My 2012 review: What went well and not-so-well

Last year, the biggest change was the move to Korea. This year, it’s been the move back and all that’s come with that. So, in what’s becoming an annual tradition, two questions:

  1. What went well in 2012?
  2. What went not-so-well in 2012?

Here are my answers to the first question for me:

  • I left Korea. That was one of those experiences that would have made Korea worthwhile by itself. Huge learning curve there.
  • The southeast Asia trip was trippin’. I met friends, took a TESOL course, learned about adoption, and learned more about how we respond to various situation while I was visiting the new countries (Thailand, Laos, Cambodia). I might have learned more in those five weeks, six if you count the trip back to Korea for the Bennett wedding and then the flight back to America, than I’ve learned in any other six week period in my life (only one possible exception comes to mind).
  • I finished my Master’s degree in just about one year, fully paying for it with money from Korea and surprising everyone back in Kentucky with the news that I even started much less finished this thing. And as strange as it sounds, this project – finished just four or five months ago – already feels distant.
  • I announced the plan to move to Saudi Arabia next year. I’ve been anticipating this since last year, but with the TESOL course and the new degree finished, it finally began to fall into place for real.
  • Alaska was unexpected and wonderful. This proved to be another lesson in staying flexible (’cause I had no idea about this just a few months before, much less at the start of the year), enjoying travel, and making friends all over the place.
  • Experiments got kind of crazy this year. Not that I really regret the peanut butter experiment from last year, but I’m thankful nothing fell apart quite like that this year.
  • It’s been fun to be back in America, in Kentucky for the holidays, Thanksgiving and Christmas. My aunt and uncle and cousin visited from California around Thanksgiving, and that was a blast. I’v also learned a lot from meeting with friends again, experiencing their reactions and what’s happened with them since I’ve been away.

And here’s what didn’t go so well for me in 2012:

  • I made bad decisions in Thailand. The hard part is that I think those decisions were a result of me not planning ahead enough and not sticking to decisions I’d already made in the past. This is hard because like I mentioned in the section on things that went well, flexibility can be a good thing. I think it comes back to the distinction between decision and direction. If the direction is heading the right way, then the individual decisions tend to fall into place, even if they’re not always perfect.
  • I skipped some posts on Marshallogue. Some of them are almost finished. Others are completely finished. For whatever reason, though, I didn’t always get a chance to publish them (sometimes, it was just a lack of Internet in Laos or whatever). I need to remember my post on what to say when you don’t know what to say.
  • Getting back into Louisville didn’t go so well. I mean, I’ve enjoyed it. That wasn’t the problem. The problem was that I knew before I returned that living here again for less than half a year would make it hard to fully get involved in things.
  • What’s up with that book I was supposed to publish? What’s up with that video project I started? Yeah, both of those have taken way longer than I anticipated or promised. I feel like my discipline this past year has taken a nose dive. I need to pay more attention to working on that problem.
  • I feel a bit disconnected because of moving around. I love having friends all over the place – there’s no downside to that – but when those friends make it harder to feel at home with the ones where I’m at, I think that might be a problem. I’m guessing this will change up a bit in Saudi because of the expat environment. I’ll need to come back to this, though, once I leave there, the way I left Korea.
  • Last but not least, with just days before the year ends, I would have liked to have already lined up a job and everything for Saudi. That hasn’t happened yet. It’s still going – I mean, I am – but it’s taking longer than I would have liked.

Wow, this is a crazy list. I didn’t even realize how much has happened until I plotted it down here. Just goes to remind me how important it can be to review like this, at least each year.