Looking Forward

Please, let the door hit your ass on the way out.

Like nearly everyone I know, I believe that 2016 can suck it. The world went crazy with violence and terrorism; a whole slew of beloved celebrities passed on; the people of England were bullshitted into voting to leave the EU; an orange man with bad hair and an even worse outlook on life won the seat at the head of the table… I could go on , but why bother.

It’s also been a pretty hard year for our family. Mrs. Tucker was booked in April for neurosurgery to help fix a spinal compression. Four days before said surgery she slipped, fell hard, and broke her ankle in a way that required surgery. That’s right. She went under the knife twice in four days. Since then, they had to operate on her a third time as the screws they put in her foot to help hold everything together were not working. And just last week she found out that the bones are still shifting and she’ll need to have reconstructive surgery on her foot; the tendons have to be rebuilt.

Needless to say, this has put a pretty big damper on the mood of the family. Mrs. Tucker is somewhat depressed as she is a fiercely independent person who really dislikes having to reply on people for seemingly mundane tasks. She’s been through a lot this year and while, yes, she’s not dead or dying, she is pretty much done with with all of the bullshit.

As for me, well, I’m more than a little exhausted. The events of the past twelve months has put me in charge of most all of the domestic items: cooking, cleaning, laundry, shuttling people to and from various activities (and driving Mrs. Tucker to and from work) on top of my full time job. Not complaining… well, maybe a little. Just a little.

I joke with Mrs. Tucker that she’s really taking milking the “in sickness and in health” bit of our vows; she’s really read the small print and is taking advantage of every loophole.

Then I think of the year itself and I remember the awesome parts for us:

  1. Mrs. Tucker and I celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary by spending two weeks in Italy.
  2. There was a pretty excellent week spent at a cottage on a lake in the summer.
  3. Mrs. Tucker and I took the girls to Disney World for a week in the fall.
  4. We ended the year pretty much debt free.
  5. Our kids are happy, healthy, smart, talented, and awesome.

So yeah, 2016 didn’t completely suck. Damn close though. And it kind of setup 2017 for a big fail (cough, US, cough). But for our family, we’re going to work on making this new year ours.

 

Resolutions? Sure, why not.

I have a few. Normally I don’t really think of “resolutions” on January first. It’s one of those things I’ve always scratched my head at. While I get that the New Year means a chance to start things anew, you can make changes to your life any time of the year. Why wait for a specific date?

That being said, for 2017 I have a few things I want to work on. So while the local gyms will see a boost in signups over the next few days (and then a drop in attendance near the end of the month) I’m going to tweak a few aspects of my life:

First, I want to cut back on my phone usage. Holy crap I don’t even use an eighth of the apps on my phone. So why do I keep pulling it out when there is a lull? I mean, any time there is thirty seconds with seemingly nothing to do, I pull out the phone. I’m not complaining about the phones themselves. I think they’re amazing, wonderful devices that connect everyone. For me the phone is 75% work and 20% stuff that mostly adds no real value to my life and 5% family related like actual phone calls and texting. Not a great ratio.

I’ve decided that when I’m home and not on-call, the phone will go away outside of my “working hours”.

This bit is also a family thing. There have been times that the kids have been bugging for attention and my face is in my phone. Not cool. I want to put the phone down and pay more attention to my kids, my wife, everything. I really need to stop this and get back to paying more attention.

Second, I need to stop reading shit on the internet that adds no value to my life. This is mostly tech sites and their ilk. Why do I even really care what a few people on the internet think about electronic gadgets? I mean, I don’t really care. I have all the gadgets I need. When the time comes to replace a gadget, I research for a few weeks before heading out to stores to get a little hands on time. Who gives a shit about Apple vs Android and whatnot? I’ve already stopped reading a few of them because either the comment sections are cesspools (as they usually always are) or the writers themselves are little more than rich, whiny white guys. I think it’s time to pull the plug on the last couple that I read.

It’s the same with Facebook, which I singed up for again this past March. I find it adds so little value I just need to turn it off. Maybe even delete it. Permanently this time. Instagram is kind of ok, but the algorithms are all whacked out on the search feed of late and I have no idea why I’m seeing the posts I’m seeing.

Third, those two things, the phone and the social internet, are the primary reason for the last, and most important resolution: I need to get back to a few things that have always made me, well, “happy”. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not unhappy at all. I have moments where I’m a little depressed, or sad, or cranky. We all do. It’s normal. For the most part though I’m quite content in life and I have absolutely nothing to complain about.

What I mean by “happy” is that I have a few hobbies that can put me in a great mood no matter what: visual art, music, and writing. When I was younger and in a bad mood or simply bored I would either sit ay my easel and paint or pick up my guitar and play, or fill notebooks with all kinds of stories and I would calm down and relax. And over the years these hobbies have take a back seat. Even music. I’m in a band, sure, but I just don’t pick up my guitar like I used to ten years ago. I know my parts and that’s that.

The default action when “bored” has become to pull my phone out of my pocket and refresh pages and feeds I’d already checked a hundred times in the past ten minutes.

What am I going to do? I’m going to create a schedule to get me back into the hobbies I love. Every day, after the kids are in bed, I’ll spend an hour doing something that’s not clikcy-clikcy on Facebook or tech blogs. For example:

Monday, 21:00-22:00 – Visual Arts. Draw, paint, sculpt, whatever.
Tuesday, 21:00-22:00 – Creative writing (not blogging – download manuscript locally and turn off the computers WiFi).
Wednesday – Jam Night.
Thursday, 21:00-22:00 – Music: NOT band related. Write a song. (Although this can become band related if practice is needed and/or the song idea would fit.
Friday – Family Movie Night.
Saturday, 21:00-22:00 – Writing; blog post. Maybe about the last weeks creative works.
Sunday… This day is already reserved for prepping food for the upcoming week.

It’s not perfect, but it’s a start. Hopefully this allows me to settle down and get back to what’s important in life. And let me tell, what’s important cannot be found on Facebook or tech shill sites.

Happy 2017 everyone. May the next twelve months overshadow the last for all the right reasons.