Thursday, January 13, 2005

2004: A year of ?

I've been reflecting quite a bit on 2004 lately.

I've been looking for a simple description of the role that this set of twelve months played in my life. In 10 or 20 years, I want to be able to look back on 2004 and say "ah … 2004 … that was a year of _____".

Is there a single word or idea that captures the essence of this year in my life? What did this year really mean to me? What was it all about?

One possibility is 'change'. It was definitely a year of change. I started the year by making a gut-wrenching decision to change career direction - to move away from pursuit of a PhD - to say goodbye to my good friends and colleagues at Emory and to a path that I'd spent a number of years pursuing. "Change"? Certainly a year of change … but that's not quite the right label for the whole year.

"Travel" is another possibility. I was fortunate enough to experience adventures in Costa Rica, Thailand, Alaska, California, Ecuador, and the Galapagos Islands. 2004 was certainly an epic travel year, but 'travel' just didn't capture the essence of the year - neither did 'adventure'. It was more than that.

"Learning"? That's certainly a good label for the year. I set off on many new learning journeys in 2004, including performance driving, SCUBA diving, backpacking in grizzly country, guitar, and wine tasting. "Learning" is a lifelong focus though, so I don't feel good about labeling one specific year as a year of learning. The same goes for "Family" or even

"Becky" - two wonderful parts of my life that transcend the years and don't seem to fit as the perfect label for a specific year.

So, what was 2004 all about in my life?

I got it -- now I have an answer I can live with - actually, one that seems perfect the more I reflect on it.

For me, 2004 was a year of Friendship - of rekindling old friendships and making many marvelous new friendships, more so than any other time in my life with perhaps the exception of my first year in college. Many of these new friendships started right here in Atlanta, while others developed in other parts of the world. Friendship - that simple word describes a recurring theme throughout the year of 2004 - a theme that seemed to have a special significance in this year of my life.

I have much to say on this topic, so I've decided to split this posting into three. Stay tuned for parts II and III!

No comments: