I’m not discounting the irony of writing about my resolutions for 2016 when we’re almost halfway through January, but I’d like to think it keeps with the spirit of gentler, less scorched-earth aggressiveness of previous years.
I’ve always loved New Year’s Eve, even more than Christmas. It’s a good time to reflect, celebrate, and wipe the slate clean if needs be. Except I didn’t feel the need to wipe any slates clean this year, I am pretty happy, the same rules don’t apply.
I remember sitting with my friend Joe in 2012 and writing five New Year’s resolutions that would drastically change my life. A life that at the time needed drastically changing. We attached the resolutions to paper lanterns and set them free. I resolved to move to London, become more fashionable, work out 4 – 5 times a week, learn to meditate, and go to a yoga class. I handled those pretty well, apart from the learning to meditate and yoga part.
I don’t see them as failures anymore. I was tempted to include yoga this year, but I’m at a stage where if it happens that’s great and if I never do yoga my entire life I’ll be okay too. I’m done with the pseudo-Catholicism of New Year’s Eve resolutions where you feel like you spent the entire year being awful and have to atone for it the following year. I don’t need to drastically shed any pounds, I don’t need to change careers. I had an exciting and life-changing 2015 and I am in a pretty good place. These resolutions are just calling for a little more discipline and growth in my life.
- Write Every Day
My Introduction To Writing Fiction class last term was excellent, and I am going to miss it. I enjoyed the writing cues and weekly deadlines of one thousand word pieces of prose fiction. This term I will be have poetry and drama classes, but I am still resolved with prose. Normally, this would be a resolution about getting published, but I don’t feel that anxiety at the moment. I feel like I have a lot to learn, and I have learned a lot last term. I would like to submit to literary journals, but I think the important thing is to write every day. I want to keep a notebook, write fiction, and above all stick to a weekly schedule when it comes to this blog. The only reason I haven’t started this year is because I was busy writing essays, and I’m not going to punish or stress myself deciding between academia and writing a blog.
2. Be More Group Social
Out of all my resolutions this may feel the most like forcing myself to do something that doesn’t come naturally, but I don’t want it to feel that way. I spent a good part of my time last term feeling anxious because I had nothing to feel anxious about. That’s what a few years of retail management will do to you. You especially learn that you will have no real free time, and no way of saying “on Tuesday evenings I am always free, so I will join a class or group”. I’d like to join a writing group, go to a Quaker meeting, maybe that yoga class finally, or a Meetup group of some kind. Nothing to slavishly go to every week out of obligation, but just enjoy my free time and my life in London a little better. Even talks and tours in museums would be something very nice to pop into on my free afternoons.
3. Más Español.
I’ve been living in London for a few years now, and I don’t feel like I’ve given my Hispanic side the attention it deserves. Not that I’m in any danger of forgetting to speak Spanish, but sometimes I feel a little rusty, or I go back home and realise how much I missed my culture. So more reading Spanish books, watching Spanish films, listening to Spanish music and podcasts etc. I’ve already started reading Spanish-language newspapers every morning.
4. Summer Of Reading
I have four and a half months of summer with nothing to do other than work. If this year is anything to go by, I probably won’t have a reading list for the year ahead until just before the course starts, so I’ve decided this is the perfect time to read all those books I’ve always wanted to read and never get round to (then write about it). I’m choosing ten books to read over summer, although a couple of them seem like summer reading of their own, but let’s shoot for the moon. I’m still debating what books to read, my first list seemed very old white man heavy, but I’m determined to at least take a stab at Ulysses by James Joyce.
5. No Physical Book Or Comic Purchases in 2016
This is a case of not only saving money and space, but learning to be a little more streamlined in life. I listen to a podcast on comics and one of the hosts has a pile of comics so big he’s still catching up from around 2002. Yet he still keeps buying comics every week. What is the point? Everything is so readily available these days, there is no rush to buy something when it comes out, fearing you’ll miss out. I have books on my shelf I bought in a fever of anticipation, and some of them I haven’t read years later. There’s also books I bought for university I only had to read a chapter of, and I would like to read them in their entirety. There are books I would like to re-read. There are at least twenty books on my Kindle I haven’t read. There are entire libraries in London available to me where I can pick up books for free. So why buy books, only to have them sitting on a pile, taking up space and making me feel bad? Comics are also becoming increasingly expensive for a single issue that takes about five minutes to read. I can wait a few months and borrow the entire collection from the library or find it cheaply online. Unless they’re for university, or they are gifts, I will be purchasing no new books or comics in 2016.