Last year, I bid farewell to 2013 with the a wish that 2014 would be better.
In some ways, especially for me personally, it has been. The best news, of course, is that Red Molly and I got engaged back in November. I don’t know if I shared that with y’all before.
In a close second is the fact that I got hired on permanently at my day job, after years of nomadic temping. For the first time in a long time, it feels like my resources are growing instead of dwindling. The fact that I can now take days off without counting the money I’m not making is a nice bonus. It’s…a bit frustrating to have to start preparing for retirement as I approach middle age, but even in that I know I’m one of the lucky ones.
In a very close third (almost neck-and-neck with number two) is the fact that Red Molly got a new job, one that is better in every way than the one she had. Better working environment, better pay, better location – that location is key to plans for the future. Now that her commute is more reasonable, we can start making plans to move to Brooklyn, thus creating a situation where we don’t have to travel ninety minutes to visit our friends, nor they us (nor me to visit Coney!). But that’s going to take more than one year to set up. Stay tuned.
But for all the good that’s been going on in my life, I have to say that the world as a whole doesn’t seem to be doing as well. I’m sure most of you are aware of the various forms of Hell that have descended on this year, but I must say that I was particularly disappointed with my fellow Americans on Election Day. I mean, really, people? The lowest voter turnout in 72 years? Losing is bad enough, but are you going to just sit back and forfeit democracy?
Anyway. This year, unlike last year, I have some resolutions. Most of the people I know who’ve voiced an opinion on resolutions lately seem to consider them a waste of time. But these aren’t a bunch of Grand Unified Theory promises that I can’t hope to keep. These are small, simple changes that, if followed until they become habit, will pay off large dividends. Some of them, I’ve already started:
1) To focus on one writing project at a time, and work only on that project until finished, rather than dividing my efforts among many, so that none are ever finished. For the purposes of this resolution, each individual chapter of a longer work (such as a novel or novella) shall be considered a single writing project. (I have already begun to follow this resolution.)
2) To stop wasting my time and energy arguing with people who are wrong on the Internet. I have already drastically cut back on this, but it’s time to go cold turkey. That time and energy needs to go into something more productive. This does not mean the end of socially conscious posts at this blog, or any discussion involved with them. But it’s time for me to stop reading the comment sections on news sites.
3) To meet up with my Brooklynite sister at least once a month, a habit that we had for several years (particularly my Lonely Years, between College Sweetheart and Red Molly), but which we stopped doing for some reason.
4) To stop being so damn solipsistic about my blogging. There’s a whole community of horror and fiction bloggers out there, and I’ve neglected it in favor of spending all my time reading about politics. I need to start reading, commenting, and reblogging other fiction bloggers.
5) To improve my health program. This is the one that’s going to be the most work, and has the greatest chance to fail. Right now, I’m caught in the infamous yo-yo cycle of weight loss: I lose 20 – 30 pounds in the early part of the year, then it’s all back by the following Christmas. All of the heavy eating around the holidays has something to do with that, but it wouldn’t be as much of a factor if I hadn’t gained much of that weight back already. Part of the problem is that, while my workout program never stopped entirely, it became more erratic as the year went on, especially when two occasions of machine breakdown and one of tendonitis got me out of the regular habit. I’m hoping that turning my run into a power walk will help prevent breakdowns in both the machine and my body, and will be easier for me to maintain. The other side of the coin is food: Lean Cuisines (and similar weight-loss meals) help me lose a lot of weight fast, but like the classic diet, it means being hungry all the time, which is very hard to sustain. Worse, their huge amounts of sodium aren’t really good for someone whose family has a heart health history like mine. I need to get back on the Lean Cuisines for a while to knock my weight back down to something safer, but once that’s done, I need to think of a way to do lunch that won’t pack on the pounds again. Right now, I’m thinking about packing myself salads at home. I tried the cafeteria’s salads, but after a few too many afternoons where they did bad things to my stomach, I began to wonder about the ingredients. In any case, I may very well resume my weekly Health Journals to help me keep track.
Now then. That’s finished. Time to sing down the old year, as I did last year, and shout in the new.
First, a celebration of the friends and family that I’ve spent all the old years with, both those who I hope to share many new years with, and those who’ve gone on before me:
And finally, my now-traditional song for singing down the old year and shouting in the new. The old year is burning down, only embers left. A bright new dawn is coming, one that may be a cleansing fire – and maybe that would be for the best. Either way, time to face it.
Happy New Year to all. May it be better than the last.