It is amazing how much has changed after my last post. I started this year with strong ambitions: write a book, start some consulting work on the side, do a ton of hiking, and complete my second Skills Application Exam for the CPLP certification. My last line in the post about Achieving Goals was "Regardless of what happens within it (your year), make it the best one yet."
On January 5, my wife was rearended while she was driving and suffered some pretty serious whiplash. The car wasn't terribly damaged, aside from needing the back door (it's a RAV4). And she seemed to be doing okay immediately after the accident.
That didn't last long.
I never knew that your nerves could be stretched and damaged by something like that. I never really had to think about it. After two ER visits, several imaging procedures, and a full week of uncertainty with a looming neurosurgeon appointment, we learned that due to the severity of the injury, it could take 4-12 months for her to fully recover.
My wife and I function as a team (a really good team). She's been going back to school full-time and taking care of stuff around the house. This enables me to spend a good amount of personal time on building my knowledge and skills through reading, writing, and networking, which is essentially our current source of income. I run a nonprofit on the side (President of the Board functioning as a visionary strategist). But this incident has forced me to decide what goals I will keep and which ones I have to put on the backburner.
And so I pivot.
Life is never so easy that everything goes according to plan. When we are derailed, we have to decide how to get back on course or make the most of the new one. We can waste time wallowing in the grief, disappointment, and disillusionment of the upending of our plans, or we can take the hits in stride and refocus our efforts on the new.
Of course, nothing will change with my job or work with the nonprofit. I need to work, and I'm committed to providing pathways out of homelessness. There are, however, changes to the goals for 2018. One major goal that I am keeping, because it was not an additional time commitment but a shift in an established habit, is to train to hike the Presidential Range in New Hampshire. I practice a Sabbath every Friday to Saturday evening. During that time, I do nothing related to work or ministry. It is meant to be restful - so I exercise! That might seem odd, but for me, it is restful to my mind to exercise my body.
I'll continue to write my book; however, it will be delayed. I might aim for completion in 2019 or so. I will continue to seek consulting opportunities, but at a much slower pace. Instead of trying to get clients this year, I'll just continue to expand my network for the future. And I'll continue to study for the CPLP to do the best I can in February.
For now, my highest priority is to support my wife's recovery. There is honestly little that I can do aside from doing the work around the apartment, carrying stuff she can't, and being there for her emotionally.
If you happen to be faced with a similar start to your 2018, don't allow the discouragement seep in and keep you from enjoying life. The other evening, I looked at the stars for the first time in months. It's good to take in a deep breath and recognize that achievement is not what gives us life. That breath does. While my career, goals, and growth are important to me, I can only truly thrive when I care for myself and my wife. (I put myself first, because if I don't care for myself, I can't care for my wife.)
So that is my early 2018 gut check. There could be more. Life is unpredictable like that. Keep those priorities straight and the rest will fall into place!