Spring cleaning around the house earlier this year helped me clean out the house and get rid of paper and stuff. It also helped me pare down my personal activities, and jettison a handful of website projects and ideas for conferences.
I settled on these five priorities:
1. My health: I'm focused on a better balance of rest, exercise and diet (or RED, as my tai chi chuan teacher in Honolulu taught me 20 years ago). So, I've been getting into bed earlier, sleeping around 7 hours (up from the 5 or 6 that was my norm the last 10 years), running and swimming most days of the week, and eating more fruits and vegetables and less sugar. I feel good. (btw, one impetus for getting more exercise was watching Dave's biking last summer, and our ride together in Durham last July inspired me to take better care of myself. And I dropped off my bike today to get a major overhaul so I can use it more.)
2. My family: At home, our family meals are at the kitchen table and involve lots of conversation. Anna and Malia are learning to cook beside me more and more. It's summer, so I'm getting lots of time in the pool with the children, and Oliver is quickly learning to swim on his own. Erin and I have been able to take more date nights. I'm still not as good about calling my father, mother, brothers and other close relatives, but I'm trying to make more phone calls.
3. My work: My role as communications director at the Duke University Department of Medicine continues to engage me, challenge me and satisfy me. We're close to finishing our first annual report (a print publication) and will soon embark on a major overhaul of our 20+ websites to combine them into one site. Through work I am also collaborating with Jeff Polish on Voices of Medicine - Jeff was honored with an Indies Arts Award this week. (As the Indy article mentions, I put Talk Story on hiatus.)
4. My community: I spent the last 10 years facilitating local blogging and online science communities, and I'm proud of how my volunteer efforts helped create a new nonprofit organization, ScienceOnline. My role in this has changed, so now I'm learning how to be the chairman of the board of directors and a fundraiser (you can help by donating $20.14 today). I'm still striving to listen, to serve, to support.
5. My blog: Of all my personal projects and extracurricular activities, blogging has been an anchor. It gives me a way to chronicle my life, celebrate important moments, contemplate and understand my feelings. And being a blogger has led to quite a lot, including my job and ScienceOnline and Talk Story and Voices of Medicine, and more. I'm about to simplify the design of mistersugar.com, and will continue to use Fargo to explore the next steps in my blogging - and outlining - life.
I feel good about these priorities, even if I do still sometimes feel my balance teetering.