2018 Highlights & 2019 Goals

As has become an annual habit, the turning of the new year is a great time to look back at what I've accomplished on the layout during the past year and look forward to what I'd like to accomplish in the coming year. If you're anything like me, when you're head-down working on stuff, it's easy to think of all you have yet to do and forget what all you've already done. So this annual post is a chance to step back, take stock, and get some motivation for the upcoming year.

But first, the sobering truth. Here were my goals for 2018:

The honest reality is that many of those things have been on my "Goals" list for a few years now (long-time readers may recognize some familiar bullet points...), and they'll be on my list again. But that doesn't mean I didn't do anything in 2018. In fact, despite a year filled with a lot of family challenges, I actually got a few things knocked off the "2018 Goals" list, and a few are in progress:

As for the other bullets on the 2018 Goals list - I've got a big, fat goose egg. And, after looking over the past year, I realized I only had 4 ops sessions for the whole year. Ugh! :^(

But that doesn't mean I didn't accomplish anything in 2018. As I went back over my posts, I realized that I spent a LOT of time doing what I enjoy most in the hobby - research and tinkering. Unfortunately, neither one of those past-times result in much progress on the layout. But they do result in a better running layout (tinkering with couplers and decoders, for example), and sometimes even result in some unexpected opportunities:

And lately, there's even been some actual, honest-to-goodness, modeling going on. Yes, coming full circle back to the top of last year's list of goals, the little Cape Cod house I'm building will go across the street from John Wallace's house in Wethersfield - and will get me just that little bit closer to getting the Wethersfield scene done. Finally. After all these years. Might it happen in 2019? I hope you'll be as interested to find out as I am! :)

At the end of the day though, despite how motivating goals lists can be, we have to remember that this is a hobby - a great way to escape the stress that sometimes accompanies everyday work and family life. The last thing we should do is have it become yet another source of stress.

So, I am hereby going to break with tradition and not list any goals for the up-coming year. If 2018 taught me anything, it's taught me that life is short and time with family and friends is some of the best time you can spend. If in the upcoming year this hobby provides an occasional stress-release or, even better, an opportunity to spend time with friends, then that will be a goal well worth accomplishing. Everything else is gravy.

That said, stay tuned. I still hope to make some tangible progress on the layout - and even knock off some of those old bullets . . .