The New Year is here! With a brand new year comes a new opportunity to look back and examine how things were, where I stand now, and decide how I want things to change in the future. For a great many people, that means New Year Resolutions.
I’ve never put much stock into new year resolutions, though I think I’ve always made them to one degree or another. They get broken very easily, after all, and nothing is quite as demoralizing as failing to live up to your own expectations.
However, I think the key to solid resolutions is, primarily, to remain general. Specific resolutions are the most fragile sort, and are easily broken. If approached more generally, little lapses are not crushing and adjustments are more likely to continue to mean success. In that vein, I make the following resolutions.
I resolve to not sweat the small stuff. This is inspired by two things. First, I had to learn this at my Target job because there is just no way to zone multiple sections of the store in time if you feel you must adjust every item to perfection – which I do. Second, I am posting this blog post several days late because I just couldn’t get around to it due to other concerns – and that’s ok! As long as I don’t give up, what’s a little delay?
I also resolve to improve my creative output. I believe that creativity is my strongest asset, and I am at my best when I am exercising those muscles. To this end, I want to do more writing – not just stories and such, but also world building and blogging. I want to follow other creative pursuits as well, like game design, drawing, cooking – really, anything that can be seen as a creative act.
To make this goal more tangible, I want to make a sort of project list where I can keep track of my various projects and where I currently am on them. I also want to start a sort of “Creativity Diary,” either on my blog or on Facebook, where I keep track of what I’ve done creatively on any given day, as well as the creativity of others I have consumed on any given day.
I also resolve to improve my personal well-being. That of course includes physical health, as is typical for resolutions like these. I plan on getting back on the wagon in regards the calorie counting app I was previously using – MyFitnessPal. I also plan to try and exercise more regularly, but in doing that, Katie and I plan on getting a new exercise machine at some point – something that isn’t a pain to use.
Besides physical health, however, that also means taking care of my mental-health. Those of you who follow me on Facebook might have gleaned that shortly after the election I was not in a good place. I felt as depressed as I have ever felt since the dark days of my High school depression. In other words it started feeling positively clinical.
While my anger and fears from that time are still present and justified, I have pulled myself back from that oppressive cloud and I am in a better mental place again. Part of what helped me come back around was deleting the Facebook app from my phone and not touching it for several weeks entirely. While long-term Facebook avoidance is not an option for me, I do think that reassessing how I use Facebook may provide some mental-health benefits.
To that end, I’m going to be cleaning out my social media of the various organizations I follow and try to make Facebook more about connecting with friends and family and less about News and Politics. That doesn’t mean I will cut news and politics out of my life, of course. I believe that a responsible adult should be very aware of such things. However, Facebook is probably not the best way to consume those things. Besides, several of the news organizations/aggregators I follow, even when I agree with their perspective, like to use inflammatory titles and images, etc. I do not like my emotions being manipulated in that way.
That is why I am resolving to creating a new method for me to consume news. I want to determine a time and place when I will go through the news. Furthermore, I want to evaluate my sources, perhaps drop some and add new ones. I want to also add some different, reasonable perspectives that are different from my own. That may be difficult. I’m not adding Fox News, the Blaze or, heaven forfend, Breitbart *shudder*, because different opinions doesn’t mean crazy propaganda.
While I am not going to use Facebook as much of a platform for political stuff anymore, I want to be sure never to just suddenly stop being a voice for what I believe is right. I resolve to stand up to hate in all its forms. While this means occasionally making a political post on a blog or elsewhere, I want to make this more about what I can do in the physical world. I want to not just talk about it, but actually help out. Whether that means giving time or money to a cause, or standing up for someone being harassed in person, I want to make it very real.
Finally, I resolve to set aside time where Katie and I can have serious talks and plans about my future, and our future. I need and want to know where we are headed and how we plan to get there. I need to really think of who I want to be, and what I want to do.
Anybody who has been paying attention to the goings on in our lives over the past couple of years will know that we’ve had some rough years of change, ever since I lost my full-time teaching position at North Shore. I’ve managed to get by mostly by doing part-time work at North Shore, and then later my Patreons and my additional part-time job at Target. This has been a time of learning and experience for me, but it is also a transitory time. These things will not last. Complicating things, change is still coming. Katie will get a job and, depending on where that job is, our lives as they currently exist may be uprooted. If we want to start a family, we have to start being serious about it soon, as well.
If this is a time of necessary transition, then there is no better time to evaluate myself and my personal goals in life. Do I still want to teach middle/high school, or even at all? Would I be happier and healthier doing something else in the educational field? Should I pursue higher education and aim for a teaching position at a college instead? Should I pursue something else entirely? Can I find a way to incorporate my other interests into my profession? No matter what I decide, how do I get there? What do I do to achieve it? These are all only a part of the discussion I need to have with Katie.
I also have to address my Patreons. I have been irresponsible to them ever since I got my job at Target. I believe the key will be in a fundamental restructuring of them and what my expectations for them should be. This is something I hope to have an announcement for in the near™ future.
In any case, these are my resolutions for this new year. I hope this will be a productive year of positive changes and growth. Thanks to all of you who stop by to read my blog whenever I post. It means a lot.
To a new year!