The last few years have had a general theme for me of transience; this year, though, has shifted toward stability. I’ve just passed my first year with The Armada Group, making this the longest job I’ve had since I’ve moved out here. It’s the second highest-paying job I’ve had on an hourly basis and the most I’ve ever made in a year. (Despite that, I’m still in debt; while my salary rose each year from 1994 through 2001, in 2002-2004 each year it dropped, compounded by huge honking tax bills paid in 2004 and 2005 thanks to my poor handling of “independent consultant” status. I made less money last year than I had since 1996.) While it’s not, strictly speaking, a permanent gig, it’s indefinite, and I’ve started thinking of it as… well, stable.
This is good, but a lot of the pieces of my life have been less than ideal. I’ve been feeling more disorganized and scatterbrained than ever. I’ve been getting less writing done than any year I can remember. I let Claw & Quill wither, and I’ve been considerably slower in building the Excursion Society MUCK than I was with Bandari. And, I’ve had a few less than ideal reminders about the travails of system administration and the way it can affect relationships. When you’re in a position of power, things you do, and even some things you don’t do, are often viewed in the worst possible light. This is something I run into not infrequently at the Giants’ Club, but this last year it was heavier than any time since my BBS-running days. (While Bandari may have been the first time I’ve run a MUCK, I’ve been doing “social administration” tasks for 20 years now.)
So, what about 2006?
One goal is to lessen that debt. With any luck, the job with Armada will continue as-is for another year, and I’ll be spending a few months throwing money at a credit card. In September, my car will be paid off. (It already has over 100,000 miles on it, so one of my other goals this year will be: drive less. If I can beat myself into taking light rail to work a lot more often, that’ll help considerably.)
I do have other goals, of course: first, to get the Excursion Society into a “soft opening” stage, to port Bandari over to it, to get other builders the tools they need for their areas. After it’s at least starting to run on its own power, I’ll be thinking more on Claw & Quill. And, I do have some long-standing unfinished stories I’d like to get back to. (Which includes a couple NaNoWriMo entries.)
Behind those goals is a meta-goal of getting myself organized. This is something I’ve tried to do off and on for a while, but I can’t really go on like I have been. My inability to find things and to get my own projects done has become my major source of stress. When there are other things to stress about, it’s always in the background; when there aren’t, it moves to the foreground.
This year is also the year that I started thinking a lot—nay, even worrying unduly—about my own mortality. I’m not sure why this year and not three years ago, nor three years from now. But the you don’t know how long you have, isn’t it time to get your affairs in order and start travelling the world? thoughts have been very, very strong.
It is, at the very least, time to get my affairs in order.
At the moment, though, that means finishing last minute packing. dracosphynx will be here to pick me up in about an hour and we’ll hit something quick and cheap for lunch, and then I’ll be off to the airport. Seven hours’ worth of travel gets me into Tampa ‘round midnight. I’ll attempt to get in touch with those who’ve attempted to get in touch with me, and if you haven’t, it’s still not too late! As usual, I’ll be accompanied by the Sidekick; my AIM info is in my LJ user page, and you can even send me an SMS from there if I’m not on. (If you want me to call you back, put a phone number in the SMS, though, since it won’t show up from an LJ-sent text message!)
And, for those of you I don’t talk to in the next week, have a good Christmas (or other holiday of your choice).