New Year’s Hopes: 2012 Edition

Another year, another set of hopes. In case you’re not familiar with this series, my Hopes are like Resolutions, except without the resolve part. I’m not too committed, and therefore basically unable to fail. If that doesn’t quite make sense, you can follow the chain back from last year’s post and look at other explanations I have given. Feel free to critique my explanation as it’s likely changed and become contradictory over time.

But first, let’s check in with last year’s Hopes:

1) Be more informed and open-minded.

I feel like I succeeded on this one. I still only read The New York Times as my only source of mainstream media news, but I have at least branched out to reading the conservative op-eds that they have. That’s getting a different perspective, right?

More seriously, though, I think another good switch that I made was using reddit instead of Google Reader as my primary stream of internet content. Although reddit has its limitation, Google Reader has more: I was only getting information from a fixed set of sources that I predetermined to be of interest to me, i.e. similar to my own mindset and views. reddit is a strange community, and it has the mob mentality and young, libertarian bent that you might expect from an internet community. Even so, I have been reading content from many sources I would have never found otherwise, and I can read reaction to content in the comments on reddit.

2) Stay in touch.

This was less successful. I think I have done as good a job staying touch with people as I ever have: I usually try to round up a couple big groups at this time of year, but otherwise, I haven’t really reached out too often. Cold-calling is a little awkward, especially in a growing world of asynchronous, digital communication, but I should probably work to overcome that a little more.

 

So what do I have on tap for this upcoming year? I honestly contemplated not putting any hopes out there since I’ve recently been going through a weird zen phase where I’m trying to avoid planning and setting goals too much. Even so, I do have a few things on my mind that I would like to do, and I would be deceiving myself to deny that they exist. Hopes are just hopes anyways, right?

1) Write a book, and get everything done to get to that point.

I’m currently planning on finishing my master’s a quarter sooner than I originally anticipated, and although school comes to an end, I want to keep up with the same sort of things. For one of the term papers I wrote this past quarter, I ended up with a dozen different topics surrounding an issue that I thought were interesting, each of which could turn out to be an interesting chapter. While thinking through that, I read several interesting books and sources that I would have loved to spend more time reading as leisure. I’ve thought quite a bit about doing this, but we’ll see what comes of it.

2) Play a few more video games.

Specifically, I currently have 4 different role-playing games in my Steam account that I haven’t played, and I would like to catch up on those. Through college, I played a tremendous amount of Super Smash Bros. and found a few other fun things to do with my friends, but computer games, a staple in my pre-college days, were left behind.

I think this was the correct thing to do, but over the past month or so, I’ve been playing The Witcher. Although the gameplay is a little weak and monotonous, the decisions and plot were very compelling. Specifically, the moral choices are very complex. I’ve played many RPGs, and most have a good/evil split, with the “correct” choice being quite obvious. In The Witcher, nothing is clear: do you help the Order of the Flaming Rose, who is sworn to killing monsters, protecting humans, and maintaining order, but also is racist and intolerant of non-humans? Or do you help the Scoia’tael, the freedom fighters who believe in equality but have resorted to crime, terrorism, and hostage-taking to achieve their goals? I could go on quite a bit about some of the rest of the content, but it suffices to say that this game, for the first time ever, legitimately had me thinking for a minute about what the right response was in some conversation or decision. Perhaps I’ll discuss this further in another post.

3) Cajun cooking.

For the past few summers, I’ve had a goal of something that I wanted to work on with my cooking. I think the next goal I have is Cajun cooking. That probably means that my mostly vegetarian cooking will need to come to an end as I start using seafood and sausages, but we’ll see how that works when I get there.

 

I think I have more that I want to do but don’t immediately have in mind. These types of Hopes come up regularly, so maybe I just need to follow the thoughts I have in the moment. Let’s count that as another Hope, too.

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