In previous years I had set goals and even if I didn't fully achieve them, they were helpful in giving me targets and I was able to grow because of them. 2010 began and I didn't set any goals. Truth be told, I was in much of a fog because of two reasons: intense migraines after more than six months without one and the loss of the twins. Come the new year, the migraines were back. It's amazing what I dealt with when they were regular. Like right now, I have one, I'm fully functional, and while it hurts, I'm fully functional. But after you go a lengthy period of time without migraines, when they hit again all of a sudden, they are crippling. The first three months of 2010 were hard as I readjusted to life with migraines. I'm not sure why I didn't have them for so long. I tend to see things from a faith-based perspective, and I wonder if the migraines were alleviated because of what I would face on October 30, 2009.
The loss of the twins on that day put me in a fog until August. A lengthy conversation with Joe Webb (blog | twitter) at SQL Saturday - Nashville, TN really helped me gain perspective and begin to heal. Up until that time, I was merely coping. So in a lot of ways, outside of anything ministry and family-related, I was doing enough to survive, to perform at my normal levels, but I wasn't really reaching above that. I wasn't pushing myself forward. That's why I didn't speak at any user groups outside of Midlands PASS, it's why I didn't get started on the Christian book I wanted to write (and still think I need to write, but from a different perspective), and it's why I didn't do very much on the professional development side, like studying for and obtaining certifications I wanted to get or deep diving in anything outside of my core areas of security and infrastructure. Quite simply, 2010 has reminded me that goal setting is good.
So what happened during 2010 that I can look back on favorably? In no particular order:
- Finally got comfortable with SSIS, especially in a multi-tiered environment consisting of development through production, across forests.
- Spent some time really working with SSRS reports, and getting to a point where I think I know what I don't know.
- Helped co-author a SQL Server basics book (geared to someone who has to produce queries and reports with data in SQL Server) - this will be out shortly.
- Presented at SQL Saturday - Nashville
- Co-chaired SQL Saturday - Columbia, which was a big success thanks primarily to the community, so do I count this one?
- Wrote 18 articles at MSSQLTips and 1 here at SQL Server Central.
- Wrote some devotionals that seemed to strike a chord with folks.
- Joined an accountability group that has already helped my walk with God.
- Really assessed where I need to be in ministry.
- Begun the process of being ordained into ministry (licensed as a minister, but not ordained)
- Helped my boys develop their natural talents - James with guitar and Turtle with art
- I know I was a better husband in 2010 than I was in year's previous, but I still have so long a journey ahead to be what my wife deserves.
- Welcomed our latest addition to the family, a beautiful daughter.
- Helped my (now) older daughter begin her first steps in a lot of areas (academically, ballet, etc.)
For 2011 I know I need to be more focused, and make better use of my time. Because of being in a fog, sometimes I was very inefficient in getting things done. That took time away from the boys, for instance. That should not be allowed to repeat as we begin the new year tomorrow (as of this writing). I will spend the next couple of weeks really thinking about and praying over my goals for the year, but it is an activity I will put serious effort into, unlike this past year.