Looking back at 2011 and wondering how I got to this place, cause that journey was pretty fun

Published 2011-12-29

For the first time in my nine years with Lee Enterprises my annual review falls inside the tidy boudaries of the calendar year. This means I finally stand a decent chance of escaping the Pavlovian responses to August and September, and find my sense of a “new beginning” coming when the calendar flips to January.

So, as I look back at my first year with madison.com (ok, 11 months) it’s difficult to separate some of the personal goals I had for 2011 from my professional goals. And maybe because on the whole, I’m left feeling that while I “scored” very well in achieving what I wanted to personally, my “scores” lacked quite a bit – by my standards – in the professional arena.

Still, there are inklings and hints as the calendar flips to 2012, that the two areas may once again start blending together.

So, what did I set out to accomplish for myself in 2011? How did I score?

Of these, it feels really good to know that I can bascially cross everything off my list except for playing guitar and singing at the same time – my neighbors are probably very happy that this didn’t happen – and recording a spoken-word piece.

But I quit smoking straight up -- well, save for a few here and there at certain times and in certain places, and though I didn’t do much with my old writing, but I stared at it enough to know what is there and what might be possible, and I combined some of that with my want to learn more javascript to create a short story presentation.

And I don’t know if I wrote something each week, but I think I came close thanks to some opportunities – unforeseen when setting goals in January – that came my way and opened so many other doors and allowed me to accomplish other goals.

Seriously need a google map layer of the 111 congress. Anyone have any bright ideas?

— Jon Davenport (@JonDavenport1) March 28, 2011

For instance, I don’t think it’s a stretch to think that a single tweet from a Lee Enterprises colleague sent me off into a world of Google Fusion Tables and Google Maps API, which provided my a reason to learn javascript and allowed me to learn from John Keefe and others, and turned me onto to the power of tweeting shop with a host or really smart journo-techs, and left me wanting to foster a similar discussion within Lee Enterprises, so I got a company blog to share what I had been learning, and then found out about a little meetup in Chicago where folks would be brainstorming ideas for a project call the Knight-Mozilla MoJo Innovation Challenge, and so I submitted an idea – one of more than 300 that were submitted – and it was selected to be part of a learning lab with 59 other people, and so I submitted a final project for the lab, and that got selected for the next phase which took me to Europe for the first time where I met so many wonderful people that have shaped my thinking about journalism and the web for the better part of six months now, and so I have sought out ways to share that thinking with Communication students at the university I attended -- and as byproduct learned that I'm 12 credits short of an associate's degree, or three total semesters short of getting that elusive four-year degree -- or through fostering a discussion with Lee Enterprises colleages.

And if reading that paragraph felt a bit disorienting, living it was a bit more so. Trust me.

So what does 2012 hold? What do I want to accomplish? I aim to write that up later this week, after I finish my performance review. But I’m left feeling the list might include things that you can't link to on the internet. Character traits seldom have web pages.