1. This was a year where a noncrazy work-life balance remained a tricky thing to achieve. The good news: I still had time to hang out with friends. The bad news: Many of them no longer live nearby, making it trickier to visit with them. And it’s difficult for me to turn down any organisting assignment, because, frankly, I can use (read: need) the money. So this will be something I have to really watch in 2013.
2. This was a year where I went from an occasional visitor at my non-main parish (two Masses a month) to being an integral part of the other parish. I held down the fort for a big number of their Masses after their music director exited, and even with the arrival of the new director, I’m still playing quite a bit on Sundays over there and taking major assignments (a high-profile funeral, as well as Confirmation next month). It’s a younger, growing parish, and it’s a joy to be there.
3. But let’s not forget my main parish. I’ve been there on and off for 10+ years, with the current stint just zipping past three years. It’s also the parish I’m registered as a member at. English Mass allows me to have a say on the music that is used — the only Mass, right now, where that’s the case. (I don’t actually pick the songs, though.) And every week, I also play Spanish Mass, where I get to chat with a whole bunch of people whom, admittedly, I wouldn’t encounter too much otherwise. The people there are wonderful as well, and they have been so over the years. Is it a different group from the other parish? You bet. But I wouldn’t trade this church for the world, either.
4. It was because of my main parish that I bought Rosetta Stone. I spoke a limited amount of Spanish, which wasn’t enough to communicate with the folks there who spoke only Spanish. I’ve been doing it for a little over three months now, and I’ve picked up a decent amount. I feel more confident in some conversations. But the trick is that only I know where I stand in terms of how much Spanish I know, so I can get through some stuff, then totally blank when I get a response. So I speak a less limited amount of Spanish, but I’m hoping to improve.
5. The day job had its ups and downs. It’s interesting working again for a company that’s always in the news. It’s also certainly an improvement from the company I worked at before, which was a telecommuting editing job for which I was practically always on call. I wasn’t happy at that job, both with the work and the atmosphere (working at home constantly really does suck), which is why I jumped to my current day job. Seems like it was a good call, as the prior company was subject to several journalistic investigations this year, none of which ended well for the company.
Anyway, back to the day job, for which I’m a copy editor. It’s a long, sometimes tiring commute. But the work is generally interesting (I handle a lot of entertainment- and sports-related things), and the people are great. So much more often than not, it’s worth it.
6. I have to do some more grownup things next year. Need to buy a new bed. Still saving up money to buy a home — actually got preapproved, but then day job went through a rough patch and I wasn’t feeling confident enough to shop. I may get an apartment this year, though. I’m halfway home on my car payments.
I’m reluctant to spend a lot of money, unless the value is totally worth it and the risk is low. Like for Rosetta Stone, the value is clear and the risk of something bad happening (such as a lot of lost money) is low, because the most I can lose, frankly is a relatively small amount of money and time. But if I buy a house and things go bad, then my troubles are a bit greater. It’s the residual effect, I suppose, of losing my job three years ago, which forced me to move home.
7. A high point of my year was my week’s vacation in August, during which I drove through South Bend, Toledo, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati (with a weird jaunt through West Virginia on the way to Cincinnati — thanks GPS?), seeing friends along the way. The trip included a visit to the University of Notre Dame (which I loved), a visit with an ex-journalist who’s now a Lutheran pastor in rural Ohio, a visit with my dad’s side of the family, and three baseball games. I did a lot of driving, but it was totally worth it.
8. This was a year where so many others experienced some profound change. My sister is engaged. One of the best friends is engaged. A couple friends, who married last year, had their first child, a totally cute little guy. Many work friends got married. On the other hand, my grandma had a health scare and spent a couple days in the hospital. On the other hand, change for me this year was subtle, or perhaps slow. And I’m OK with that. But at some point, I will have some major changes, hopefully for the better.
9. There is one continual loss of 2012 that didn’t make me too thrilled — alas, the hair atop my head keeps escaping. The balding actually started when I was 22 or 23, and we were able to keep it at bay with topical treatments for a while. But at some point, those stopped working. It’s gotten to the point now that I shave my head every couple of days, because what’s left would look fairly bad if it were allowed to grow out. I think I look better with a full head of hair, but these are the cards I’ve been dealt. On the bright side, my head doesn’t look too bad after it’s shaven.
10. Stupid Bears. Stupid Cubs. Stupid NHL.
11. Best movie I saw that came out this year (out of not many): “Skyfall.” Favorite song this year: Bonnie Raitt’s version of Gerry Rafferty’s “Right Down the Line.” And I only bought one album this year, which was the Benedictine nuns of Mary, Queen of Apostles’ “Advent at Ephesus.”
12. Next year, I’m hoping to find a new apartment or home and finally exit my family’s home. I’m going to carve myself out some free time. I’m going to see my friends as much as I can. And I’m going to try to bolster my prayer life, read and learn more about my faith, and (politely but firmly) explain my faith to those who think it’s plenty of things that it’s not.