– Ben Martens

2005 Year In Review

This is the third installment in my "Year In Review" series. You can head back in time to read 2003 and 2004 if you're interested.


2005 has come and gone. It's sort of memorable for it's lack of a major life changing event. For the past twenty-something years of my life, I've had something big happen every year or two. This year just  kind of slid by while I sat at work. I guess that's what happen as you get older. You work more, you play less, and time starts accelerating. While I'm thankful that no tragic events engrained 2005 in my memory, I also look back and wonder what happened to all that time. What did I accomplish this year? Well let's see…


Last winter was the first year I really took skiing seriously. I was on the slopes 11 different days which probably doubled the number of days I'd skied in the previous 24 years. Jay and I capped it off with a fantastic trip to Colorado. Not only did we get to experience Rocky Mountain skiing for the first time, but I got to spend some quality time with Chris. Chris and I have both come a long way from building those bike ramps into the rocks, but it's good to know that we can always sit down and pick up where we left off.


Springtime came with a fun decision. Pilot's license or motorcycle? I've wanted to do both for a long time, but I decided this year was the year for the motorcycle. The pilot's license isn't out of the question though. I figured I knew what the reaction to the motorcycle would be. I did it largely in secret only revealing the news once I had the bike in my possession. In retrospect I don't think it mattered much, but it was nice to prove to myself that I can actually keep a secret.


Two weddings kept me busy at the beginning of summer. The first involved an overnight trip across the country to the scorching desert of Tucson where it was about 300 degrees. It was worth the near death experience to watch Chris get married. I even ran into an old friend that I hadn't seen since my time at John Deere. The second wedding was Rachel's, and I now have a brother. He's a Settlers fan so I guess I'll give him my stamp of approval. The wedding was a blast. I got to play "crazy single older brother in a tux" which turned out to be the perfect role for me.


I played a lot more golf this year than I had in years past. Unfortunately, my golf game did not improve at all. Golf is probably one of the most frustrating things I do. I've played it since I was a little kid and even had lessons twice, but I never get any better. At least once each round I question why I even play, but the answer is always right there: the people. Golf by itself isn't all that great, but hanging out with friends for a couple hours in the sunshine is alright by me.


In the fall I headed out on a camping trip. The fact that we left while it was raining with a forecast of three straight days of rain should have been a warning, but it wasn't. It was fun to be out camping again, but pouring rain and near freezing temps are not fun. One of my goals for 2006 is to do more camping, but I guarantee it won't be done in frigid rain.


The year saw some fairly significant changes in my responsibilities at work. I became the unofficial team lead by default when the rest of my team moved on to other positions. It meant a lot more work, a lot more responsibility, and no extra money. We've hired a little and brought some more people on to the team so I'm learning how to divide projects and keep everyone busy. It has been a great experience and definitely a benefit to my career.


And as for that question that I'm always asked when I'm back in the Midwest, yes I'm STILL single. I had enough dates this year to keep things interesting, but none that grew into anything more. I seem to be the only one who is ok with that. Sure I'd rather be in a meaningful relationship than running around by myself, but I'm not freaking out about it. That's a whole post in itself and I'll save it for another night.


As I mentioned before, I did finish grad school this year. I now have a Masters of Science in Software Engineering. I completed my degree this December at Drexel. It feels good to be done, but it's also a little bit disconcerting. It's the last definable milestone I can come up with. In high school, I looked forward to graduation and heading to college. In college I looked forward to internships each summer and graduating. Then it was off to Lockheed where I couldn't wait be finished with the ELDP program. Then I started grad school and I had a completion date in mind that I was working for. What's the next major goal? A wife and kids? A new job? Retirement? Those are all pretty vague goals without solid dates. Now that I'm done with school, I need to find a new way to set goals and work toward milestones.


Thanks to all of you who visit my site. I've had a website since 1996 and a blog since 2003, but in this past year I've really started to see some increased interest. I've said previously that I do this for my own personal benefit and it doesn't really matter if people read or not. I suppose there is some truth to that. There is a lot of therapeutic benefit in this for me, but it's encouraging when I look at those statistics and see how many of you are reading. Plus I really enjoy the interaction with you and the great people I've met just by writing on this site.


2005 was a year of friendships for me. Some were old, and some were new, but they all made the year rewarding. I don't know if 2006 will bring any of those major life changing events that 2005 lacked, but it's comforting to know that I'll have some great friends experiencing it all with me.