I Am Joe’s Blog:

December 31, 2009 • 6:00 PM

What I Did in 2009

New Year’s resolutions are for people of a more optimistic disposition than I. This time of year, what I typically feel is not enthusiasm about what I might achieve in the coming months but rather disappointment at how far behind I am on various projects, how many things on my to do list for the previous year are still undone, and how much work and stress await me in the new year. In 2009, I had a rather spectacularly long and ambitious to do list, and sure enough—despite my best efforts—lots and lots of those things are about to be pushed right onto next year’s list.

But this year, I decided to undertake a little exercise to help me feel a bit less guilty and dispirited about all those undone tasks. I sat down and wrote a list of what I did manage to accomplish in 2009. And you know what? I think I actually did OK. Despite life’s usual range of complications—administrative problems, illnesses, travel snafus, unexpected bills, and a million other things—when I look at this list, I kinda go, “Dang! That is not a bad showing for a year’s work.”

I thought I’d share my list here—not to brag (hey, if I’d pulled off everything on my to do list, that would be something to brag about!) but to offer a bit of perspective. If you’re the sort of person who, like me, gets depressed at the realization that you haven’t done “enough” (whatever that means), try making your own list of accomplishments. I’ll bet you’ll discover you’ve done much more than you thought, and I hope that helps you feel better about yourself!

So here’s what I did in 2009 (or at least what stands out in my memory), in no particular order:

And, in case you were starting to think life was all work and no play for me in 2009, I also wasted spent plenty of time interacting with my favorite media…

And, of course, there were many intangible accomplishments. I made new friends, and got to know existing friends better. I saw and did lots of interesting new things here in Paris. I took long walks with my wife. I spent time with my son. I played with my cat. I smelled flowers and watched sunsets. I ate large quantities of chocolate. I also end the year with an empty inbox.

This hasn’t been my favorite year, not by a long shot. I’ve experienced enormous amounts of stress and anxiety, and on the whole, I’m happy for 2009 to be behind me. But all things considered, I’d have to say I’ve filled the past 365 days rather adequately.

Comments

  1. January 1st, 2011 | 10:21 pm

    […] December 31, 2009, I wrote up a little post here called What I Did in 2009. As I explained in that post, I did it as a sort of therapeutic exercise to help me overcome the […]

  2. January 1st, 2012 | 12:08 am

    […] back carefully and figure out exactly what I did manage to accomplish that year. It turned out that What I Did in 2009 was a lot more than I’d thought, and that made me feel a bit better. So I did the same thing […]

  3. January 1st, 2013 | 2:27 pm

    […] my annual “what I did this year” blog post. (See earlier posts from 2011, 2010, and 2009.) This has become a sort of healing ritual for me, a way of mentally moving from “Wow, I feel […]

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