Oh hey, it’s 2011

I feel like the reality of it being a new year is just settling in for me. This is not just a year, though, this is the year. This one is going to count for something.

For starters, I’m going to get my bachelor’s degree.

I think I’ve finally got it all nailed down. Earlier this week I discovered that getting the last requirement for my Bachelor of Arts was going to be trickier than I had expected. The Office of the Registrar had told me I could test out of it by way of a quick $90 exam, and that after passing this test I’d have the credit I needed. The course is in History… and as of sometime since the Registrar’s office told me about this test, the History Department stopped accepting the test. Missouri State University, my institution of choice, doesn’t have the course I need in the evenings or online (despite it being a 100-level class; it’s ridiculous that I’m having to jump through this many hoops for a 100-level class that covers the same content as the 10 years of history classes I’ve already had), so I’ll be taking it this summer at Ozarks Technical Community College as an online class. Then, I’ll transfer that History class, and I’ll take two classes this fall: Poetry Workshop and Young Adult Literature. The poetry class is the last one I need for my minor, and the young adult literature class will be the last 300-level elective I need to fulfill the state degree requirements. I will graduate in December.

I’ve been making some big decisions about my future, none of which I’m interested in sharing until January or so. Until then, I’m spending a great deal of time working on homework and trying to keep my head above water at work. I’m still enjoying my job quite a bit, which continues to fulfill and challenge me. Taking a vacation helped quite a bit, and I’m going to try to take some more time off throughout the year instead of putting it off for another two years like I did last time.

Oh, and in case you were curious, April and I went on vacation at the beginning of the month for a week and a half. We visited the Jacobsons and their beautiful baby boy in Wisconsin, hung out with April’s cousin Joanna in Chicago, and attended PAX East in Boston. I volunteered to Enforce at PAX and enjoyed the experience, and I’m hoping to put together both a training guide and some suggestions for how enforcing can be improved. I suspect most of the enforcers are random volunteers, and the managers of the enforcers are the same random volunteers who have just been there longer. That’s fine, but I spent a lot of time examining and thinking about the convention as a manager, and I have some ideas to improve the way enforcers are run. I look forward to working on it.

On the down-side, our vacation was 100% more expensive than I’d budgeted for, and our accountant called while we were in Boston to tell us about all the taxes we have to pay. I’m happy to pay taxes, generally speaking, because I think the government provides lots of good things for me and mine, but the figure was… daunting. Suffice it to say that our savings account is wrecked and we’re cutting our monthly expenditures drastically. It’ll be a while before we’re back in a secure position.

Work is good, though. That’s probably the most important part. I enjoy what I do, and things continue to improve the more I work at them. Projects are coming together and we’ve had some solid successes the last few weeks that are really encouraging. Hopefully 2011 won’t be the death of me, because to get the certifications and degree done like I want to, I’m having to work a lot. But it’ll be worth it once it’s done.

There are a lot of people, especially of my generation, who seem to hold the philosophy that there’s no point in being “miserable”—by which they usually mean having to work really hard, make sacrifices, and be challenged to the point of strained—right now for a future good. The future good isn’t guaranteed, they say, or you may think of another good down the road that requires more misery to get there. When will you let yourself be happy? Instead, be happy now and don’t worry about the future.

The people I’m thinking of are drifting with either no job or dead-end jobs; drifting into their upper-twenties or thirties with no idea what they want to do or where they want to go. They’ve never applied themselves, and they’re beginning to see their ambitions slip away. They kept hoping things would just happen, like good things fall into your lap without work.

2011 will be a year of hard work for me, but it’s going to yield some great things. It’s worth it. As I saw on Reddit in 2010: Suffer the pain of discipline or suffer the pain of regret.

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