The Year That Could Be

Out with the old, in with the new. Having spent some time pondering the year that was 2015, I think it’s time to move on, time to look forward to the new year and the possibilities it provides. In other words, it’s time to make a list of goals I’d like to achieve this year.

The Oh So Lofty Goals

  • Run. My health and wellness suffered in 2015, and so I need to give myself a swift kick in the ass here. For this reason, I want – no, I need to run another marathon this year. This goal is lofty, but clearly attainable given my past history. It’s going to require a lot of work, time, and effort – also known as blood, sweat, and tears – but it will be oh so worth it.
  • Publish. Specifically, I want to publish at least 5 papers. Given the peer-review system, this is going to be a big challenge, but that’s what minions are for, no?
  • Tenure. Sweet, sweet, tenure. I officially became a tenure-track faculty member this past summer. Here’s hoping that by this time next year, I can say that I’m a fully tenured faculty member. This is going to take a lot of work, but I think it’s within the realm of possibility.
  • Travel. I want to travel the circumference of the earth (or greater) for a third year in a row. I believe this is fully possible, especially with the level of travel I think I’m going to have. Regardless, anything can happen between now and December 31, 2016, so I’m still going to classify this as an Oh So Lofty goal.
  • Charity. This year I want to try to raise at least $1000 per month for charity. It’s not out of the realm of possibility, but still a solid challenge.
  • Finances. At 40+, I feel I should probably have a stronger portfolio, or nest egg, or whatever it is that adults are supposed to have at this age. The trouble is that I value experiences over money, hence the reason I travel. This also explains why I haven’t really done any upgrades on my condo, and why I will wear my underwear until they are nothing but a few strands of fabric loosely resembling the loin-girding awesomeness they once were. Or perhaps that’s because I’m a man? Regardless, I’d like to continue to reduce my debt, increase my savings, and ultimately give my net-worth a serious shot in the arm it deserves.

The Not-So-Lofty Goals

  • Write. I get a lot out of writing posts here. In many ways, writing helps me understand where I’ve been, where I am, and where I’m going. It keeps me grounded and focused, and I’ve clearly done a terrible job of writing in 2015. Perhaps this is why I felt that last year wasn’t as good as it clearly was. For this reason, I think I’m going to aim for at least a post per week here.
  • Travel. This isn’t so much a goal, as it is an essential component of my life. To me, it’s equivalent to breathing and eating. So regardless what happens this year, I will find a way to travel. It might be as simple as a trip to Elora or Toronto, or as adventurous as a month or 10 in Patagonia, Vietnam, Kenya, or anywhere outside North America. Bottom line, there will be travel.
  • Stretch. I’d like to blame getting older on feeling less bendy, but I know for me it’s because I’ve been slacking on my daily yoga practice. Will I practice every day? I’m not silly enough to say yes, but I’m also going to do my best to make it a daily thing. Because bendy Dan is way better than non-bendy Dan.
  • Read. While I read a lot of stuff for work, I don’t spend nearly enough time reading for fun. If I end this year having read one book for fun, I’ll consider it a success.
  • Choose to be happy. While I’m mostly a glass is always full because I don’t live in a vacuum kind of guy, I also know that the past year was punctuated with a shorter fuse, and days where I really, really, really wanted to punch a dolphin in its stupid happy face. I don’t like angry Dan. Or sad Dan. Or impatient Dan. And while I know that I won’t always be able to avoid angry or sad or impatient Dan, I know that I can – in those moments – choose to respond differently. I can choose to be positive. I can choose to breathe. And I can choose to be happy.
  • Grateful. This goes hand-in-hand with the previous bullet, and the bullet about writing. I need to take more time to stop and think about where I am, and where I’m going, and realize that I have an amazing life. I think I do a pretty good job of this already, but there’s no harm in making this a recurring goal for 2016.
  • Cook. I should probably cook at home more – not only because it’s the healthier alternative to eating out, but because it’s cheaper. Which means more travel. And travel makes me happy.

The Likely So Easy To Accomplish I Won’t

  • Upgrades. I really, really, really need to do some upgrades to my condo. And not the remodel the kitchen, or put in hardwood floors level of upgrades; I’m talking the paint the hallway or the replace the bathroom light level of upgrades. The type of projects that I can accomplish in a morning, or a weekend, but for whatever reason never do because, well, there always seems something more interesting to do.
  • Cook. I need to increase my cooking repertoire. This should be simple. I have eleventy-billion cook books, and yet for whatever reason I don’t really ever cook. And when I do, I just throw together whatever I have in the hope that it turns into something not only edible, but also delicious (or at least palatable). I need to domesticate myself a little more.
  • Purge. I presently have at least 3 closets full of stuff that should either go to the dump, or be donated. And yet every time I open their doors and peer at the contents within, I’m filled with a sense of dread that forces me to close the door and pretend the contents don’t exist. Out of sight, out of mind. Because I’m lazy. Or frightened. Probably frightened. Definitely frightened.

Will I achieve all of these things this year? Maybe, but life happens. New challenges and opportunities will appear. Some of these goals will fall to the wayside, either because I’ve opted to devote more energy to achieving something else on this list, or because the goal is no longer something I hold important, or perhaps because life will throw something even more amazing in my direction. New goals will appear. The important thing is that I remain flexible. It’s not about checking things off my list. It is about living the best life that I can.

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