As 2017 is starting to come to a close, I’m starting to think about the things that I’ve accomplished during the past year. The year started in a very unusual way, with me at home with my family. To say that the rest of the year was just as unusual wouldn’t be too much of a stretch.
This past year has been everything and nothing. I did everything I wanted to but I didn’t do enough of anything. Except, maybe, work. I’m ready for a holiday.
I’ve been really fortunate to have had work for this year. Next year will start well, too, with work lined up for the remainder of the school year. Interestingly, I’m finding that work has become something of an all consuming pursuit. My thoughts are never very far away from what’s going to happen in class or at school. My students’ success is always on my mind. The challenges that I’ve faced at work this year have proved to be interesting, forcing me to find new pathways to seemingly simple goals.
Because I’ve had consistent work, I’m doing alright financially. Things are going well enough for me to keep unopened bottles of wine and bourbon. I’m still wearing slightly torn t-shirts, decade-old shirts, and patched jeans, but that’s mostly on account of the fact that I don’t want to go shopping. My plan is to start updating my wardrobe next year. If I can buy one new item of clothing a month, I should have twelve new items of clothing by the end of 2018. I’ll have to get rid of some of the clothing that I already have, because I don’t want to do any more laundry.
One thing I was hoping to have at the end of this year was a girlfriend, but that won’t happen. It’s not for trying, but more a result of my personality and inability to communicate effectively about my feelings. In the last year, I’ve met some truly amazing women who were willing to give me a chance. The internet has made unfathomable opportunities real.
Last year, too, I tried to grow a beard. I shaved it off before the spring. This year, though, I’ve already kept it for longer than I did last year. It’s not the earthy, lumberjack beard that I was hoping it would be by now, but I’ve still got a few weeks. The white hairs that are growing in length and number are blending in nicely with the rest of my black hair. The hair of my moustache is long enough to tickle the inside of my nose, causing me to sneeze more often than I’m used to. It’s especially bad on days when I talk a lot, which is most days. The hair on my cheeks is long enough to satisfyingly run the short-toothed portion of my comb through. When I shape my beer nicely, I feel like I look a little tougher; I think that I can change people’s perception of me if I smile at them. When I blow my nose, I have to be sure to run the clean end of the used tissue around my lips.
Every time I think about shaving my beard off, I remember the commitment that I made to myself. I decided that I am going to keep a beard, letting it grow until it’s big. I want it to hang down far enough from my chin to touch my sternum. It’s going to take patience and resolve, but it’s something that I need to do for myself. I’ve always wanted to know what my body is truly capable of.
While it’s not all that it could be, my beard is getting there.