Happy 2019!

Got a decent amount of sleep last night, so I'm starting the year off right. Just went for a short walk to the mailbox to pay some bills and now I want to think about things for the coming year...and beyond.

I think it was Bill Gates who said "People overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years." I completely agree with that. In fact, I learned that around my 40th birthday when I decided to learn ruby on rails. I had very little programming experience and I recall that it took about four years for me to produce something usable. Now I'm still not a programmer, but in a pinch, I can put together something that can solve a problem for me. And that's all come from my few years investment in learning a decade ago. So while what I'm going to list here are my resolutions for this year. I'm also hopefully laying the groundwork for some longer term things that I want to do.

I'm old enough to know that if you set up good habits, it's much easier to "trust the process" and get to your final goal without being miserable. Most of the difficulties in life that I have are due to bad habits that are very difficult to break. Just look at all the people who fail at quitting smoking. I'm fortunate that I didn't take up smoking. But my bad habits tend to gather around eating. I don't plan meals that much, I snack a lot and I eat far too many sweets. It doesn't take a genius to know why I'm overweight. So my first resolution is the same as last year. Basically, it's eat more vegetables. (Quite frankly, this is a resolution for life.) But in order to track things, the exact goal is to eat at least on vegetable per day. I just read a book on eating and the ideal is to make 50% of each meal to be fruits and vegetables. I'm actually ok with eating fruits. I have fruit every morning with breakfast. I know me and it's the vegetables that I have an issue with. So I'm going to try a bunch of different kinds of things and cooking them in different ways. Hopefully, I'll find something that can be a go-to meal with vegetables.

My second resolution is probably quite funny, considering that this is being read on a blog. And that's to get away from screens of all types. I'm far too distracted when I work on my laptop. I always have mail open and immediately check any new messages that come in. When I'm at work, that's fine...it's my job. But when I'm at home, I need to start shutting that off. I sort of started this last year when I switched to using an android phone from my iphone. It's not as nice to use, so I didn't want to use it as much. I also deleted all (except instagram) of my social media accounts. And took all the apps off my phone. I can still check instagram, but I have to log into it on my computer. That's painful enough that I know I won't do it very often. My overall goal here is to be more present. When I'm visiting or talking to people, I want it to be about that connection and not have some electronic devices in the way. I'm not getting rid of all my electronic devices. I work in IT and knowing how to take care of them is my job. And I'm still happy to help people who are having trouble. But the random pull my phone out because I'm bored or am not enjoying the conversation needs to stop. If I'm that bored someplace, I should just leave and go and do something more productive.

Related to the previous goal is to do more with physical objects. Again, I started this last year with doing more DIY projects and I'm all for continuing with that. But this also includes, writing more in my journal and seeing friends face-to-face instead of talking through text messages. The journal writing has been wonderful. I've been going to the coffeeshop on weekends for the past few months and just thinking and writing down ideas. I usually just take my journal, pens and a book to read. Is it an expensive habit? Yep, I probably shouldn't be spending $10 on lattes every weekend. But I think it's very worth the benefits I get from sitting and thinking for an hour or two every weekend.

I pretty much do this a lot already, but I'm putting it down because it's very important to me. Bike more. I am almost always happy when I'm riding a bike. It's good for me, the environment, saves money...the list of benefits seems endless.

Fail more. This may seem kind of odd, but I think I've gotten too comfortable with life. In general, I'm not a risk-taker, but I think I've flipped to the too risk-averse. I need to try some big public things where I can look like a complete fool when they don't work out as planned. And yes, people will make fun of me for them for the rest of my life. That's fine. It won't kill me and perhaps I'll actually achieve a crazy goal.

The items above are my actual resolutions for the year and my life essentially. But there are some other things that I'd like to do or try, but I may not really commit to them this year. I'm putting them down just to note them.

  • meditation--though my coffeeshop writing is already a sort of meditation
  • yoga, tai chi or some other practice that will help with flexibility and focus
  • drawing or calligraphy class
  • try making a bullet journal for my garden and maybe some other projects
  • find people who are interested in the same things as me, maybe start going to meetups about stuff I'm interested in
  • do a 5k
  • look into shorter-term volunteer opportunities
  • do a metric-century (62 miles) bike ride
  • learn about being a landlord
  • learn electronics
  • get the garage set up for welding
  • try more difficult sewing projects
  • do more repair...look for a repair cafe to join
  • host people in my house more
  • read more books

I think that's enough. It's funny, when my mind is calm and I can focus, the ideas just seem to pour in. Yet another reason that I should always carry a little notebook and pen. Sometimes I need to write things down quickly.

Happy New Year!