As we close the door on 2016 and begin 2017 its time for my own personal reflection.
The biggest shift for us this year was that our kids went back to school. It hardly sounds momentous, but after 6 years of homeskooling we had got into a pretty good groove with life, so having them re-enter the system has taken some adjusting to.
Danelle was the one who needed the break, as anxiety and related gut issues had got the better of her in 2015 and the change was forced on us as much as it was the right time.
The kids did really well at school, Sam being the academic he is and Ellie the hard worker, they both got really good results in their end of year reports. They have thrown themselves into all sorts of activities and have found their feet socially and academically. All that crap about home schoolers not being able to slot back in… yeah…
However it took Danelle a little while to adjust to the kids ‘not needing her’ as much, and to let them just get on with their own homework without her assistance. No such problems for me…
Back in January both kids got baptised, a beautiful day for us as parents. You always want to see your kids own their faith for themselves – and while I’m aware there is a long way to go in life – neither of them took the step lightly and both know what they are about.
Danelle’s anxiety eased as she settled into a new rhythm and she managed to get a better life balance for most of the year, including a day of work at the school, something she enjoyed immensely. We have both enjoyed making a more significant connection with the school community this year.
I started the year with some new found energy for leadership in the church scene and we enjoyed a really good year in QBC. Having made plans and formulated ideas at the start of each year I’m always amused to look back and see how the year actually turns out. It was a mix of ups and downs – we farewelled a number of people courtesy of the economic downturn, which was actually very sad as we are a pretty tight bunch, but by the end of the year the church had also grown quite significantly and on Christmas eve we were pretty much at maximum capacity for our auditorium.
I don’t put much stock in numbers and we haven’t chased them at all, so its been curious to see the church grow more this year than previously. I wouldn’t say it was down to our clever planning, but there is clearly some things people like about who we are. We’re still a pretty laid back family like bunch of people, raw and terribly unsexy, but I guess for unsexy people maybe that’s the appeal. No one to impress…
Late in the year we were given an opportunity to start an Out of School Hours Care facility in QBC in 2017. It was late August when we started into it, but even with the short lead time its now ready to go in Feb this year. When I say ‘we’, it was really Danelle and Janet who shouldered an enormous amount of work as they ploughed thru red tape and bureaucratic BS to finally get there. Its a significant project for us as a church community and not one we went into lightly. Both Janet and Danelle worked flat out for a few months and unfortunately in the process Danelle’s anxiety levels climbed, which aggravated her gut issues so that after 3 days on holidays she was in trouble. Its gently gently now as we try to get the job done without her being a mess.
My business slowed to a crawl in January and didn’t pick up again until September. It was wonderful… I realise that may sound weird, but once I got past being worried, I slotted into a new pace and found it suited me much better. Currently I am coming back after holidays and 4 very busy months (Sep-Dec) and while I was hoping for a similar downturn this year, I’m currently almost fully booked for January even before its started. I’ve been sending back quotes that are significantly higher than usual and people keep on saying yes, so even when I don’t want the work I seem to keep getting it.
It would have been awesome 5 years ago, but right now my body is showing signs of wear and tear and I’m not sure how much longer I can sustain this. I used to consider giving it up from tiredness and sheer exhaustion, but this year I came back from mid year leave with screwed up knees after trying to get back into running and while they are still mending, my hands have struggled and got really sore from overuse. I’ve been popping anti-inflammatories for the last 6 months pretty regularly, but I’m just not winning.
Selling the business doesn’t excite me, nor does trying to employ someone. Its just so sporadic that I can’t guarantee work. I had hoped to take someone on last year, but when things died so quickly I had to let him go as there was barely enough work for me. I am wary of going that route again as its hard for everyone.
I’ve just started swimming again as prep for the Busso jetty swim in Feb and after a month of swimming my dodgy shoulder is just hanging in there. Just 1.5ks every couple of days seems to be as much as I can tolerate so hopefully I’ll get thru to Feb without too much pain. Its been great to do it with the kids and see them really improve their own performance and confidence. I wouldn’t say swimming is a Hamilton family speciality, but we are getting better as we go.
At the start of the year I changed cars again – from the classic 1987 60 series to the almost new Colorado and there have been no regrets there. I have to admit it is nice driving a car and never having to worry about ‘that noise’ or whether ‘its supposed to feel like that’, or whether its getting to the end of its life.. We also changed the caravan yet again for an expander with bunks. We are hoping this will be the last change until the kids are older. But who knows… Some days I think the caravan is wonderful and other days I look and see $35K gathering dust in my driveway and feel like its a stupid idea. A few bad experiences in caravan parks have left me re-thinking the whole thing a few times now, but letting the caravan go would be hard…
What does 2017 hold?
I’m not sure at all. I have felt change in the wind for a while now, but I still seem to keep on rolling with the same stuff. I’m not chasing anything new, but I get the sense that at least with retic is may get forced upon me.
I’m ready for some fresh inspiration, new vision and challenges, but I’m wary of just manufacturing those things. I’ve ‘been there done that’ and it usually ends up just being very wearying.
So that’s the year that was… and hopefully 2017 will be the breath of fresh air I’m hoping for.