Frohes neues Jahr - Happy New Year!!! In the days and weeks leading up to a new year, I find myself assessing the prior year. I suppose this ritual is quite common for most of us. As it is a time to take a look back at 2019 and reflect on the good, the bad and sometimes the ugly.
As I began to look back at 2019, I begin to appraise things my personal relationships, my career, my finances, my health, my music, my quality of life and some of the significant events that occurred in the past year.
I started writing and publishing my blog at the beginning of last year. My first blog entry was titled “No New Year’s Resolutions”. In this post, I wrote about how I do not participate in the ritual of the New Year’s Resolution (Wikipedia = A New Year's resolution is a tradition, most common in the Western Hemisphere but also found in the Eastern Hemisphere, in which a person resolves to change an undesired trait or behavior, to accomplish a personal goal or otherwise improve their life).
My position on this tradition is that if something is so important that it requires a change to my life, a trait or behavior, I surely do not need to wait until January 1st. Perhaps for these types of things, we should give them our immediate attention at the moment we realize something needs fixing. I do however feel that the New Year is a good time to set some goals for the year ahead.
In my blog from last year, I shared my goals for 2019. Hence, I thought it would be a good time to review them as I move into 2020.
(1) Start writing again
SUCCESS ANALYSIS = Excellent
In 2019, I posted 41 blog entries containing 50,000 words. I wrote a couple of songs and started jotting down some thoughts for a couple of books.
(2) Read more
SUCCESS ANALYSIS = Fair
I read the same book twice, I suppose that accounts for something. (The book is called “The Subtle Art Of Not Giving a F***. (I had to read it twice because of some of the challenges I faced in 2019, it was needed) Yes, that was actually the only book I read. But I did buy another book last week, so this goal is still on my radar.
(3) Live more focused on my quality of life (family, friends, music) and be less work-focused SUCCESS ANALYSIS = Good
This year provided me the opportunity to spend more time with family than in recent years. I returned to the USA to visit my family twice this year and my parents came and visited me in Germany. My son came to visit me twice this past summer and on a recent visit to the USA, I had an amazing time with my daughter and her boyfriend.
My musical pursuits had some high points this year and through my music, I have a great circle of friends and have met many new people along the way.
As for less work focused…….well, there is still a lot of room for improvement. However, I am proud that I have learned to be less connected digitally, than in the previous years. (example; shutting off email and overall business communication when I am not working and actually trying not to work when I am on vacation)
(4) Take more time to do nothing. (learning to chill and use all my allotted days of vacation)
SUCCESS ANALYSIS = Failed
I was not able to take 5 days of my allotted vacation days this year. The good news is this is because my business has been doing great over the past 6 months. The bad news is that business growth equals more work. As for chilling, I think I am doing better, but there is still some room for improvement.
(5) Advance my language skills in German
SUCCESS ANALYSIS = Made Progress
All in all, I am pleased with the progress made on this goal. Yes, I am sure there are some of my German friends that may not agree. To those of you who disagree, I will let you in on a little secret, it is because you fall into the category of German friends that I don’t feel comfortable speaking German with, or you speak too fast or too heavy of Bavarian.
Nonetheless, I do understand most conversational German and speak well enough to carry a decent conversation and fully function in my daily life (sprinkled with a few English words).
(6) Daily acts of kindness
SUCCESS ANALYSIS = Good
First of all, it would not be appropriate for me to recite my personal acts of kindness I achieved in 2019. Because true kindness expects nothing in return. Nonetheless, I had a good year in this area.
Giving money to a man begging on the street, giving clothes to a friend or the church, taking food to an animal shelter and donating to a charity, are all very nice acts of kindness. However, as I worked on this goal this year, I discovered it is not always about giving money or things to those in need.
Kindness comes in many forms. Listening to a friend who needs someone to talk to (in America we call this “lending an ear”), sharing your advice or knowledge with a young person, holding the door open for strangers, thanking a waiter for their good service, or simply smiling and saying hello as you pass someone on the street, are forms of kindness that actually go a long way in making this world a better place.
During this time of the year, television and news shows often will provide statistical and historical information about the year; like the 100 top songs for the year, famous people who died during the year, the top sporting events in the year and in the next months we will be bombarded with music, television, and movie award shows, highlighting the Gods of the entertainment industry. So, I thought I would share some of my highlights for 2019.
The Top Read Blog Posts from “The View From My Window”:
1. The Guitar Messiah
2. Bands im Terminal - Munich Flughafen
3. Making A Memory, With Music
4. A Gift For Rene & Katerina
5. What Is Your Passion?
Live Musical Performances:
I play in 2 bands, one is a rock, funk and groove band called the Hill Street 5 (my primary band) and the other is an acoustic blues trio called The Bottle Inn.
· Hill Street 5: (15) shows
The Bottle Inn: (11) shows
Weddings: 2 ceremonies (solo vocal performance with Stephen on guitar)
The top musical event for me in 2019 was performing the Hill Street 5 at the Bismarktplatzfest in Landshut, Germany.
My company was sold to a very large company in October of 2019 and thus far it has been more than a challenging process.
My Uncle Dewey (my dad’s brother) passed away in October of this year (ironically enough, he passed away on the same day my company was officially sold…….a rough day)
Changed my U.S. residency to the state of Florida
Received news that my daughter will graduate from college in April of 2020 (Emily I am proud of you and my wallet thanks you)
I thought it would be fitting to close my blog with the goals I have set for myself in 2020.
(1) Get a new apartment.
Yes, it is time for this old boy to get out of the attic. As I approach nine years of living in my current apartment, I would like something a bit bigger with a couple more amenities; like a place for a clothes dryer (German = Trockner) and a dishwasher (Geschirrspüler). (This place has been great, but if I stay here much longer, I may become the second most famous person in German history to live in an attic)
(2) Musical Growth (performing live)
For the past several years it has been great to get the opportunity to enjoy and perform music again. During this time, my vocal range and control have grown and with the help and guidance of my friend Stephan, my abilities on the guitar have expanded.
As 2019 came to an end, I found myself concerned with my primary band, in that over the last 6 months we have only performed one show. Although we had planned to take some time off in the late summer to learn some new material and we added two people to the band, I do not think any of us would have expected to slow down this much.
A big band limits the number of places you can play at and unfortunately, when you don’t play live, the public can forget you and the band members can become bored and move on to other musical projects.
For me not performing live, is a “big deal”. First of all, the older I get I sometimes wonder how many gigs I have left in me (I know that sounds morbid. Nonetheless, I am hoping I can roll as long as Mick Jagger). But seriously, as for performing live, there is nothing like it in the world. Being able to see the audience’s reaction and enjoyment as we play is why we do what we do, and it makes you better musicians. Trust me, we will fix this problem. But until it is fixed, I have to put it on my list.
(3) Reduce my cholesterol and blood pressure
At the end of December, the results from a bio-metric test that was required by our company’s new ownership resulted in problems in these 2 areas, of which I promptly blamed the cholesterol levels on the fact I have been so overwhelmed with work in the last months, that I basically dine out for every meal and the high blood pressure is related to work stress. Hence, I have to either get this under control or quit working. I will let you know what I decide. : )
(4) Write a book
I have actually created a title for my book. It will be called “Faces Outside My Window”. It will be a picture book with photos and short stories about the special people I have met in Germany and how they have touched my life in some way while living here. I have started work on this already, but it will take some time. It would be great to have this completed in 2020.
(5) Work on the things from 2019 that need improvement
Learn to take more time to relax
German language skills (I need to get his off my list so I can start learning another language. NOT!!!)
What are your goals for 2020? 20/20 is used as a reference for perfect eyesight. Hence, I pray for 20/20 vision on the things that matter in the year 2020. Each of us is faced with opportunities and decisions each day of our life. We all should let the past serve as a lesson to guide the steps we will take in the future and be sure to take every opportunity to enjoy and live life to its fullest.
I recently came across this post on Facebook and I thought it was worth sharing. “In the New Year, never forget to give thanks for your past, because it has enabled you to reach today. Without the steps of your past, you cannot arrive to your future”
Happy New Year and thank you all who have read my blog in 2019.