Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Resolute (2013 Edition)

Percy is clearly apprehensive about the New Year
...or the fact that I'm smothering him. Hard to say.

Yes, I am aware that we are now racing through March and spring is well on its way, but nevertheless I wanted to write down my New Year's resolutions. I mentally formed these a while ago, around New Year's, in fact! (Fancy that.) Last year I found it infinitely helpful to refer back to my resolutions post as a means of checking progress and motivating myself to continue toward set goals when I felt in a rut, and I'm keen to continue that in 2013.

In true nerd fashion, I adore making goals, any excuse to write up a list, etc. That extends to New Year's resolutions. I liked what Claire from The Captive Reader had to say about this increasingly controversial practice, that she saw no need to form resolutions since she's already perfectly happy. And to some extent, I agree. I am happy! Still, I am an individual excited and motivated by the idea of improvement, especially self-improvement. Setting out to make changes for the better thrills me to no end. 

Really, I truly believe they can be great for the majority of us. They gear us up for new experiences at a time when most of us are feeling like we could use a boost. (For the record, I blame holiday treat overload for this effect.) Provided an individual steers clear of resolutions one loathes yet feels inexplicably compelled to make -- this is when many a gym membership is compulsively purchased then just as swiftly forgotten -- I wholly endorse the practice. Hurrah for resolutions! 

First up are my reading resolutions...

Read 45 texts. Last year I fell just short of my goal to read 40 texts, so I'm being slightly optimistic here. I'm perfectly aware I might not achieve this at all. And that's okay. Having my goal in mind last year often served as a gentle reminder to put down the remote control and pick up a book. It spurred me on or kept me going when suffering through a reading drought or in the middle of a dud. I'm setting this resolution with the view that it will provide much needed encouragement whether I meet the ultimate goal or not.

Get back to the classics! Last year I wanted to spread my wings by veering into twentieth-century and contemporary literature, experience the literary world outside my little box. I did, and it was great!

Come December though, I wanted to go back to my roots. I missed my crazy Victorians! (They still accounted for nearly 25% of my 2012 reading, so the fact that I felt their absence says something quite worrying about my psyche, I think.) The eighteenth-century was virtually abandoned, and I want to incorporate those writers back into my reading habits as well. It was great moving away from my comfort zone, but this year I'd like to refocus on my chief interests -- and make some major progress on my Classics Club list while I'm at it. 

Poetry and drama. In 2012 I pinpointed several new genres I wanted to explore and had great success in some of these, especially nonfiction. While I did read some poetry and drama, these formats weren't delved into with the depth I would have liked, so I'm reiterating this goal for 2013. After receiving some gift cards for my October birthday, I picked up some new titles under these categories: The School for Scandal and the major works of John Keats among them. I have no excuse to neglect poetry and drama this year.

Children's classics. When I worked at a bookstore I took advantage of the employee discount by accumulating as many items as my meagre paycheck would allow, and I collected some great children's classics during this time. 

I haven't read any of them. 

It's time to stop making excuses and finally finish The Secret Garden despite any distractions. Time to open The Jungle Book. Treasure Island. Peter Pan. Multiple novels by Jules Verne. Simply typing out these titles whets my literary appetite. Why haven't I done this before?

Literary nonfiction. While I made great headway in this genre last year, there's still room for improvement. I have multiple author biographies sitting forlornly on my shelves, accounts of my beloved eras or their monarchs, etc. that call for my attention. I'm especially looking forward to Claire Tomalin's recent biography on Charles Dickens, another recent addition to my library.

And now for my general resolutions...

Take a photography class. I've gleefully been snap happy lately, and I'd like to learn how to use the fabulous camera I received for Christmas. I mean, I kinda, sorta know how to use it...but not really.

Get published. I set this goal last year and failed, but I'll keep plugging away at it. To be fair, I have spoken at three conferences in the past four months and was accepted to present at another this summer. Progress, slow but steady progress. 

Fill up my personal journal. Blogging is a fantastic way to document life and its experiences, but I still need to make time to express those private thoughts and feelings.

Make time for cultural activities that make me happy. I simply adore museums, theatre, and traveling. The stimulation they provide adds significantly to my happiness. Basically, if I'm mentally bored, I'm miserable. Yet I often make excuses about why I can never make time for these things: I'm too busy with work, I don't have the money right now, there's nothing good around at the moment, etc., etc., etc. 

Enough with the excuses! I need to make it a priority. Progress has already been made in this arena, particularly with my recent visits to the ballet. I'm looking forward to more of these experiences throughout the year. 

Organization/Stress Management. Guys, I'm posting my New Year's resolutions in mid-March which speaks volumes. Organization seems to be my Achilles' Heel. Despite my best efforts, I always seem to be frazzled, stressed, feeling like I'm eight tasks behind. If I can conjure up an organizational system that works for me and focus on remaining calm when under pressure, I'll be more at ease in every aspect of my life.

Be Kinder. This is a lifelong goal. While I consider myself to be a fairly nice person as it is, I think it's useful to always be mindful of how I treat others and aim to speak and act with kindness to everybody, especially those I love.

I'm sure you're all much more organized than I am and posted resolutions in January. How are they going so far?


Reading Rambo said...

You can totally bang out Secret Garden in less than a day. Then it's done and read. It's not as awesome as The Little Princess, but it's still good.

Claire Tomalin's the shit.

Diana said...

Excellent news about Claire Tomalin! I also want to add her Austen biography to my library. In fact, I'm surprised I haven't done so already. Bad Austenite!

You've reminded me that I need to buy A Little Princess. It's on my wishlist!

Ashley said...

I'd say you are doing rather well with your resolutions! I made three resolutions for our family, but that's it. Poor health has dramatically affected the start of my year (more on that sometime) but I am very inspired by your post. Who says resolutions have to be set in January? As my health is beginning to improve I think I'll start my resolutions in April. And back to you - you are an inspiration. I need to hit the books! :)

Diana said...

I sympathize Ash. It seems like all my grand ambitions have turned to dust in the face of illness, work and family stuff (not that I'm melodramatic or anything). Let's share our invalid woes over dinner and/or treats soon!