A New Year is Born

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair”

The last 365 days were a whirlwind, both in my personal life and within the world. We saw heroes die and villains raised to power, but we also saw more prosperity and technological advancement than humankind has ever known. My life, as well as the lives of my friends, were filled with successes and failures, disaster and celebration. I mourned the death of friends and felt joy when my friends gave birth, I saw relationships end and new ones begin. It truly was the best, and the worst of times, just like every year will be.

In 2017, I expect much of the same. More icons will die and I will likely lose a personal friend or family member, but new life will come and the world will keep getting better. I’m not really one for specific New Year’s Resolutions, but I do see the value in ceremony and participating in a cultural event that is bigger than myself. Today is a new year, and that symbolism matters and can provide strength, and with that strength and the support of friends I want to refocus my life and seek to make 2017 the best year I’ve ever had. For me, that means finding processes that I can implement to improve my life.

Mental Health – To improve my mental health I need to continue my meditative practice which allows me to focus on the things within my control and ignore the things outside my control. I also need to keep trimming my Facebook feed and unfollow people who only share current events or politically charged posts. Politics and pop culture is beyond my control, which means I am better off ignoring them.

Physical Health – Every day I try and do one thing physically active. That is my only real “goal”, but within that goal, I have other interests I want to explore. I’d like to run a triathlon this year, and I’d like to explore physical activities that inspire challenge me. Yoga, rock climbing, and martial arts are currently on the top of my list to try out. I also want to keep eating healthy, cook more, drink less, and keep improving my knowledge of nutrition.

Self Experimentation – I am going to continue to experiment with my body and mind. This includes introducing new nootropics and supplements into my diet, as well as trying new things that have interested me but that I haven’t explored as much as I’d like, such as parts of my sexuality, skydiving, read more books, pagan spirituality, podcasting, theater, gardening, volunteering, woodworking, and art.

Writing – I try and write or edit every day. Right now my focus has been on my book, but once that is completed in the coming weeks I am going to start blogging more again. I also would like to take some creative writing classes, continue with the grammar lessons on Khan Academy, read more, and try to expand my vocabulary.

Fiscally Responsible – The less money I need, the less I need to work and the more leisure time I have. I want to keep finding ways to trim my budget and spend less money. I’ve done a pretty good job so far by living without a car, getting a gym membership at the YMCA, and cooking 90% of my meals at home. But there are still places to improve.

Relationships – One thing that I’ve been lacking in Wilmington is new relationships. It is difficult to meet people, particularly when I work from home and am fairly introverted. I need to start getting out of the house and trying new things to meet people.

So, those are my basic goals. The best process for me is an Excel spreadsheet that I mark off as I accomplish something in each category each day. Sometimes the accomplishment is small like I priced out skydiving lessons, but the process works for me. Any day where I am able to advance my health in some of those six categories is a good day. I find this method to be much more effective for me than setting goals like “Lose 10 lbs.” or “Read 30 Books”.

I’m excited for this next year and everything that it can bring in my life. Most of my unhappiness this year was due to things outside of my control, hopefully, I won’t fall into that trap as much in 2017.