Brand New

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Happy New Year, everyone! Today also happens to be my blog's second birthday. I hope you all had a good New Year's Eve and feel ready and excited about the upcoming year (and not too hungover). If you didn't already know, I love fresh starts and the feeling of endless possibilities. It's kind of silly, really, because every day, every minute and even every second is really a new opportunity to start something or become the person you've always wanted to become, but there's just something about a new calendar year and a collective hopefulness.

I long ago stopped making New Year's resolutions, but I still make lists of things I'd like to accomplish within a year's time. I don't think I did too well with my list from last year ... I did finish the "Harry Potter" series and visit Australia and New Zealand, and I made a greater effort to read. Other than that, none of my goals were completed (take the GRE, finish drafts of my stories/novels, finish reading "White Teeth").

Here's a new list to work on over the next 12 months:

Take a photograph a day using Hipstamatic
I love this iPhone app ... I've had it for years and have been adding paks to it in intervals, but I always forget to use it (mostly because the photos have to be taken in-app). I've spent at least $10 on the paks so I resolve to use it more often this year!

Finish not only "White Teeth" but also "On Beauty" by Zadie Smith
For reals this time.

Write in my journal every day
I used to do this, religiously. I can even remember the day I started writing in my journal on a regular basis: January 27, 1998. I have piles and piles of journals to show for it. But by the time I entered college, the entries started tapering off because I felt I didn't have enough time, and frankly, not enough was "happening" in my life to keep a daily chronicle. Looking back, those middle and high school entries weren't about anything important -- the number of times I'd passed my crush in the hallway, what I'd said, what I wished I'd said ... Backstreet Boys appearances on television and occasionally thoughts of a bigger picture, and the future. There was a time, maybe in about 2008 or 2009, when I started to write again on a daily basis, but since I've returned from Taiwan, it just hasn't been happening. I'd like to start keeping a record of my thoughts again, because I think I've grown a lot since 1998, and I'm constantly questioning life and making small discoveries about how to better handle things.

Learn to better manage stress
Ever since visiting the hospital and seeing how fast my heart rate can be on the heart monitor, I've been more aware of my heart rate and stress levels. I did a little research and have been seeing a lot of mentions of the benefits of meditation, particularly a technique called "transcendental meditation." Apparently it's quite easy and involves repeating a two-syllable word over and over again until you are focusing only on those two sounds, for 15 to 20 minutes a day. I can do that, right?

Finish a draft of a story
Any story. I've had at least 3 story ideas floating around in my head for years and years and have made starts on many of them, but I haven't completed a draft I'm happy with yet.

Write a song
I've been toying with my Casio keyboard for a few years now, writing bits and bobs of beginnings of songs, but I struggle with the choruses. As in ... I don't think I've successfully written a chorus, ever, but plenty of verses and bridges. I find this amusing, because I think for most people, the chorus comes first. This is the year!

And as always, the health and mental health upkeep ...
Exercise regularly, eat more healthily, sleep more ... be more focused, and be more positive.

What are your goals for this year?

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