Nothing says “Happy New Year” like a fresh bout of insomnia. So here I sit in the middle of the night blogging.

The calendar change from December to January prompts us to reflect on the previous 12 months and project on the next 12. For those that don’t know how I roll, you will not hear a New Year’s Resolution from me. It’s too cliché, and I can’t stand doing things like everybody else does. My birthday is February 22, and I’ll make my goals for the coming year then. But I can still examine 2016 and draw some conclusions.

It was not a good year for me. My wife’s health continues to worsen. The new medicine pump is functioning, but she is no longer able to get in and out of the tub by herself. Her asthma has not only not improved since we escaped the mold factory that was our old condo, it is far worse than it ever was. Every time she sits up in bed, she has an attack. My health is no picnic either. My weight is going down, but not nearly fast enough. I now have back pain in addition to the arthritic knees. And of course, there’s that insomnia thingy. We continue to teeter on the edge of financial ruin due to medical costs that pile up far faster than our Health Savings Account money can cover them. This will be an interesting year in that arena. AnJanette is eligible for a new wheelchair this year, and I am eligible for a new CPAP machine for my sleep apnea. The tax refund and bonus had better be very good.

On the career front, 2016 was terrible. I really hate working in the Nuclear area of the company. You have to approach everything you do from the “what’s the worst that could happen?” mindset. This is a product of the constant avalanche of factually incorrect information being spread by the “environmentalists” – people who are Communists that didn’t have anything to do after the Soviet Union imploded. They preach that every nuclear power plant is going to blow up like the Chernobyl plant did (they aren’t), and that nuclear power is as dangerous to the planet as fossil fuels (it isn’t). This has nuclear power workers so paranoid that everyone has to keep that worst-case scenario in mind. And that has also created a culture of rules. Every activity you can possibly conceive is governed by a procedure. This is a terrible environment to be in, especially if you have any sort of mental illness like I do. I am desperate to get out. Any other business unit, any position that doesn’t require me to take a pay cut. So far, no luck, whether the move would be upward or lateral. I’ve been at Duke 17 years, and would prefer to stay if I can, if for no other reason than to not lose the pension I have built up. I would also like to remain a member of the High Energy Toastmasters club forever if I can. However, if I haven’t landed a new position by June, I will focus all efforts of finding a job to external sources.

The Panthers made the Super Bowl, and the Indians made it to game 7 of the World Series. The Panthers crashed to earth in the 2016 season, but made some progress after a terrible start. The Indians have already signed the best power-hitting free agent available, and all the pitchers that got hurt in September are healthy for next season. The Charlotte 49ers football team doubled their win total from 2015, and the men’s hoops team enters 2017 with a winning record. So things were pretty good for my sports teams.

What’s ahead for 2017? More progress on the weight front will top the list. The scale says I haven’t lost much weight, but the tape measure says I have lost several inches off my belly. Hopefully there will be a direction change on the career front. I’ll have a financial goal, although I have abandoned all hope of ever retiring, owning another home or being debt-free due to the medical expenses that never stop mounting. The Indians will win the World Series and the Panthers will bounce back.

There will be ups and downs, just like there is every year. I hope for all of us that means more ups than downs, and that 1 year from now, we can all say, “it was a great year.” Happy New Year!