Retrospective: What a Difference a Year Makes

Today is my daughter’s first birthday. Yipee! We all survived the first year of parenthood, and she’s had quite the impact on my life. From squalling infant to little critter that tries to talk and is getting close to walking, it’s hard to imagine that we’d only just met her last year this time.

Significant events like birthdays are an easy way to glance back at a year or a period of time and see how far you’ve come, how you’ve changed, but it doesn’t have to be a birthday. Where were you last year on this date? What were you doing? What has changed in your life since then? In previous posts I’ve touched on this when I’ve been looking back at journal entries, but I also keep a log book to record what I’ve accomplished, to-do lists, that sort of thing, which makes it easier to look back at my writing progress.

Where was I last year? Well, the hospital still, since the baby had just been born. But in the previous year I can look back and see that in 2010 I was at work on a particular manuscript and even working on the weekend to make up for a poor week of writing. Keeping records like this gives me a better idea of how long it takes me to complete a manuscript – even those times you’d rather not know, since technically from percolation of the original idea, initial notes, all the way to final, polished manuscript can have required a heck of a lot more time than you’d care to consider.

Why should we occasionally look back? Well, I think that we’re products of our experiences. It’s helpful sometimes to see what you were capable of (if, say, you were on a really productive streak that makes the current measly word counts pale in comparison). On the other hand, you could also see that you’ve perhaps become much more disciplined, that your productivity is up, as well as your professionalism.

Whatever the case, a year does make a difference, no matter how fast they flash by. Because even if we sometimes don’t realize we’ve accomplished anything in a year, we’ve lived to lesser or greater degrees, and we’ll never be the same again.

So, where were you last year? Do you feel like you’re in the same place, or have things drastically changed?

Thanks for reading, and have a great week.