I always end the year by writing about my accomplishments, failure, regrets, and resolutions.
I love this time of year because the calendar naturally moves me to reflect and take action. This post is all about 2018 accomplishments.
Honestly, I’m not sure how the year went.
There’s data showing it was okay. Trips, invoices, bank statements, emails, moments of recognition from clients. It’s all there. Whenever I feel mediocre, I always accomplish something. When I suck, I don’t suck. Plus I had one goal of getting a literary agent and writing a book proposal. I’ve got both. Haven’t sold my manuscript, yet, but that’s coming.
There’s also the fact that I get up in the morning and don’t quit, despite my jacked-up brain telling me to walk away from everything — my marriage, my cats, my car, my natural skills and abilities — and find a job working nights in a tavern on the northwest side of Chicago. It’s not impostor syndrome, it’s something a little darker. A response to the absurdity of life, Donald Trump, the internet, dudes behaving badly, the illegal war in Yemen, anxiety, human rights atrocities, and other people’s bullshit.
They call it dysthymia, I call it cynicism, but I wake up every day and intentionally remind myself that it’s a wonderful life. I’m here for the ride even, even when all of it feels very intense and uncomfortable. That’s an accomplishment in my mind.
Finally, I started coming to terms with dyscalculia. It’s not something I’ve written about because it’s supremely embarrassing, but I muddle my way through math in a way that makes me feel like I lack life skills. In fact, therapists have largely written off my math struggles as character defects.
Here’s how it works: financial concepts are difficult for me to understand, numbers are hard, I miss calendar appointments, flub travel dates, forget to pay my mobile phone bill, and can’t balance my books for the life of me. Maybe I should just be mindful and get my shit together?
I mean, yes, I need to get my shit together. But it’s not that I’m an asshole. I can see numbers, but they don’t always make sense. I can look at a P&L and balance sheet and, very slowly, understand the totality of what I’m reading. But those executive summaries with bullet points you produce on a report or PowerPoint slide? Those are for me. I need words.
I have a CFO who lives nearby who’s been enormously helpful. And I contacted one of the leading experts on children with dyscalculia and asked him if he could help me. He said no, but he was nice about it. Told me that I’m not alone. Referred me to other psychologists, encouraged me to go slow, and linked to online resources where I can practice working on math problems.
Takes a Village, Yo.
Maybe my biggest accomplishment was admitting I can’t do math and money alone. So, I asked for help from loved ones and professional advisors. And they answered the call, thank god. I’ve been set up for success in 2019 — everything is organized, automated, transparent, managed — and I’m enrolling in a program where I do math exercises online and have practice flashcards at home. Humbling, but it should help.
So, that was my year.
Did I knock it out of the park in 2018? Who the hell knows. Some days are fabulous, and some days are bananas, but it averages out to a rigorous and interesting life lived with some measure of authenticity.
Bring on 2019!