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January 17, 1974

It was exactly 42 years ago on this day in history that I was born. My life has never been the same since.

    bday image

Around this time of year I always get way too introspective for my own good. The combination of New Years and my birthday always gets me thinking about the past year. I mull over the good and the bad, reflect on the goals I did or not not accomplish, and set new goals for the next year. Sometimes I write these goals down, but most often I do not. Most years I often wonder what I’m doing with my life, and if I’m even contributing to the good of the universe. Some years I can say yes, some years I’m undecided. This year I think I err on the side of doing good, and adding positives to the world.

I think that 2016 is going to be a pivotal year for me. For the first time in a long, long time, I am starting out the year in a mindset to get healthy. The school where I teach is doing a “biggest loser” weight loss competition, and I am committed to a team. I bought a FitBit tracker for my birthday, and have been tracking my calories consumed, as well as steps taken in a day. So far, I feel I’ve been fairly successful. In the first week I dropped close to 8 pounds, and 2% body-fat. Not too shabby, considering all I did was stop eating junk food in the evenings.

I’ve also started the year with a renewed commitment to my writing, although I will admit it’s not quite as strong as my commitment to health. I guess when you have team members who are counting on you, and providing positive peer pressure, you have more incentive to keep your end of the deal. With my writing, the only person I let down is myself, and I have a pretty thick skin, so it doesn’t bother me as much as it should. Anyway, during National Novel Writing Month last November, I wrote the first book of a planned series, and in December I started the second book. I should be finished with it in the next week, if I can keep up my current pace. I just have to make sure I don’t listen to that little voice in my head that says, “What’s the rush? You’re tired today. Relax. Write later. Maybe on the weekend?” To fight that voice, I put a sign in my bathroom that says, “Write the Words.” Hopefully it will motivate me. So far, so good.

If things go as planned, 2016 will be the year I become a published author. For real. This time I mean it, and I really think I can pull it off. The growth of the indie publishing market is still on the upswing, and it’s not to late for me to get on it. I just have to do it. The thing that I’m discovering with self-publishing is that it is not a cheap venture, at least not at first. Once you have three or four books out there (and people are actually buying them) it starts to pay for itself. But that first book, and even the second, are costly. I have to think of it as a business expense. Maybe I can find a corporate sponsor? (Ha ha, made a little jokey-joke there.)

IF things go well with the book publishing thing, I hope to make a go of it full time in a few years. I know that teaching is a dying ship. I can’t do it forever. Even if the education system itself starts to fix the many inherent flaws, I can’t keep doing what I’m doing for what they pay me. The output isn’t equal to the income. I know teaching isn’t supposed to be about the income, but you know what? Sometimes it is. I heard an interview where business owner basically said that $40K/year is not “real money,” and that to get quality people he’d have to pay “real money.” That kind of depressed me in a way I wasn’t expecting. I’m not ready to run out and look for a new job, per se, but I wouldn’t turn down a winning lotto ticket.

So, there’s my birthday post. Hard to believe I’m now 42. That’s half-way to 84, and while I think with modern medicine I’ll probably live to be close to 100, I still feel like I’m close to the mid-point of my life. I want to make the second half of my life feel more productive than the first half. I want to put words on paper. I want to see my name on the spine of a book or two, or ten. Who knows. I want to get out of the classroom, and into the world. Maybe do something worthy of calling it a legacy.

And maybe, just maybe, I’ll blog more than once a year.