I've often spent a long time writing a New Year's Resolutions post. Last year, I made twelve, and accomplished about half of them: I kept a smaller varsity baseball team, even cutting a couple kids and putting the rest in a small JV team that someone else coached. I read more (at least twelve novels in the last year, probably more). I figured out something useful to do over the eight weeks I was off in the summer. I took classes. I spent more time with friends. I went to the NCTE conference. And I got that tattoo I've been eyeing for years. That's 7 of 12, which is pretty darn good. I didn't accomplish getting a girlfriend (but I dated a bit), I didn't take a trip over spring break (but I relaxed, which ended up being more important), I didn't pay off my car (but it's down to three digits and should be done by the end of the month or so), I didn't go to the movies more (though I wish I did), and I didn't lose weight or feel better about my health (in fact, this has gotten much worse.) And, of course, I did not quit the second job. The three of us who have been there the longest mused last night that last year, on New Year's Eve, we all said that it would be our last working. We'll see if it's true this year. I'm hoping to make it through Valentine's Day or so.
This year, I'll simplify my goals for the year, first by looking back, then by looking ahead.
What 2006 was to me:
1. It was the year that I went back to school, taking three MAT courses and getting on the right track to finishing my Master's by the end of summer 2007.
2. It was the year the team I'd been following since I was nine years old made it to the World Series after 12 consecutive years of losing, giving me more joy than I ever imagined it would.
3. It was the year my grandmother, a loving force in my life as I was growing up, passed away after a long battle with Alzheimer's Disease.
4. It was the year that I was able to regain some faith in the American voting public, which was somehow able to elect George W. Bush President in two separate elections.
5. It was the year I was given two new challenging, high-stakes courses, which made me feel a combination of two things: (1) important and trusted by the powers-that-be in my school because I was given these two high-profile coures, and (2) like a loser because I've got two high-profile courses and am working a very strenuous schedule that many would have refused.
6. My first year presenting at a national professional conference.
7. I'm definitely "fat" again for the first time since 2000 or so. I've been slowly gaining weight for three years, so slowly that I doubt if people who see me everyday notice, and I didn't gain any more than my usual rate this year - probably around 15 pounds - but several pieces of clothing don't fit and the doctor is telling me I've got to lose 20 pounds by March. This sucks, because I've maintained mostly regular workouts this year, but they haven't been everyday, and I have good weeks and bad weeks. I have somehow forgotten that I was born with genetics that prevent me from being fit and healthy unless I am working my ass off at the gym. Well, I didn't forget; I just got lazy.
8. My shoulder hurt me for much of 2006, which is related a bit to #7, depending on how much of an excuse I decide to make it (I can't lift weights over my head, which puts a serious cramp on workouts). I finally went to the doctor on Nov. 7, and have been slowly moving through the hell that is the modern American HMO ever since - an appointment with a specialist three weeks later, an appointment with an MRI two weeks later, and then another appointment with a specialist three weeks later, on Jan. 16.
9. Got in a pretty big conflict at school with a VIP, something I think has blown over for him but I still feel every single time I see him.
What I hope 2007 brings for me:
1. A renewed commitment to fitness and health. Daily workouts are needed to maintain this.
2. Finish the Master's. I'm well on my way - three courses, three A's so far - but it's expensive and the summer courses will be challenging financially. I probably should look into student loads rather than paying off that several-thousand bill on my own without any income coming in. But I don't want any more damn loans!
3. Get myself in the financial position necessary to buy a house: the car should be paid off, the errant credit card from summer courses paid off, and various other small bills taken care of. I wonder if I'll ever get in a position when I feel like I'm working for myself and not for others, but it sure would be nice.
4. Continue to read more: always have a book I'm reading that is not directly related to school.
5. Get my shoulder healthy.
6. Go to the dentist.
7. Go to bed earlier every day.
8. Grade papers quicker. I've been doing better lately; this trend needs to continue.
9. And, of course, quit that second job. I've worked far too much for far too long.
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