Christmas was good, as it always is. This trip has been the longest chosen vacation I’ve taken in years (as opposed to “enforced vacations” of unemployment) and it felt a little surreal. Of course, I don’t get paid time off, so the tacit trade is that I don’t have to worry about how many vacation days I have.
I spent yesterday hanging around with Scott (“Mirage”) in Tampa, ending up with a nice dinner at a restaurant near where he lives in Apollo Beach, and hellesfarne came up for both a Solstice party my mother threw on the 22nd and for Christmas Eve dinner. (That dinner was the first time I’ve cooked salmon, and I’m surprised at how well it came out!) I had a wonderful time having dinner with ladyperegrine a few days ago. I’m unhappy that I’ve managed to miss haikujaguar; it seems her husband was sick earlier this week, and she was later in the week, and plans for a get-together never came together.
This is a traditional time to be, if not making resolutions, at least thinking about the new year. I might resolve to get back in the habit of more regular journal postings than I’ve been making over the last few months, I don’t know. More seriously, I’m thinking about my various projects and moving them forward. Claw & Quill has been a “coming soon” placeholder page for a year now; in 2007 I need to actually do something with it, whether or not the plans are as grand as I’ve considered.
I have a feeling—a premonition, if I may be so bold—that 2007 is going to be another year of changes for me, but I’m not sure as of yet what those changes will be like. My financial goal is to cancel out my outstanding debt, finally, and rebuild my savings; the big caveat there is, of course, that it’ll only be possible if my current contract continues for all or most of the year (or another one of comparable salary level starts again real quick). My debt will be reduced by about 50% by the end of January from where it was in August, but it’ll likely stall there as I start frantically stockpiling money for the self-employed, nothing-withheld tax bill heading my way in April, which will be many thousands of dollars.
If things really do hold fast and the debt and savings end up where I want them to be, I might see if I could convince my current employer to let me telecommute a few days a week. Then I’d consider moving somewhere on the outskirts of the Bay Area where rent is, well, somewhat lower, with the expectation that I’ll just have a commute from hell once or twice a week and be hanging around home the rest of the time. There are many, many “ifs” in that thought, of course.
2006 has been a turbulent year for me but not a bad one, all things considered. Am I looking forward to 2007? I don’t know. I’m happy, but have a strange sense of melancholy-tinged ennui. Another friend mused earlier today on the dilemma of contentment; I rephrased his question as Am I content with what I have now, and if not, why not? and he replied that it also came down to If I am not content, is it possible for me to be content at all? Upon putting the two side by side, I think the second is implying a bleak answer to the first (“Perhaps I am not content with what I have now because it is not possible for me to be content at all”).
I look back at my time working for Intermedia as a contented time, and one I keep striving to get back to; the job that didn’t work out earlier this year was one I imagined would be “like Intermedia” (it wasn’t). Yet, I was keeping a journal back in 2000, and I was frustrated at my lack of advancement ability within Intermedia, frustrated at the Tampa job market, frustrated at my failure to have followed up on opportunities out in Silicon Valley when the dotcom boom was in full force. A picture of contentment that was not.
Of course, it’s easy to lament what we don’t have and give what we do have short shrift. Maybe the secret of contentment is simply not to do that.
No matter your own state of contentment, best wishes for the new year.