A Year in the Life, Week 39: Self-Reflection Week

This week’s A Year in the Life Exercise was another … self-reflection week! Man, this is the last time I take a job where I have to undergo a performance review every three months. 😉 This one went better than the others, though. The exercise instructed me to start with my letter, not my supervisor’s, which was a nice change.

Dear Ms. VenOsdel:

Another quarter flown by! I just looked over my entries since my last review (October), and I have to say that I’ve been pleased with my work. I’ve really delved into a lot of the prompts these last few weeks, revisiting memories and conjuring new thoughts that remain deeply integral to my sense of self–namely, I’ve pulled from the prompts the best of what I imagined such prompts could be, and sometimes I think I even came away with some really beautiful writing. I shared the ones I felt comfortable sharing online, and I had some great discussions with my mom when I shared with her the links. Although I didn’t do extensions–and we were honest about that last time–I did do several of the “writing for special occasions” exercises in the back of the book–Thanksgiving and New Year’s. I wish I’d found the time to do Christmas because Christmas was lovely this year–but I was just too busy living it to pull myself away for writing.

The New Year’s entry continues to be illuminating, though–it prompted me to write five resolutions. I was hesitant to come up with more than three, a la The Power of Less, and I take resolutions so seriously that usually I only make (and keep) one. So although I’m not going to stress about keeping all those resolutions, I find that they have made me more conscious of what I should be paying attention to and where I should be putting my energy.

And although I always want to write more, I was pleased to see how often I wrote between prompts this last quarter. For a while I thought these prompts would make me write less day-to-day because there would “always” be the chance to write on Friday or Saturday–sort of like a friend told me she thinks NaNoWriMo prevents her from writing for the rest of the year. But that wasn’t the case, at least this quarter. It helps that I’m “between” big writing projects and have a little more energy and inclination to write reflectively. My new job also affords me more leisure and reflective time, so I have very little resentment for the time I write for you. It’s become a treat again rather than just another obligation–and that’s definitely something I hope to bring with us into our final quarter. I have to admit, though, that I’m getting antsy to finally pull another book off my writing shelf!

I’ve also totally abandoned my attempt to write in the morning, after Ivan goes to work and before I start my day’s work. The idea was to set that time aside so I would journal more, since it’s harder to write before bed now that I’m married. But I found the idea of writing first thing in the morning to be so daunting that I usually just went back to sleep for another half-hour, which usually turned into 45 minutes or an hour, and then I felt bad about my lack of productivity and the lost time. So I gave that ambition up much as I gave up the ambition to pursue more “extensions,” and I spend the first half hour of the day reading instead. That is my favorite part of the whole day, which keeps me from going back to bed, which makes me more productive and ultimately clears more time for writing. Not bad, right?

So I guess I’m saying that I think this journey is finally starting to bear some fruit–not just in pages filled or memories captured, but in a deeper understanding of myself and my needs, which leads to greater contentment with my everyday life. What could be a better outcome than that?

Thanks for giving me this opportunity.




Dear Lacey,

I couldn’t agree more. Keep up the good work.

Ms. VenOsdel

P.S. Even your reflection on your performance has become more meaningful! I’ll be sorry to see you go after this last quarter.