Life has changed a lot in the last few weeks. We moved from Edinburgh back to Seattle and last week I started my master's program at University of Glasgow as part of their distance learning program. And as I embrace these changes, I've also spent a fair bit of time reflecting.
This year was a lot of things for me. Most notably, it was a lesson in failure, resilience, flexibility, and patience. My original plan was to attend the University of Edinburgh and get my degree while Reese was also attending to earn his MBA. I applied, and was rejected, twice. That sucked. And, as many know, I don't do well without a plan. In no reality would I just twiddle my thumbs for a year, but I wanted something to show for it. So for everyone that asked me what I did for a whole year without a job, this is for you:
This year I…
If I'm being honest, I had hoped the last three points would've had higher numbers, but that's where flexibility and patience came in. I had a goal of reading 40 books, writing 2 full novels, and 15 short stories. I didn't create a goal for submissions because I wanted to focus on creation this year.
This was a year of learning for me. At no other time in my life have I had so few external factors structuring or influencing my time. The only things that were truly mandatory in my life this year were feeding and walking the dogs, feeding myself and Reese, and occasionally cleaning. The rest of it was up to me.
So me being me, I made a syllabus. Admittedly, it was overly ambitious (a common observation my manager often made when I was at my previous job). But honestly, I work better that way. I epitomize the carrot-stick philosophy. I will always strive to hit the mark. So if I set the bar higher, I'll likely get more done than if I set it at a more reasonable height.
To help me attempt some of these goals, I also attended a few writing courses and retreats organized by University of New Orleans and Moniack Mhor, respectively, where I gained invaluable experience from practiced writers as well as my peers.
And in attempts to complete my syllabus, I stumbled on some unexpected lessons.
This year, I'm looking forward to having some structure imposed on my life by someone other than myself. Having completed my first two weeks of classes, I can say with all honesty I missed having hard deadlines. I manage my time so much better.
I'm sure there's plenty that will come up over the year that I won't expect. There will be new lessons that I learn and irrevocably change the way I live my life. I can't wait.