New Year, New Hopes, New Dreams

Today’s post was brought to you by The Daily Post photo challenge prompt: New

December 31 is generally the day we gear up for evening festivities—whether they be low key or all-out crazy—and come the stroke of midnight, a new year begins.

new day, new smell, new outlook on each and every day (tangentially related to the post you’re reading)

New year, new you. New year, new promises made to be broken. New year, new dreams and hopes of a better person.

Around this time of year, like most people I’m sure, I have thoughts of renewal. This is the year I do this.

But it’s typically not January 1 that marks the new year of self improvement and betterment for me. Rather, it’s my birthday. Conveniently dated only a few days following the first of the new year.

As I continue in my late twenties, I think of the possibilities. The things others have accomplished and why I haven’t done the same. I am my own harsh critic.

And while I oftentimes feel I’ve been slovenly with my time, I remind and make new promises to myself that this year will be different. It’s a never-ending cycle. But I hold out hope.

There are so many things I can improve on. And by golly, this year will be the year I improve on them.

There’s a high chance of failure, but I like to think that failure isn’t really an option. Giving up is definitely not an option.

So what do I have in mind for my new year of self improvement and betterment?

Here are some quick thoughts:

This is more continuing what I’ve already started, but with a new mindset on my success.

Last year I made a commitment to make cycling a major part of how I move around. I’ve been more-or-less successful thanks to a workplace that is extremely bike friendly, and a very accessible trail that took me straight from my then-apartment to the workplace.

Then I moved to NYC for grad school and the biking didn’t happen as much as I had envisioned.

For this year I told myself that I will renew my cycling commitment, and travel by bike as much as possible. (Also, from my first four months in NYC, the train is kind of expensive…..) So unless the ground is icy-snowy, I have no excuse. I’ve biked in torrential storm-like rain and in ice-flurries before. I can do it again. But slower.

Much. much slower.

I also began strength training last year, following Mark Rippetoe’s Starting Strength program. It’s been an on- off- affair, affected by my move to NYC and trying to find an affordable gym. I found one that serves my current needs, so once I get back to NYC after this winter break, it’s back in that weight-lifting saddle. Of course this isn’t to say that I’m starting out the year horribly. I’m doing my training in a home-built gym in a freezing garage, which has a weird motivational factor to it… mainly wanting to get the training done so I don’t have to touch the freezing bar.

Reading More
I have developed an appreciation for books, and I’ve always loved to read. Or rather, the idea of reading. I have many books. And about half of them have bindings that remain uncracked.

This isn’t because I don’t like to read. Hell. I just said I liked to read. I love book stores, and the Strand on Broadway and 12th has become my unofficial favorite bookstore.

I decided to take on a serious challenge of reading—truly reading—as many books as possible this year. My goal isn’t to become the ultimate bibliophile, but I want to live up to the fantasy that I really do love books.

Then again, maybe it’s just that. I love to have books… awww man.

I have a nice “wishlist” of sorts going on at LibraryThing, so I know I don’t have a lack of things I want to read. It’ll just be a matter of creating the time and mindset of reading and not dawdling on the Internet.

books on books on books

Then I also have the added readings for grad school that will add to this challenge…

My first semester back into the school grind wasn’t particularly challenging. But I have a feeling that starting my second semester, things are really going to start caving in on me. I can almost feel an onset of claustrophobia as not only the courses become more demanding, but as the date of the MA exam gets closer and closer. Goodbye summer.

But one thing I’ve learned quickly, yet failed to have begun practically, is networking and having regularl conversations with those in my cohort, other doctoral students, my faculty advisor and other professors in- and out of the department.

I need to get out of my shell. There’s nothing more to elaborate on that.

And generally speaking, I’m not really a fan of these evening classes. That wasn’t something I expected, and had a hard time adjusting to. Hopefully it won’t be so bad this semester.

Exploration and Adventure
If you haven’t already figured out by now, I am an introvert of sorts.

I tend to keep to myself to the point where I basically don’t exist. But I’m not, by any means, a hermit. While introversion isn’t a bad thing, I’m pretty sure the level at which I master the art of being an introvert is somewhat questionable.

It definitely hasn’t helped my social life much. Though I did make a few new friends last year: my two roommates, a person in another program and one in my own cohort. Then two or three others that I talk to here and there but haven’t hung out with.

It’s much easier for me to trawl my RSS feeds and read the books on bookshelf than hang out with people. But by damn. I live in freaking New York em-effin City. There’s really no excuse to stay holed up in my apartment.

This year calls for exploration and adventure not only of the city, but in biking the city and photographing the city. And thrifting, coffee shops, parks, people watching, etc. etc. There’s so much to see and do.

And those are just some of the things I will be embarking on this new year of 2015, and a new year of age for moi.

This year will be a good year.



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