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Happy Christmas

2010 December 15
by Shannon Lowder

Over the past few years, Happy Christmas has become one of my favorite Christmas songs.  I like the message “War is over, if you want it.”  Call me naive, but I believe it.  The reason I chose it as my post’s title is the lyric: “What have you done?  Another year over and a new one just begun.”

It reminds me it’s time to look at my resolutions for 2010.  See how far I’ve come, and how far I still plan to go in 2011.  So let’s dig in!

Looking at things to do around the house between my wife and I, we’ve knocked out some painting (still the hallway and my office to go).  I’ve built a nice garden around back.  We’ve changed out the details to all brushed nickel.  We’ve put up curtains.  We’ve replaced our hand-me-down furniture with furniture we bought ourselves (something we’d never done before).  We still have several things to do in the house, hardwood downstairs, new carpet upstairs…pets are really tough on flooring.  I also want to upgrade the patio into a full “outdoor living space”.  But there’s no real rush for that.

My financial life is back on track.  Within the first couple months of 2011, I’ll be debt free (except for the house).  Something I really worked hard on throughout 2010.  I still haven’t been as good with my savings as I should have.  That’s definitely going onto the 2011 list.

On my physical list, I had planned on getting to 15% body fat in 2010.  Considering I was close to 35% two years ago, I’m happy to be at 20%, but I know I can go further.  I’d also planned to pass the USMC PT Exam.  I can do the pull-ups now.  I can do the sit-ups too.  The 5k in 29 minutes still gets me.  For 2011, I’m altering my plan a bit.  If I can’t be fast, then I’ll build endurance.  I’m going to start running.  5k’s, 10k’s, and eventually a full marathon.  the Charleston Marathon.  I’m definitely doing the 5k, but I’m going to push myself to try the 10k.  I have a month to push my endurance from 5k to 10k.  If I can’t make that… I’m already starting to plan my next run!

Here comes the meat of my resolutions.  My professional list.  I had planned on getting certified in 2010.  While I have studied, and practiced, and read until my eyes hurt, I still didn’t take the exam.  That’s all on me, I didn’t make it a priority.  Or at least not a high enough priority.  In 2011, that has to be a higher priority!

I’ve been better on my commitment to blogging (hehe, this post counts towards that!)  I’ve also started contributing more via twitter #sqlhelp, commenting on other blogs, and reaching out to speakers at SQL Saturday events.  As a result of blogging, I have gone a little further down the path to consulting.  I’ve even been asked to companies’ sites to discuss issues they’re having with SQL, and I’ve been able to help!

There’s more I can do in 2011 professionally.  I’m looking into offering more training.  A local community college offers two database courses.  I’m reaching out to them to see if I can help them provide more training options.  I’ve already submitted two sessions to SQL Saturday events.  I’m planning my trip to PASS Summit in 2011.

I feel like I have accomplished a lot this year.  I look forward to pushing myself just as hard this next year.  I can’t wait to see where I end up in another 12 months!  Let me turn this back around on you “So this is Christmas, and what have you done?”

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