Well, 2011 is almost over, and in the last month my world had been upended faster than anything that happened over the course of the rest of the year. I lost my job, the wonderful owners of the Greek deli by my (now old) work are retiring after over thirty years in their incredibly delicious business, and the yoga center by my house is closing after what I can only assume were financial hardships brought upon by Groupon. All of this happened in December. Much of my old routine no longer exists, and, in a strange twist, my new routine is very similar to my old old routine — I’m going to school and not working. The only difference is that I will be getting unemployment while not working this time around (and my financial aid is a lot more than it was when I was an undergrad).
It’s a funny thing, to take a relatively arbitrary means of establishing time and use it to figure out if you had a good or bad time during that time. I’ve been alive almost 29 years now and every year I try to think back and wonder if I had a good time or not. I think I’m kind of an accidental Buddhist. A lot of people are stuck in the past, or fantasize about the future, but I’m pretty okay being in the present. So when I try to think back on 2011, I can’t ultimately say if it was a good year or a shitty year. Am I happy? Not really. My current circumstances are lacking in something that I don’t quite understand yet. But happiness isn’t something you should try to maintain for such a long period of time. People who pursue happiness like that are doomed to never see happiness when it arrives. (On the other hand, people who pursue despair find it in abundance. Funny how that works.)
Am I content? Yeah. Of course! I have a roof over my head, clean water, food when I want it, a delightful woman who enjoys sharing her time with me, and, of course, the internet and enough money to furnish my new computer building hobby. I have no reason to be unhappy in a general sense. Specifically, yes, there are aspects of my life that I wish I could make better. I wish I had as much control over my impulses. Being caught in the present makes for awful choices sometimes. I wish I could save money. I want to lose weight. There are a lot of t-shirts in my closet that I just can’t wear anymore, and it’s getting to a point where I can either buy new shirts, or lose weight, and I’d like to do the latter.
I also feel creatively stagnant, so I’d like to work on that. I have to just create things, even if they suck. Part of the process is honing your skills so that you get better. You can’t get better if you don’t try. Be prepared to fail. I have to be prepared to fail and possibly be humiliated. It happens. Welcome to the world. You can’t spend your entire life not trying to be the best you can be. The best for you, I should add. You don’t have to be the best for anybody but you. Don’t spend your life trying to please others, just please yourself and that will please others.
Anyway, I’ve thought a lot about this blog recently, because I started it three years ago in response to having graduated college and not having a job. It became an outlet for ideas and thoughts that were stuck in my brain. Over the course of time I moved to Portland, found a job, and became entrenched in the “new old routine” of going to work full time every day for three years. My creativity waned to the point of near non-existence; every February my FAWM1 output has declined, and now I don’t even write or record music anymore. Obviously these blog posts have been more infrequent, not because I couldn’t write them — I had the time — but because I didn’t want to. I had no energy, no desire. No passion. I spent three years making money, and I came out of it with nothing but money. I’m not really depressed about the whole thing, just more in shock: what did I do with my life? Why did I allow myself to stagnate? Why did I not grasp the multiple opportunities around me, in this bigger city where no one knows who I am? I could’ve done just about anything, but instead I took the first job I got and ran with it for too long. Again, not depressed about it. I mean, it helped pay for rent and food and water and warmth, and even more on top of that. It allowed me to travel back to Boise and see my friends, to attend concerts and movies, and to buy parts for my new computer. My job didn’t buy me happiness, but it did allow me to purchase things that would bring happiness. And that was good enough. For a while.
But! Now I’m in graduate school, and I have no job, and I hope that the money that I have and the money I will get through unemployment insurance will be enough to sustain me until I graduate. But since I have a little more time on my hands I figured I would make one of those New Years Resolutions and state right here, right now, that I intend to write more in this blog. Every weekday, in fact. Monday through Friday. Maybe even Saturday or Sunday! Who knows! Every day will have a different topic, cleverly alliterated for your enjoyment: Music Monday, Tech Tuesday, Weigh in Wednesday, Theatre Thursday, and Fiction Friday. Monday I will post a song or two that I’ve been enjoying lately; Tuesday I will update the world on my computer builds, or some new thing I learned or was interested in, etc; Wednesday I will update my goal of losing weight and getting in shape over 2012 (obviously I will weigh myself every Wednesday, hence the title); Thursday I will review a play I saw or read; and Friday I will post a bit of fiction that I wrote, whether it be a play, short story, or ongoing serial. I might include a Special Topics Saturday or Sunday just because I like to talk about video games, but there is no day of the week that starts with V (not in English, at least).
Yes, I am doing this. Yes, I am starting this Monday. I may even do podcasts for Saturday. Yes, I will be doing this while attending graduate school, so if I slip every now and then, it’s because I’m writing essays about Plautus2. But hopefully I can buffer by writing posts on the weekend and queuing them up. Whatever! I’m going to do it.
My three main goals for 2012 are the following:
1. Return to my undergrad weight and toning: 215 lbs (at least. I’d like to go further than this).
2. Write the aforementioned blog posts. Be on time with them as much as I can.
3. Be more creative. Write music, write stories and plays and poems.
And all I ask of you is to read, enjoy, comment, and maybe give me a hundred dollars. Is that so much to ask?!
Hope you all have a fantastic New Year. Let’s have some fun before the Mayan calendar ends and we all die in the horribly fiery death maw of the World Eater, Xtloclixtli.