When I did a year-end post last year, I focused on what I’d “shipped.”

This was based on a blog post by Seth Godin, and it reminds me of a quote I read in the Steve Jobs biography–“Real artists ship.” Essentially: you have to finish and deliver something. And looking over what you finished and delivered in the last year is a good way to do that.

And I’ve finished and delivered a lot last year and this year.

But this year has also taught me that there are many things just as good as shipping.

I would say that I’ve had three really big experiences this year, and two of them weren’t really about finishing and delivering a final product.

1) The Marinara Murders. The book is symbolic of my renewed goal of writing. In high school and college, if you’d asked me what I wanted to be, I probably would have said a writer. I’ve published three books to the Kindle in the last two years, and I’d like to get one or two up next year. I have hundreds of readers. Really. My novels used to reach maybe 10 people, so this is quite an improvement. That’s real motivation to keep writing the next book. I was very proud to ship this book.

2) The Election. June through November was probably the hardest I’ve ever worked in my life. The election, and my regular jobs as well, were all-consuming. It was a crazy time. I can’t begin to list how much I learned about the political process–and myself–while running for public office. It was an incredible experience. And to come out on the other side of it with a full term on the parks board feels really wonderful. But–what did I “ship?” And yet what a life-changing experience.

3) Speaking of life-changing experiences, this gets to the last big thing of the year, if not the biggest. And that’s the knowledge that come next spring, Mary and I will be welcoming a baby daughter into the family. I know I can’t fully imagine what that will mean for my life next year. But I can feel the changes in my thinking and there’s a lot of preparation for the unknown. And again, the biggest thing of the year … and not really anything “shipping.”

There were a lot of other great things this year, including some fun travel: two trips to Minnesota for the Carleton Alumni Council, two trips to St. Louis to see Mary’s family, two trips to New York City (including a week of actually living in Battery City), and short stops in DC, Redding, and Portland. Not too shabby!