01 January 2008

So This is the New Year

New Year's was built for people like me. First of all, it's a completely arbitrary celebration. Those who have seen me on St. Patrick's Day know that these are my favorite kind of holidays. I love an excuse to be exuberantly happy for no apparent reason. Second, if the holiday does have a purpose, it's setting extravagant goals for becoming your ideal person with no intention of actually following through on them. Again, this is one of my favorite pastimes--I've been known to make New Year's resolutions four or five times a year, simply because I've given up on the old ones.

Hmm, this sounds a little more pessimistic than my last New Year's post. Perhaps that's because this year has spun in completely different (wonderfully different) directions than I expected and predicted. Last year I set only one solid New Year's goal--to get serious about my writing. And while I failed at the specific steps I set for myself (submitting something each month, keeping a writing notebook, writing for eight hours a week), surprisingly I have accomplished that goal anyway, just not in the ways I expected. The biggest contributor to this was my study abroad program--the year's worth of writing intensive courses have forced my to learn how to write honestly. I've learned how to inspire myself, how to approach required writing in such a way that something useful and interesting will come out. I'm coming to see the wonder of every day things around me, to write about what I know and am. And I've come out of the experience with a few rather nice pieces.

Obviously, the thing that threw off the plan for this year was George. Gosh, George! But, no, I wouldn't trade that minor inconvenience for anything. George's family has this set of ten axioms called the "Busby Bylaws," their family mottos and principles. We've been working on a set of "Muir Maxims" to go along with them, and one that came to me recently was this: "Don't let the schedule get in the way of the plan." What it means to me is that plan and scheme as we might, we never know all of the things that the Lord has in mind for us. When something comes along, we have to be willing to drop the plan and follow His will.

All in all, 2007 has been the best year yet.

In fact, I think that should be everyone's New Year's resolution: make 2008 the best year yet.

But for the sake of being more concrete: the list.

  1. Write for at 15 minutes a day. This will be a challenge during the next four months which constitute my last semester at BYU. (Yay!) After that, it should be easier.
  2. Post on the blog more regularly. Here is where I'd insert a count of the decrease of posts from this year to last year, but a) you can see the counts for yourself on the archive list, and b) my in-laws' firewall blocks my blog, so I can't actually see them. But suffice to say, I'd like to improve. Blogging has been a valuable exercise because it forces me to polish my thoughts into a presentable form, look at myself in a more objective way, obtain feedback, and of course keep in touch with friends. No, I'm not going to set a goal of posting every day, since I don't believe in posts for the sake of posts.
  3. Read at least 25 books, outside of assigned reading. I figure 2 books a month is fairly reasonable. Hopefully this will make a dent in my to-read list, which is getting entirely too long.
  4. Get published. I'm being less specific than last year, but I've got several essays that my professor thinks could get published, and I'd like to continue to write more things of that quality.
  5. Apply to grad school. I didn't make time to do it this fall (with all the insanity of being newly married and taking evil classes), but I really want to continue my education. And I don't want to just fall out of the loop because I'm taking a year off.
  6. Find a job. My biggest fear this next year is being stuck in a job I hate. The job hunt is problematic right now since I'll be in Seattle for three months after I graduate and who knows what will happen in fall, but hopefully things will work out.
  7. Do 100% of my visiting teaching. Okay, so I haven't done my visiting teaching for about a year and a half. It's high time that stopped. I know that it's important; I'm just lazy and worried about what people think. Don't ask what that means.
  8. Keep in better touch with my family. As George and I are moving to Seattle this summer (did I mention he has an internship with Microsoft to work on their search?), I'll be living away from my base in Utah for the longest period in my life. I'm really bad about calling people on the phone or writing personal (not business) emails because I take the people close to me for granted. If I don't see them, I forget they are there. I need to work on that.
  9. Figure out how spices work. I'm a fairly decent cook, but I really don't use spices because they scare me and I don't know how to do it without a recipe.
  10. Wake up early, and like it. My inner morning person got lost somewhere on the way between high school and college. I used to wake up easily (no snooze buttons!) at 5:30 am for my paper route, but now I whack my husband when he tries to wake me up at 6. I miss liking mornings.
Notice no exercising related goals--I'm letting George take care of the running this year. It's his problem if I get fat. (This is called reliance on others.)


grettir said...

I'm looking forward to #2.

And does George know that you consider him to be a "minor inconvenience?"

Courtney said...

yea for graduating! I bet you are really going to miss school for the next year, but planning on going to grad school will probably make it a nice break instead of a sad farewell.
Good luck finding a job-- and let me be the first to tell you not to settle for a job you hate-- or you will be miserable for the next year. If I would have done it over again, I would have applied for more jobs that I thought were out of my league that I would have really enjoyed, instead of just applying for jobs I knew I could get.
And, I really hope you enjoy Seattle. I love Seattle!

Shari said...

Hi. I stumbled onto your site. It looks like you are very goal oriented for 2008. Normally, I don't do New Year's Resolutions. But, this year, I decided to chose from a list of Spiritual Resolution ideas.

Michaela Stephens said...

"Figure out how spices work. I'm a fairly decent cook, but I really don't use spices because they scare me and I don't know how to do it without a recipe."

Oo! Ooo! Call on me! I've wondered the same thing, and here's what I finally ended up doing to find out about spices.
I started with the simple well-known one - cinnamon, and I started adding it to various foods to see how I liked it. I added it to a large range too, like once I put it in tomato soup. The idea is to find out how the flavor interacts with various other flavors, so that you'll be able to predict in the future what results will be.
Then I tried a new spice and started adding THAT to all kinds of different things, just to see what how the flavor turns out. I went through an allspice phase, a thyme phase, a tumeric phase, an oregano phase, a curry phase... and when you find a flavor you like, you record it as a recipe so that you can remember.
Then you try out spice combinations. I recommend that when you try combinations you do it in small bowls of food, so that on those occasions that the result is horrendously barf-inducing you will only have to toss a bowl's worth, rather than a large pot's worth of food.

Also, don't get a bunch of spices at once. Get spices one at a time as you find recipes that require them and then experiment by putting those spices on a bunch of other things too.