Friday, December 31, 2010

The Year in Review - 2010

Well, it's December 31st, and the obligatory look back at 2010 is now required or they'll take my blogging license away. Hmm. I don't think they actually do that, but just in case...

When looking ahead to this year, I mentioned some goals around hiking, canoeing, backpacking, fishing and other outdoor activities. Most of what I wanted to be able to do this year was accomplished easily. I was able to get out and do a number of very nice day hikes, including Ridley Creek SP, French Creek SP, Brandywine Creek SP and many other little state and local parks. Much of this time spent walking in the woods came about in a way I never would have imagined entering the year - geocaching. In addition to the dedicated hiking trips I have mentioned, dozens and dozens if not hundreds of mile were walked, a few miles at a time, in search of geocaches hidden here, there and everywhere. What a wonderful blend of two interests that turned out to be.

I also specifically mentioned wanting to do an overnight backpacking trip, and much to my delight this actually happened in June in the Lackawanna State Forest. It was hard work, painful at times, but I loved it. And I have a very nice set of equipment that will make the next trip require virtually no additional investment at all.

One outdoors item that did not get addressed is the longstanding desire to do some canoeing. Other than a brief token kayaking run with Dave (little more than a test drive), no time was spent on the water, and this is a disappointment. This will continue to be a goal every year until it happens.

I had hoped that after our wonderful Disney World trip in December 2009 that we would take another big family trip this year, and that did not happen, which is disappointing. But I am pretty happy about the number of smaller things that we were able to do together. We fished, we went places for nice day trips, we spent some time at the River, we geocached, and the girls were involved in more activities than ever before, which Amparo and I tried hard to support and attend as best we could. Julia was involved in cheerleading and various Special Olympics sports, and Grace continues to grow and amaze me.

Reflecting on family is difficult for me at times, because I know that this is the area where I can always do better. Most parents would like to believe that they are doing the best they can, and that they try hard, and in that respect I guess I am no different. But if there was one aspect of life to always strive to be better at, this would be it. There is always more room to be involved. And I could use much more patience.

Bluntly put, 2010 was for the most part a lost year on the wargaming front. And you know what? That's perfectly fine. One of the comments I had made going into this year regarding my hobby was not to worry too much about planning, and just let my interests go where they wanted to. What I meant at the time was to let my interests drift between historical periods and such. What actually happened was that my time and attention drifted almost completely away from wargaming and settled on geocaching instead. Oops. Unexpected; but not a bad thing.

I had expressed the desire to set up a dedicated painting table in the basement. I did that in January and then proceeded to paint less than a hundred figures all year, which is a dreadfully low output. I attended Cold Wars, Historicon, and Fall In as usual, with varying degrees of satisfaction. Cold Wars was good, Historicon was very good, and Fall In was a huge disappointment. We did play a little LaSalle rules for Napoleonics, which I liked well enough to buy some 15mm Spanish and Portugese for the Peninsula, and to begin re-basing many of my existing 15mm Napoleonics. I had a decent sized batch of French and British painted in Sri Lanka. So that is a bright spot. And toward the end of the year Chris Parker began floating some ideas for a 4th edition of Day of Battle, so hopefully that will spark some creative juices in me.

My interest in modern literature is a big part of my spare time, or at least my nightly before-sleep time. A separate post details my year in books.

I have also written extensively on this elsewhere. Suffice it to say, I found a fun new hobby that I have every intention of continuing with in a semi-obsessed state. Or completely obsessed state depending on your point of view I guess...

When reviewing where I spent my time and the things that were important to me this year, I should probably mention blogging itself. I began doing this in September of 2009, and so 201o is my first full year of blogging. By the time the year is done (pretty much now) I will have posted almost 180 entries, or one every other day on average, a level of output that is surprising to me. The great thing is that it has never felt like work. I have always enjoyed writing, and this is a different kind of creative outlet than I have undertaken before. I always wonder who if anybody reads the eclectic mix of stuff I write about here, but the stats don't lie and there are people finding random posts here every day and from all over the world, whether it be wargaming references, book reviews, concert reviews, or hiking trail references. I still insist that the audience I write this blog for is me and my immediate circle of family and friends, but it is kind of cool to think that total strangers show up here from time to time and read what I have written.

Going into this year, I talked about a few personal development items that I hoped to make some progress on this year, notably struggling against my introverted nature and living in the moment. On the one hand, I think I actually made some progress this year on focusing on what is going on today and being less distracted by worrying about what has happened in the past or what might happen in the future. On the other hand, I am an introvert. Always have been. Always will be. I could be perfectly content surrounded by my family and a small circle of good friends as well as all the things that are going on in my own head. Perhaps going forward the issue is not so much struggling against my introverted nature but accepting it for what it is. Hmm. I wonder.

Finally, 2010 will always be the year in which I lost my father. I understand how lucky I have been to have had a loving and involved father in my life for as long as I did. Many people are not so fortunate. But that doesn't make it any easier in the short term to deal with the pain and loss of him not being here. It is said that you don't appreciate what you have until it is gone, and while I think I did always appreciate my dad, in some ways this is still true. Perhaps it is more a question of having taken him for granted. Either way, I miss him. Thank you, Dad. I would not be the man I am without you, and I think I turned out OK.

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