2014 retrospective

“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.”
Confucius

2014 was a banner year for my growth and self-development, here is a brief list:

1. Overcoming Adversity

Mom suffered a stroke and heart attack that left her partially paralyzed but still faintly talking. Another stroke two weeks later stripped her of her ability to talk and move. It has been the hardest year of my life as responsibilities have increased tenfold. Luckily, with dad earning a better job, Pete and Tori being strong, and my friends providing a pillar of support, things are steadily improving. My goal is to bring mom home and help her recover as best as we can.

2. Returning to School

After a hiatus from my graduate program, I restarted and have thankfully had the opportunity to continue my studies. In the time I have spent back, I have worked toward aligning my own interests in community engagement with my thesis project. I couldn’t be more fulfilled than when I discovered what I wanted to contribute to my academic and non-academic communities. I plan to graduate December 2015.

3. Publication

Although my main writing focus have been assignments in my coursework, I have continued to publish numerous advertorials in my local newspaper. I’m glad that it has also afforded me enough experience to begin freelancing outside of the area.

4. Directing a short film

After many years of excitement and talk since childhood, I took the necessary steps to realize a short film project with trusted collaborator Johnny. Ultimately, I’m very proud of engaging with talented actors and realizing a script that I co-wrote. It has provided me with a boost of confidence to continue forward and pursue various other projects that have been simmering for the past year. I have already written another short that will serve as my next project.

5. Beginning The Steps Toward A Healthier Me

I obsess over a lot of little details and various aspects of social interactions that become wasted moments of life. Over the course of the year I have become better at letting go and breathing, allowing those pointlessly stressful thoughts to leave my mind. Disengagement has allowed me to take action instead of merely contemplating situations.

6. A Return of the Reader

Although I have consumed a fair bit of literature in terms of magazines, online articles, academic journals, and digital media I had really fallen out of engagement with traditional print books. I’ve successfully completed the following works (excluding e-texts): “Steal Like An Artist”, “Show Your Work!”, “The Four-Hour Work Week”, “Serial Killers”, “Hyperbole and a Half”, “The 101 Habits of Highly Successful Screenwriters”, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, “The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything”, “Writing Movies For Fun and Profit”, “What They Don’t Teach You At Film School”, “The 33 Strategies of War”, “The Art of Seduction”, “The 50th Law”, “Mastery”, “The Power of Habit”, “The Obstacle is the Way”, and “Deschooling Society”. While I am happy that I have read more printed books, I feel the urge to begin curating a more unified collection for next year.

7. A Sense of Purpose

The biggest accomplishment in 2014 was simultaneously finding and creating my own purpose in the world. After taking a hiatus from teaching due to my mother’s stroke I reflected and came to terms that I was disappointed in the current United States educational system. Not only disappointed but frustrated with its limitations. This prompted me to reexamine my thesis project on community literacy and actively begin the blueprints of a literacy center for my region in the Rio Grande Valley.

8. Other Things

I’ve been blessed to live another year and although it has been rough, these experiences have continued to mold me into a better human being. Each day I learn something new about myself and I will continue to gain new insights both personally and professionally throughout 2015.