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December 28, 2004  |  Resolutions  |  1475 hit(s)

It's been an interesting year around here. There have been some milestones, such as ...There have also been setbacks (hint), and if I may say so, as a consequence this has been about the shittiest holiday season I've ever experienced. Oh, well.

Time to look forward. I was talking to a friend the other night about New Year's resolutions, and how they are so often clichéd ("I'm going to lose weight!") or improbable ("I'm going to learn Japanese this year!"), and so often unfulfilled. Yet the impulse to draw a line and say "Things are going to change!" is strong, and the turn of a new year seems like a neat start.

Last year I made but one resolution, which was to see the Sleep Doctor about my continuing sleep issues, and this I did. (My problems are not resolved, but progress has been made.) I apparently made a mid-year resolution to do something about my weight, and made good progress on that non-New-Year resolution. If I wanted to cheat, I could say that getting a new gas stove, finally or fixing my low-pressure shower were fulfilled resolutions (barely by year end), but realistically, those were just tasks that were hanging around too long.

As an aside, I also joined a gym, basically as an extension of my weight-loss exercise program. There's just not enough daylight right now. I don't consider this a resolution fulfilled, as I'm still determining how this will go. But much to my surprise, I've liked it so far -- convenient hours (ie, late), a generous pool, some assistance from the staff with developing a program. While this might all seem normal to others, for me to willingly subject myself to exercise, and then to like it, is a novel thing for me.

Anyway, I'm bullish on resolutions at the moment, assuming I choose them wisely. My friend said that for her official resolutions she chose wacky ones that would be fun or amusing to fulfill, and she often did manage them. As for more serious ones, she said she tended to kind of sneak up on those, perhaps not wanting to write a contract for the scarier promises.

I've been thinking about this for a couple of days and I think I've got a few that I am (or feel) serious about. They are:
  • Achieve better work/life balance. I think I'm overdue for learning how to work to live, not live to work. When I was younger, I thought people who shut their computers off at 6:00pm and went home were slackers. I now realize they were smart.
  • Be more active. I talked with one of our editors today, and she made the stunning statement to me that "I'm too busy to read much." What!? Reading is the sacrosanct activity in certain circles. But she's right, I think. Reading is something you do for pleasure, but also to fill time. There are other ways to fill time that, for example, involve other people.
  • Spend less (!) time on the computer. A similar goal. There is much to do in life, and a great deal of it does not involve sitting in front of a monitor. (Or so I understand.) Computers have a way of eating time nearly as greedily as TV does. Aimless blog reading will have to go, for example. (I'm not sure yet about aimless blog posting.) Online magazines: out. I believe I'll unvolunteer to do the computer work for the school orchestra and jazz band next school year. Etc. I should probably put the computer somewhere inconvenient to help this goal along. :-)
I have other things I want to do this year that do not seem ambitious enough to warrant being resolutions. I'd like to cook more, and possibly take a class in Asian cooking, perhaps with my daughter. (After all, soon I will have a new stove.) Get the flippin' garage organized. Build some bookshelves. Travel someplace new. (Well, ok, I'm signed up to go to Japan as an orchestra chaperone, so that one's easy.) Practice at not screwing up relationships, he snuck in there at the end.

As I get older, the notion to lose bad habits seems more imperative; there is no endless future in which I will someday get around to it. Thus perhaps resolutions seem more serious for me now, and not just clichés. Life's setbacks seem more serious, as there is less time to recover. So however belatedly it might be, it's time for me to put things in order. Starting today.