Monday, December 31, 2012

さよなら, 2012!

There is an hour and a half left in 2012 on the West Coast of the United States.  Japan is already more than halfway through January 1st.  As the year comes to a close, I now take the opportunity to reflect on another year gone by.

It was a difficult year.  2011 was a year of some fairly major tragedies in Japan and in the CAJ community, and much of 2012 was spent in the wake of that intense emotional exhaustion.  For me personally, there were stretches of spiritual dryness, of loneliness and of uncertainty about my calling.  My family grieved the loss of my Grandma Emma in May.  October, November and December were perhaps the busiest months of my life so far, and saw me spread more thin than ever before (and consequently, more on edge and stressed out than ever before).  It was a year of challenging, sometimes painful lessons.

Still, such lessons also meant that it was a year of growth and learning for me.  I found a church-home in Japan.  I was chosen by the class of 2012 to speak at their graduation, an honor that I will always treasure.  I'm learning more about my strengths, weaknesses and capabilities as a teacher.  I made a lot of progress in my Japanese language study.  All in all, I feel like I learned more about what it means to be an adult, and more importantly, what it means to be a disciple of Christ.

My New Year's Resolutions from last year were to exercise more often, which I kept up pretty consistently between August and mid-November (until I got fairly sick and had to stop); to cook more often (which I've done regularly since getting my own apartment in late July); to continue writing (which I've done, though admittedly less consistently than last year).

This is the first time in my life where I've actually had any degree of success in following my New Year's Resolutions.  I'll try to keep up the work that I've started with exercise, cooking and writing, but my main resolution for the coming year has to do with finances.

I'm not a big spender by any means--honestly, I probably spend more money on coffee than anything else.  Still, in talking with my dad today, I realized that I do not have a clue about budgeting my money or keeping track of my earnings or expenditures.  As each passing year brings me closer to responsibilities as a husband and father (LORD willing!), it's imperative that I learn how to keep track of what I'm earning and spending.  So, in the coming days, I will create a monthly budget that will serve more of an organizational purpose than anything else (since I live fairly frugally), but may also moderate my Tully's intake at the same time.

Tough as 2012 was, I'm excited to begin 2013.  I'll turn 27 this year.  I'll very likely participate in an intensive language course for part of the summer.  I'll continue to deepen my involvement at church and build friendships in that context.  I'll continue to grow as a teacher and develop my curriculum.  I genuinely believe that this will be a good year.

LORD, in this coming year, and in all that I do, say and think, abide with me.

Here we go!

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