The following was written for my personal journal but, for the sake of transparency, I chose to share it here. Enjoy ;)
2016 was a long year for the whole family. The concept of jumping off the financial cliff with a bag full of savings is much easier said than done. Living every month knowing we are losings thousands of dollars because my full-time job makes absolutely zero dollars is tough. It may be even more difficult for Kate than for me, as she doesn't have the same vision I do. Despite this, she does a great job not complaining about me working all the time and supporting what I do.
2016 ended bittersweet for me. I'm glad to be on the edge, where anything can happen. At the very same moment, I crave security and an identity in my vocation. I think not being able to say I'm still a cop has been one of the hardest things since I left. I knew it would be. I'm self-conscious about what that means to other people, what assumptions they make when I say the words, "former officer." I shouldn't be, but I am.
I miss the job too, that's for sure. I miss some of my old coworkers and wish I was still there, by their side, helping them and keeping them safe. One thing this world will always be short on is good cops. It was hard to leave a department that treated me so well, knowing the officer who replaced me might not take care of those officers I left behind. It's something I cannot control nor should I worry about but these are the things I carry with me now. I just hope and pray that this current path that I'm on will do more good than the one I left behind.
The bitterness of 2016 comes from the identity struggle I just mentioned. I wish I was still a cop, but I know going back would just be climbing back into the box I originally broke out of. I would regret going back so I shouldn't regret leaving and I try my best not to.
Looking back though, there is a sweetness to the last year. I did accomplish something, although not exactly what I had hoped I would in terms of sheer listeners. Every quarter, podcast downloads doubled. That is a good trend I hope to continue. The YouTube channel went from rookie to decent and is almost at 500 subscribers. The one short video I did turned out great, despite having no help in production. There is a core group of serious fans that truly love the show, anticipating it's release every Thursday morning. I'm so grateful to those fans, many of whom have written much-needed reminders to me that I am making a difference. By every metric except income, the last year has been a success. So why did it feel like a failure?
Goal setting. I set my sights way too high last year. Don't get me wrong, I love ambitious goals, but not setting realistic ones can do much more harm than good. To be honest I had no idea what realistic goals looked like but now I do. This is why I'm here, writing this little journal post in a new goal tracking software. I must not lose sight of the big picture, of the progress that's being made every month. I am a task focused person. Just give me a job and I'll get it done. If I'm not careful, though, I lose sight of the grand plan, simply working myself to death, often in the wrong direction. Some say, "work smart, not hard." I say, "work smart and hard." I'm going to work smarter in 2017.
The future of Police Academy and of the Herrick family is unknown but confidently optimistic this cold January day. I know this path has not been in vain and the future will prove me right. By nature I seek the refiner's fire: I found it in 2016 and I am grateful for it. I hope 2017 will be a year of challenge and of harvest, but if the fire continues to burn, I'll be right there in the middle of it.
Do Good || Be Strong || Fear Nothing