Fast away the old year passes. Incredible, isn’t it? My Facebook friends in Europe are already starting to trumpet the New Year — 2015 — and I feel as though we ought to still be in the ides of March or thereabouts. I can’t really complain; I’m just confounded by the accelerating passage of time.
I looked back through my past year of posts this afternoon, and I noticed some trends from 2014. For one: I notice changes in the way I use my own website. Including today’s post, I’ve blogged 117 times in 2014 — which is easily the lowest number of posts since the first year I started (in February of 2005). As a stat geek, this trend intrigues me:
- 117 posts in 2014
- 129 posts in 2013
- 168 posts in 2012
- 138 posts in 2011
- 149 posts in 2010
- 184 posts in 2009
- 210 posts in 2008
- 186 posts in 2007
- 199 posts in 2006
- 116 posts in 2005
Does it mean I have fewer post-worthy things happening in my life, about which I can write? Does it mean I have less time for writing than I used to have? Does it mean blogging is a dying art form? Is there something about this phase in my family life and career that is less conducive to writing? I suspect the answer is “All of the Above.” I’m not ready to give up this forum for scrap-booking / open journaling / reflection / creative expression / ministry / connection with others… But I do wonder what the future may hold for my writing habits.
Clearly, 2014 was a time of shifting dynamics for our family. Comparing my life to the life of the biblical King David, it seems that my Ziklag Years and Hebron Years are behind me, and I’m now entering my Jerusalem Years. Marci has embarked upon a third career, in teaching English as a Second Language, following years of distinguished service as a physical therapist and full-time mother. We’ve also found ourselves locked in the gravitational pull of adolescence and adolescent parenting — but we’re finding this new phase brings its joys, as well as its challenges.
Connected to all the life phase dynamics, undoubtedly, I notice that 2014 was a year of increased focus on health and sustainability. It seems like such a cliché for a middle-aged person, but I started counting calories — and experienced a degree of success in losing weight (and keeping the weight off!). I enjoyed — and convinced at least a couple of people to enjoy — eating an apple like a real man, as I had learned from the great Bill Hettinger and Marco Pauws. And I continued to find joys and challenges in running: racing personal bests in Kent’s Black Squirrel 5K, the Pittsburgh Half-Marathon, the Canton City 10K, and the Akron Half-Marathon.
We celebrated New Year’s 2012 in Rome — exactly three years ago — and it was there that our family made our final decision to relocate from Holland to Ohio. The cultural shift still affects us in very real ways, but we’ve managed to find our way to the point that it felt very healthy and helpful to go back and visit Amsterdam again in the summer of 2014. We especially enjoyed being with dear old friends in dear old surroundings as we watched the Dutch team storm to a third-place finish in the World Cup. Revisiting our old haunts stirred up old emotions and reminded that our years in the Netherlands were no day at the beach — but I suspect our lives will be forever linked, at least in some small way, to that part of the world.
I’m glad for all the ways God worked in our lives in 2014. I’m not sure what to expect with 2015. Even so, I say: Hail the new, ye lads and lasses.