completely capable of that and the discipline needed to achieve all of my goals is within me. So let’s say goodbye to the past year and say hello to the new one. We have a lot to do, and the will to do it; and that's all you really need.
Peace, love, and maki rolls