A personal look back at 2017

A personal look back at 2017

I will be doing my usual look back at the The Year in E-Books (this will be the ninth) and The Year Ahead for 2018, but I wanted to do something different here.

While I do certainly share my opinions and some of my interests here, and from time to time, talk about my life (Bufo’s Life ), I don’t feel like I say all that much about myself.

That’s on purpose.

I always want this blog to be able to help as many people as it can. I don’t want it to be that people of one particular opinion or another or driven away from it because of disagreements with something that doesn’t have to do with the topic at hand.

I also want it to be a safe place, a place where people are judged not by their inherent characteristics or broadly by their lifestyle choices, but by their thoughts and feelings on a topic. It may be silly, but I feel like if I talk about things like my age or gender, it makes other people feel like they should do the same…which may intimidate some from sharing on topic thoughts.

I should be clear: I don’t do it that way in life, or even in my other most active blog, The Measured Circle. Oh, I still don’t say much personal in TMC, but I do use gender-specific pronouns. 😉

Why am I doing it in this post?

I’m not sure. 🙂

One of my concerns for my “performance” in 2017 is that I haven’t been writing enough narrative in this blog. I’ve been doing the daily “Bookish Birthdays“. That means I am publishing a post a day, which I hadn’t been doing, and I’ve gotten some good feedback on them…but it doesn’t say much outside of the facts.

ILMK had its lowest ranking since I’ve been recording those this year, and I suspect that may be part of it.

I get why it’s attractive to me. It’s similar to the “collector’s instinct”. I like a challenging routine, it feels good to me. Producing a daily post which takes work and judgment gives those “micro-rewards” that make me want to keep doing it. It’s like the joy of alphabetizing; I think I’ve told this story before, but I had a videostore employee approach me after I’d been in the store for maybe 45 minutes moving movies around (slightly). The employee trepidatiously asked me what I was doing, and I explained that I was alphabetizing the movies. “But they’re already alphabetized…” Me: “Oh, the ‘As’ are in the ‘A’ section, but they aren’t alphabetical within the section…I’m fixing that.” (That’s approximate from memory).

I’m currently writing three daily posts…one for work, and they take more than an hour. I sleep a relatively small amount (I’ve checked that with my doctor…seems to be okay), so I do have more time than most people. However, I like to say that “Work expands to fill the available time.”

I do know how to manage time: in fact, I teach others to do it, and I know I’m effective. I train medical people, and I had one case with a doctor who was regularly leaving the clinic a few hours after it closed. Charting (writing down what happened) is essential, and takes time to do properly. Doctors also get a lot of communications about things, both from inside the organization and from the people they see.

I spent about an hour with that doctor talking about time management techniques (there is some overlap with technology, but that’s not all it is).

About three weeks later, that doctor was leaving about an hour after the clinic closed, which is about right. It took three weeks to clean up and to ingrain habits.

However, just because you understand how to do something doesn’t mean that you consistently do it. 🙂 Do you think Steph Curry’s shooting coach is a better shooter than Steph? It’s not necessary to be the best at something, or even particularly good at it, to help others get better.

That’s not to say that I’m bad at it, either. 🙂 I haven’t written a narrative post on this blog in several days, but our adult kid was visiting, and we had a lot of family things to do. I love writing this blog and interacting with you, but family does come first (and my Significant Other and adult child support that).

Speaking of which, let’s do the first revelation…

I’ve mentioned that we have a big lifestyle change coming. My Significant Other is going to retire, starting January 12th. There are certain implications around retirement, so I didn’t want to say that was the change. In this post, though, I will.

We can do it, but it will be very different…and it is purposefully uncertain right now as to details. My SO has been in the same industry for decades, and has worked many twelve hour days. The time had just come.

It will cut our income roughly in half (we make about the same salary, despite doing very different things).

As you can imagine, that’s a challenge.

We did some things to save some money: one was closing out a storage space for which we’d been paying. Those boxes went in the garage for now (which we don’t use as a garage anyway).

I sort of tried to do this earlier this year, and it didn’t happen…but I’m going to use our neighborhood website to organize a “Giveaway Day”. For it to work, it will have to be promoted, in a way similar to our neighborhood garage sale (which is sponsored by a realtor, since it brings people into the neighborhood.

My idea is to have lots of things out on the street where people can just pick them up. Why not sell them? Some items just don’t fit that profile. I don’t know that we’ll get any tax deductions, since organizations probably won’t leave receipts. Also, I’m well aware that professional resellers (garage sales pros, eBay experts) will come by and get the high value items.

We’ll set it up so we have one of our twice a year extra garbage pick ups the next day. I think that will work well.

We also need to cut back on spending: fewer trips, for example. We may not buy as many gadgets, although hypothetically, when I buy a new Amazon gadget and write about it, that can be an investment. When people buy gift cards from the link at the end of this post and then use them at Amazon, that really helps.

We are looking forward to this. I don’t have plans to retire for at least five years: I’ll be the income and the benefits. I also really like what I do. My SO asked me years ago what my retirement plan was, and I said, “I plan to die at work.” That didn’t go over well. 😉 I am now convinced that I will retire at some point…which will mean writing more.

Regardless, that’s a change.

Revelation #2: I’ve mentioned having a chronic condition and walking with a cane, but I haven’t said what it is. I have an arthritic hip, and it’s a deteriorating condition. It simply won’t get better, and function will continue to get worse. When I first got the cane, I had someone ask me if it was for show. It’s obvious now that it isn’t. I have quite the “rolling walk”…my left leg is effectively now quite a bit longer than my right one, and that also continues to increase. When I stand (which I can’t do for very long), I have my left leg bent and my right leg straight.

The obvious question I get is, “Aren’t you going to do a hip replacement?” I have no fear of an operation, and I did meet with an ortho surgeon this year for an evaluation. The interesting thing is that I have no chronic pain with it. It just doesn’t work very well, and I will get acute pain…changing direction suddenly, getting bumped, putting on my sock or getting into the car: those can all cause pain, but I don’t have it just in normal routine. It also doesn’t last long.

I was told that the purpose of the hip replacement is really to relieve pain. It doesn’t fully restore function. When people get a lot of function back, it’s because pain was stopping them from doing things.

It’s also better to wait if you can, apparently, since the hips wear out. Waiting longer might mean fewer surgeries.

When I get my annual check-up in February, I am going to ask about getting a disabled sticker for the car. I haven’t done that before, but my ability to step up on a curb and that sort of thing has gone down. It’s not so much distances; it’s stairs, curbs…places where I need to raise my leg and therefore engage my hip. The special parking places are sometimes the only ones which don’t require a staircase, and they have ramps for wheelchairs.

There have been times I’ve thought that having a wheelchair would be easier…even cool. 🙂 As you can tell, I don’t have a lot of ego about my appearance. A wheelchair would now make me significantly faster when I go those distances. I’m not there yet, but that might be in my future.

My condition has also reduced the amount of aerobic exercise I’m doing (my physical therapist basically banned quite a bit of my daily routine). I had a pretty good weight intake/outgo balance (I had lost about forty pounds ((18kg)) at one point). I’m refinding that, but I’m confident in it. I may have put on ten pounds or so again, but I’ll get that back off, and I’m not gaining out of control.

This coming year, then, I’m likely to see deteriorating health…and more time with my happier SO. Pluses and minuses. 🙂

Okay, have to head to work. I have a lot of writing to do in the next couple of weeks, plus I’m still working on the book, Because of the Kindle. Things will get easier when I’ve “lapped the year” in Bookish Birthdays (I think that’s in September), and when I’ve done “On This Date in Geeky History” for the whole year. Some things I want to get written soon:

  • Popular pre-orders for January
  • The Year in E-Books
  • The Year Ahead
  • My monthly Snapshot on January 1st
  • My annual Snapshot
  • I want to do a summary of “Geeky Good-byes” (and catch up the listings) on the The Measured Circle blog
  • I have maybe another three posts to write for TMC

Oh, wanted to mention: we got two new SmartPhones! We got Galaxy S8s, when they were buy 1 get 1 free. My SO needed a new one (the current phone goes back to work, and we don’t have a landline), and my screen had developed a flaw…and for the first time ever, I dropped my phone and cracked the screen.

Two surprises came with that: I hadn’t realized it had a new power cord connector (meaning I needed adapters for places I have cords), and my Samsung Gear doesn’t work with it. I’m replacing the Gear (I do a lot in VR and some in AR) with the new one…that’s really a holiday gift.

Hope your year was a good one, and next one is better! 🙂

You can be part of my next book, Because of the Kindle!

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

6 Responses to “A personal look back at 2017”

  1. Phink Says:

    I’ve been semi-retired since 2003 at the age of 37 after a major motorcycle wreck resulted in an amputation plus many other injuries. I work 15 hours a week at a big box retailer. I have often said “I wish they’d cut my pay and our benefits in order to make it possible to retire”. When you can buy company stock at a 15% discount, get matching 401K, cheap dental, and 6 weeks a year paid vacation while being $2 an hour overpaid how can a person ever completely retire?

    My entire life I so looked forward to retirement. When I worked for a huge soft drink company at 25 years old co-workers would ask “Phink, how long till retirement?” and I’d reply something like “29 years, 4 months, and 23 days.” My co-workers got a kick out of that. I always knew to the day and was planning on retiring at 55. However, most of us are not the same person at 55 that we are at 25. Attitudes change.

    I’m in a wheelchair because my right hip was utterly destroyed in the wreck and according to my specialist you need a good strong hip in order to make a prosthetic leg work properly. As to my wheelchair, I could always use help getting the chair out of the vehicle. The day is fast approaching where it’ll be very difficult or maybe impossible to go anyplace alone and that day I’m not looking forward to. I could never hope to afford a van with a lift.

    The problem with getting help unloading or loading the chair is everyone is so afraid of offending people I hardly ever get asked “you need help with that?” I do sometimes but most times people just walk by without comment. I’m convinced after all these years that most of those able bodied people walking by while I’m struggling with getting my chair out of the back of the car are simply afraid to ask out of fear of offending me. When I do get asked if I need help plenty of times it’s “I hope I’m not offending you but I’d be glad to help you if you need it.”

    I’ve had the same experience at other harder to do activities. Some times ketchup pumps at the fast food place are hard to reach in a chair. It’s obvious I can barely get to it and most people just patiently wait and some will ask most times timidly if I need help. When the day comes you must use a chair just remember that just because a person seems to not care and not want to help it’s very possible that is not the case at all.

  2. danny63 Says:

    Thanks for writing about your life now. I love it when singers “talk” (Elvis Are You Lonesome Tonight, among others). But I really like writers who address their readers directly and tell us what’s going on. I liked learning about your health. Glad to know you’re not having much pain. I can relate, as I’ve been using a walker for about a year now. I seem to have a balance problem, but it’s a minor thing. I’m very lucky. I’m 72 going on 73. Am working on becoming a better geezer.
    Thanks for the personal essay, and Happy New Year!

  3. Jim ferry Says:

    Bufo-Thank you for sharing and your candor in doing so. I’ve enjoyed reading your blog on a daily basis for some time. Interestingly enough, the daily “bookish birthdays” are a lot less interesting to me than your thoughts and perspective. Of course, that’s more work for you! That said, it is appreciated. Good luck with the coming challenges.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Jim!

      I appreciate that! Actually, writing my own thoughts is easier than the Bookish Birthdays. 🙂 Well, they are different…but it takes me a lot longer to do a Bookish Birthdays than it does to do a post that doesn’t require extensive research. I do enjoy doing the BBs…it just will be nice when I hit that year wraparound spot. 😉

  4. Cathy Bayne Says:

    Good luck to you and your SO! I retired 6 months ago at age 48, and it’s been really nice. I’d been with the same company for 24.5 years, and things had changed so much that I couldn’t stand it any more. Plus I finally went for supervisor, and it turns out I don’t like baby sitting or actually bossing people around. I am going back as a contractor for the busy season, but I’ve been assured that there’s no meetings, babysitting, or drama. We’ll see – it’s only for 2 months.

    I hope your hip does well. I was going to say “gets better” but that probably won’t happen without medical intervention. But when you finally go for that, good luck on that as well.

    I do enjoy the bookish birthdays. I miss the other things, but I figured you were busy. Life happens.

    I hope your New Year is marvelous for you, your SO, and your kid. Be Safe!

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Cathy!

      Thanks for the kind words!

      I personally really like being part of a team. I was a successful contractor for a while, when a company went under…but I prefer having peers, training others, and yes, having a boss. 🙂 I don’t particularly being the boss, although I have done it and (objectively) been successful at it.

      That said, when I’ve trained managers, I have expressed my concern about being always pushing employees to “advance their careers” and move up the ladder. You certainly want people to have that option, but if someone is good at their jobs, why do you want to breed dissatisfaction? There also is the “Peter Principle”: it says, basically, that people are promoted to their level of incompetence. 🙂 Somebody who is good in one job is promoted to a higher level until they reach a level where it isn’t really their strong suit, but by then, they’ve been with the company so long, you can’t get rid of them. This is that book (NYT bestseller, back in the day) by Laurence J. Peter:

      The Peter Principle

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