I had an art teacher in elementary school who always said “good enough is not good enough.” She meant if you had to ask if something was “good enough,” it wasn’t. There was no good enough, there was just good. And if something was good you just knew it.
When I think about my own professional and personal progress in 2016 I asked myself if it was “good enough.”
The highlight of my 2016 was starting a new job. I liked my old job but I like my new job 1,000 times more. It’s amazing how a company in the same industry can be so radically different.
But outside of my new job I didn’t really do anything. That’s where the disappointment stems from.
I finished the second draft of a novel in early December but that’s something that might never lead to anything. It could just be wasted effort with all the words, ideas, themes, and thoughts never seeing the light of day. So I put no stock in that and don’t count it as an “accomplishment” for the year.
When I was a kid I had to play football. I hated every minute of it. The only minutes I didn’t hate were when I was on the sidelines. I remembered watching an interview with an injured pro player (I can’t remember who) as a kid. He kept saying he wanted to get back in there. I couldn’t imagine why anyone would ever want to get back on the field. Why wouldn’t the player just want to make money without having to play?
Of course, I didn’t understand the competitive mindset athletes have and I didn’t understand the athletes enjoy the sports they’re in. That’s what they live for.
A similar sort of longing dogged me throughout 2016.
I wrote three articles this year (but two don’t count because they were only on Medium). In 2015 I wrote eight. In 2014, 2013, 2012, and 2011 I wrote countless articles.
I can feel my connection to internet writing withering and I don’t necessarily like that. The sharp drop between 2014–2015 is because in late 2014 I had a brief full-time writing gig where I had to write five articles a day and it killed any joy writing on the internet gave me. I think I’m just now starting to recover from that.
There were so many times throughout the year where I saw an article and just thought “Holy shit, I could write a response to this article that fucking buries it,” or “Why is nobody writing this one take that, to me, is very obvious,” and similar thoughts. There were a handful of articles I wanted to write after the election that I felt in my fucking bones and just didn’t.
Like the football player I watched as a kid, I wanna get back in there. There were a handful of articles I read and just thought “Fuck, I could do that and I could probably do it better.” I probably couldn’t have done it better though, hah hah. Still, though, I had a lot I wanted to say and I didn’t say any of it. That’s my own fault. But maybe it’s a didn’t say any of it. Who knows. Honestly I don’t think the thoughts of a cishet white dude would’ve really counted for much anyway.
Right now I either have time to work on the novel or write articles. The novel, I think, is ultimately more important so that’s what I’m choosing but I can’t help but feel that part of my heart has been ripped out. I just miss internet writing a lot. I need to do it more.
Outside of that, 2016 was a great year for me professionally despite it being one of the worst years in American history politically. I’m really grateful for the job I have and I’m really grateful I started to see a therapist at the end of 2015. 2016 is the first year of my life where I’ve seen a therapist for the whole year and it makes a big difference.
I wish I was optimistic about my career for 2017 but optimism is a mindset I’ve trained myself out of in some respects.
Anyway, shoutout to the people who read these things of mine. Hope you’ll tag along for 2017.