2013 review

I’ve skipped my annual review blog post for the past couple of years, but I made a resolution this year to write more often, so I’m picking up where I left off in 2010.

Life: When I last wrote one of these posts, Emily was six months pregnant. My son James was born in March of 2011. It is difficult to explain how much my life has changed from being single and totally self-centered, to being married and mostly self-centered, to being a father who is trying not to be overbearing–but also not totally ignorant and dismissive. There is no training for finding that balance. Parenting is a remarkable adventure. I’ve developed an entirely new appreciation for my own parents and their sacrifices.

Our little family unit is growing. Emily is about four months pregnant, due in June. It is a girl, and I’m excited about that for strange reasons. Having one child has been difficult, so I’m nervous about having two. But if I learned anything with James, it is that everything is a process–you figure it out and make it work as best you can.

Inspired by my sister and her boyfriend, I bought an expensive camera and I’m now trying to turn a passing interest in photography into an actual hobby. Other than training for the occasional half marathon, eating/drinking far too much, and dorking around with computers, I don’t really have any hobbies. I’m excited about photography because it combines gadgetry with getting off my butt and interacting with the world. I had a blast in San Francisco this summer, just walking around the city and snapping pictures. Photography also forces me to face some of my insecurity and shyness, because you can’t really point a camera in someone’s face without them noticing your presence.

Fitness & Health: After not doing jack for a year or more after James was born (my fault, not his), I trained for the Vancouver Half Marathon in May. I’ve always wanted to run the Vancouver half, and my training went spectacularly once I stopped being a cheapskate and bought some new shoes. All of my training runs took place in typical Seattle winter weather: 30-40 degrees, often raining, always cold. Of course, it was 60 degrees Fahrenheit at 5:00 AM on race day in Vancouver, and was over 70 degrees by the time I finished. I got slaughtered by the heat. I really enjoyed the run, and hope to do it again this year.

Later in the year, I took up CrossFit. I’ve always been interested in CrossFit, but my one previous attempt ended so badly that I was scared away. I found another gym (I refuse to call it a “box”) closer to my house, and I think I’ve found nirvana. I’ve always been afraid of group exercise classes–memories of being the fat, clumsy kid in gym class who was always in someone’s way. However, from the first day, I’ve been encouraged and pushed, both by the coaches and classmates. The community they have built is remarkable. I have not met a single jerk, and I have always felt comfortable. And the results are spectacular. If I can ever control my diet…

Work: I decided to take another stab at managing people this year. I had gotten bored and complacent in my previous role, so some change was required. The same challenges are replaying themselves: it is hard for me to let go of stuff that I know I can “just do myself”, and I don’t react quickly enough to situations where my employees need my input (both positive and coaching). I have a lot to learn, and it is refreshing to feel that way again after feeling “stuck” for so long.

Travel: We went to Vancouver for the half marathon in May, and made our annual pilgrimage to Cannon Beach in August. Emily went to Santa Barbara for a funeral, and I went to Kennewick, WA and Grand Forks, ND for work. I hadn’t been to Grand Forks since 2000–needless to say, the city has changed a lot. I also went to San Francisco for a bachelor party in July. I hadn’t been to San Francisco since 2002–needless to say, the city has changed a lot!

Charity: After James was born, I “retired” from the YMCA board. It was just too difficult to take midday board meetings and then extend my working day. I felt terrible about it, particularly since I was serving as vice chairman and was supposed to chair the board in 2012, but I would not have been able to give them the effort they deserve. We still support the YMCA, however. They continue to do phenomenal work in our community.

Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.

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