It's 4 days into the New Year already. Wow.
Already in this new year I've seen friends get married and my brother move across the country. Another couple I know gets married this Friday!
It's a new year and new things all right.
And that's good. 2009 was good for me. It's been a settling-down, a calmer year on a more even keel than the first couple ones in this city.
I'm very thankful for all the good things in my life. I inhabit a great city. My home is amazing and located perfectly for me. I have a great marriage. This last year has seen the development of some solid friendships here. Going back to school has turned out to be a program of surprising quality. I've been able to find work last year in everything from painting to my dreadlocking to landscaping. I've been able to volunteer and give my time a few places. And I work at a church with visionary, solid, compassionate, and hardworking leadership that also keenly understands this particular city... and I could not ask for more than that.
However, there are a few things I hope 2010 brings. They're all big, and they'll all require help from other people - not me alone.
- I want to read at least 2 books a month. I love reading and don't have time for it like I used to. I want to make more time and buy/borrow more books.
- I want to write more. Last year was different, but most years I write a lot. I want to get back at it this year.
- I want to be more effective and intentional in how I lead youth ministry. We've picked intentional topics to focus on - I want to take more time so they're creatively presented, discussed, retained and practically lived... with time to keep all my leaders on the same page and pray through every part of that.
- I want to spend more time to preparing the message when I preach. The content/research is fine... but the creativity takes time for me. And same here... I want to make sure I can stop, relax... take time to listen in prayer as well as speak... go to a coffee shop and review.. let it simmer a bit.
- I want to network with more people in my field. There's a few pastors around who I've had a conversation or two with -- but I want to hear more from them. And I have an inkling there's some conversations I could contribute to, but I'm just not around to say anything most of the time - whether online or in person - and I'd like to be.
- I'd like to bring some livable money in. You can't do anything without money. So either an exceptional summer job, an increase in one of my current jobs, or a very good job right out of school this spring - something, no matter what, that's stable and steady - constant hours, constant pay, not wondering when I'm working that week.
- I'd like to be paying a mortgage instead of rent down the drain. Even with all the additional costs, owning is so cheap here... if we find a really good broker, this just might happen - and it makes financial sense.
- I'd like to take a vacation. Jarod and I haven't taken a vacation together since our honeymoon - four years ago this April. The best we've gotten since then is a day or two at home alone together, but it would be nice to get away even for a weekend.
- I want to start some type of running/weights again. Since I left Toronto and my gym membership, my six-days-a-week routine is now just a half-hour walk most days - and that's not really hitting cardio or muscle/bone mass.
- and finally.... I want to slow down and make more time for people. I have no problem working real hard... but I don't want to become a person in the process who finds it impossible to turn that off. And starting with a bulldozer temperament (sad but true) and a driven, task-oriented personality -- I've become good at listening if I'm in a conversation, but I need to slow down and allow space for more conversations to happen.
More solid friendships, doing better at my current work, owning a house. And finding better routines to manage my time and taking care of my own body.
I want to end this year more established in every aspect than when I started.
Jarod and I were talking a day or so ago, and reaffirming that we're here in Hamilton for the long-term. Neither of us plans on returning to our hometowns. We liked a great deal about Toronto, but never felt we were destined to stay forever there or anywhere else we've lived... until we got here.
And although we don't know what the future holds, we think we're carving out a niche for ourselves that we'll fit in for years to come - and that it's a good, good city to carve that niche in.
We love this city. And we both plan to stick around a while, God willing.
And for those reading. I hope your year coming up is great. If possible, I hope it surpasses the last in every way - personally, professionally, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and more.
And if you're reading this you probably have a connection in some way - whether it's a friend of mine, through work, church, online or just because we both live in this great city. So to all of you...
Happy New Year!