I’ve always liked boxing analogies. I probably like boxing analogies more than I like actual boxing itself.
Maybe that’s why I’ve always liked the “Rocky” movies so much, even though he loses in the first movie (spoiler alert.)
I like boxing analogies because you can use them for almost any situation in life. For example, in boxing you are working toward a big goal of winning and you have a certain number of rounds to try to complete your task. You can use a round for ultimately anything in your life — whether it’s a project, a hardship, a date, a loss, a win, an interview, etc. The point is it’s an intense step toward a bigger goal.
I’ve always been a big believer in the value of reflection, and this is the time of the year when I’m usually most reflective as it’s the turning of a page to a new chapter.
This past year has been one of the biggest years of my adult life. I feel like I always say that every year, but after reflecting on this year over the past few days, I’m not sure how I squeezed so many big, epic moments into only 12 months. There were good, bad and ugly moments.
Professionally it was a huge year. We wrote and received some of the biggest grants our departments gotten. In the span of less than a year, we conceptualized, developed and launched UPLIFT Eureka, a multi-layered, comprehensive program to support and empower individuals who are houseless to reclaim their independence and find employment and, hopefully, housing; launched a youth council; and started a parks improvement fund. We were able to continue on upward and onward with our Community Access Project for Eureka, all while making a stop in Long Beach for the League of California Cities annual conference.
In the midst of all of that, we somehow launched a podcast network featuring local community focused content and produced a feature-length documentary on the history of the Eureka Trail. We also squeezed in developing a new fundraising model that revitalized the Municipal Auditorium into a big community event spot that brought in Grammy-winning reggae artists, as well as a professional wrestling group out of Oakland.
It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows on the work front, we had some personnel issues and lost a couple of good people, and there were, and still are, a few big projects that we weren’t able to get done as quickly as we needed, and quite frankly are still trying to get done with looming deadlines.
Needless to say, it’s been an intense year professionally.
In my personal life, it’s been a big year, too. We lost a few loved ones. The little guys in my life are now both in middle school. One of my childhood best friends, who lived out of town with his wife and four boys, found a job in Eureka and moved in with me and my family until he can save up enough money to move his family down.
Oh yeah, went to Tahoe for a bachelor party because you know, I got married this year, too. We went to New York for a honeymoon and all the while just tried to survive the balance between an amazing year and a tough one.
One of the biggest challenges has been my health. I’ve missed more columns this year than I’ve have since I started back in 2013. I’ve also missed more days of work this year than I have collectively since I threw my first paper as a paperboy at 11 years old.
I finally got a good grasp on it though, and have some tests coming up to finally get an official plan into place.
I’ve been hit with a lot of punches this year, but I’ve gotten a few great licks in myself. I had some amazing rounds and had some where I thought I was going to get knocked out. The important thing, however, was through it all, in between each round, I had my corner to reprieve in. That’s where my corner people stitch me up, give me water and give me feedback on my last round and advice on my next. In boxing that’s the cut man, the manager and trainers, but in my life it’s my friends and family.
Looking at this year as a whole I’d say it was successful despite the fact I had some pretty intense hardships, because I also had some pretty amazing milestones and successes. It’s probably how Rocky felt at the end of the first “Rocky” movie; sure, he didn’t win the fight, but he was just happy he had the experience and he made it to the end.
Happy New Year, dear readers! I hope you have some time to reflect on your year, and we can all look forward to moving on to the next fight: “Rocky 2,” if you will.
I’m pretty sure he wins the championship in that one.
Brian S. Millett is a project manager for the city of Eureka, and can be reached at email@example.com.