More or Less: Goodbye 13, Hello 14…



A compass I learnt when I was surveying, it’ll… it’ll point you true north from where your standing, but it’s got no advice about the swamps, deserts and chasms that you’ll encounter along the way. If in pursuit of your destination, you plunge ahead heedless of obstacles, and achieve nothing more than to sink in a swamp, what’s the use of knowing true north?
Daniel Day-Lewis as Lincoln

So, where am I going in 2014? I know there are places I want to go, but I also know the path isn’t always clear.

A few years back, I started an annual post of “More or Less.” I don’t do resolutions, but I do set goals for improvement. Here’s my look at how I did in 2013 and how I plan to do better in 2014.

I did a couple of mid-term updates in 2013. But here’s the list.

Worship more: There’s always room for improvement here. With the exception of illness or travel, we’re in church every Sunday and those times are wonderful. But worship needs to be more deliberate and not just when I happen to show up at church. I hope to look for more opportunites both to actively worship and to understand what it means to worship. That includes reading and studying more, particularly about liturgy and worship through the ages.

Pray more: I’m always offering quick prayers, but I’ve not really developed a real, consistent time of prayer. I had a friend who is a minister receive a prayer bench as a gift for Christmas. I’m not there yet. I’m not sure I ever will be. But I need a constant reminder that prayer isn’t just for asking.

Read more: I hit 29 books this year. That’s pretty good for me. I’ve got some I’m looking forward to reading in 2014. And I need to develop a Scripture reading plan for the year. 2014 may be the year to read through the Bible again, but with a plan that reads portions every day and not a chronological plan because I can get bogged down in some of those Old Testament books. Help me decide what to read.

Celebrate more: We did okay with this. Not in a formal sense, but we’ve spent some time in a new circle of theater friends and we’ve been out more. We hosted a Christmas party for the neighborhood. That was a good thing. But we also need to celebrate the simple things in life on a more consistent basis.

Work less (or work smarter): Heck, I worked more in 2013. When you consider my full-time job, my part-time job as a writer and the fact that I had multiple acting jobs (some paid, some did not) in 2013, I worked a lot more. But all of this is working toward that career shift that I talked about. It may not happen in 2014. But, I’ll be closer.

Play more: There’s never enough time to play. We’re finishing the year with a visit to the costume exhibit at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Friends are joining us and then coming over for dinner. We need more of this.

Eat less: I’m not sure I ate less. I ate smarter. We’ve adopted (okay, we’ve lapsed a bit over the holidays) a paleo/primal diet. It’s working and, for the most part, we enjoy it. I’m down about 25 lbs. from when I wrote this last year. And, while I won’t set a specific weight loss goal for 2014, I will weigh less on 12/31/2014 than I do today.

Exercise more: I’ve been fairly consistent with the YMCA and walking at lunch. There have been some seasons when, because I was ill, or because I was burning the candle at both ends, that I didn’t make it to the Y. But I made it there more often in 2013 than I did in 2012. I started back yesterday. The muscles know it and haven’t forgiven me, but I’m going.

Write more: I’ve done that. Mostly for paid jobs and for here. I tried Nanowrimo, but failed at about 16,000 words, which really isn’t a failure, that’s a pretty good chunk of writing that can go right into the middle of the novel I’m currently working on.  I’ve backed away from writing for political blogs like Bearing Drift and I’m reassessing my writing at  But I’ve got another blog currently in stasis that I plan to actively develop this year.

Create more: I did some projects and a lot of sketching this year. Also, I’m now doing marketing for CAT Theatre, so I get to do a lot of design work there. Acting is also a form of creating. Still, I’m missing the canvas.

Spend less: We tried. Honestly we did. We did, for the most part, try to spend more wisely. But substantial repairs on one vehicle and totaling another. Well, that adds up.

Give more: We’ve tried to work on giving more from our resources and time. We’ve given away more stuff, and when we can, we give financially. Still, we can do better.

And additions for 2014:

Politic less: After 30-some years in politics and public policy, this is hard to do. But, quite frankly, I’ve had enough. I still have some basic conservative beliefs – The government takes too much and spends to much. Life is precious and sacred. We need a strong defense. And the 2nd Amendment should not be abused. Beyond that, I’m just not so sure there’s much I want to worry about anymore. I do know is that, while I may choose at times to share my opnion, I don’t want to be actively involved in campaigns. There’s just no one who inspires me to work for them. Of all the campaigns with which I’ve been involved, four men would inspire me to work or them again. Unfortunately, two have passed away, two have chosen never again to pursue elective office. It’s been a couple of months since I took that step back. So far, I haven’t missed it. And, Facebook has been far, far more pleasant.

Act more: Hopefully. I certainly did in 2013, being in four shows, a one-act play festival, an extra in a television show and a reenactor. I share the fears of a friend who mentioned on Facebook that she worries each show will be her last. We all told her that was nonsense because she’s amazing on stage. But I know and understand her feelings. I went through half a dozen auditions this fall and got the “sorry, we won’t be able to offer you a part” message for each. But, I didn’t give up, and I start rehearsals on Monday.

All that being said, I’m looking forward to 2014, and I will not miss 2013.

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