Friday, December 31, 2004

2005 almost here. Hmm.

I only actually remember one New Years. It was 1980. My parent, seizing the opportunity to pursue their newest hobby of turning everything possible into a math exercise for me (annoying but necessary - I was always close to failing math in elementary school and actually did in 4th grade...but that's a story for another time), challenged me to figure out how old I would be in the year 2000. After many calculations and way too much effort, I finally figured out that I would turn 29 in 2000. To my eight year old self in 1980, not only did 2000 seem impossibly far away, 29 sounded like the oldest a human being could possibly be (even though my mom and dad were 44 and 53 respectively).

In 2005 I will be turning 34, five years older than that impossible 29. I find myself troubled by that. Oh, not because I am getting older - I can deal with that. It's more because I haven't accomplished anything I thought I would have by this point in time. By now I was supposed to be married with children (to a baseball player, according to my inner time line), a published author, and generally well-known and respected.

Instead, I am toiling away in anonymity in a job I really don't like and don't have much aptitude for (except for the research and application end of it). My one potentially publishable work remains stuck at just over 10000 words. And I don't remember my last date, it's been so long (and no, he wasn't a baseball player - he was an accountant).

As I reflect on that, I feel more than a little inadequate. I'm still fundamentally the same person who was predicted to go so far by just about every teacher I had (except for my math teachers, but they were minions of Satan anyway, so...). Yet I have accomplished nothing. Why?

I'd like to blame it on everything else: the fact that we were rather financially bad off when I was growing up, the fact that my parents died while I was relatively young, the fact that I couldn't leave Pittsburgh after graduation because I was taking care of Mum, global warming, etc. But I can't. Oh, those and other bad things played a part, but they aren solely responsible for me not living up to my potential.

I am.

I've made my share of bad choices in life. Sometimes I was forced into making a bad choice by circumstances, but more often I simply made a poor decsion. I chose to be an ed. major even though even then I liked writing more than I liked teaching writing. I chose to take the crappy financial aid job instead of subbing after graduation. I chose not to move to North Carolina when my friend found me a job in her school the summer after Mum died. Heck, I even chose to pass notes in Algebra II instead of actually paying attention. Change any one of those things, or the thousand other things that hindsight tells me were bad ideas, and who knows what my life would be like now.

So, as 2005 creeps ever closer, I pray for just one thing for myself in the coming year: Clarity. I ask God to help me to see the path He has laid out before me, and to help me walk it to the best of my ability. I know that many other choices loom in front of me in the coming year, and I ask that God grant me the wisdom to make the right decisions.

I just hope that I am listening.

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