Welcome everyone to 2009, which has come into this world with constant messages of optimism. There are a lot of people who could use some of that right now, and I will do my best to put some out there as well. This topic has turned into an annual event, but I’ll recap in case you haven’t read about this before. Many people come up with resolutions. Many people also fail in their resolutions. I think the term “resolution” has picked up some connotations because of that as people wouldn’t fail so much if they were actually resolved to change. Thus, I just hope that I do better than the year before and try to keep my hopes in mind.
So how did I do on last year’s hopes?
1) Read a book for fun every night.
By definition, a fail, but I think I got the spirit of it. Almost all of my friends lament the loss of pleasure reading because of school. I myself half-believe the excuses that there’s too much schoolwork and that reading for school is already enough. I know that’s completely not true. I, however, have gotten back into pleasure reading. Although I haven’t gotten around to “The Emotion Machine,” I did finish “Godel, Escher, Bach,” “The Emperor’s New Mind,” “Engines of Logic,” and a couple collections of Isaac Asimov’s science articles. Inspired by some movie-watching as well, I read “Dune Messiah” and “Children of Dune.” Count in more fiction that I can’t enumerate at the moment. But yes, I feel good about this hope.
2) Do something musical everyday.
This was a fail. Complete fail. I got very sick at the very beginning of this past summer, and because of that, I figured I shouldn’t be blowing my grossness into a school tuba. I was considering picking it back up in the fall, but that never materialized. TubaChristmas a couple weeks ago was the first time I had played in about half a year. Thankfully, most skills were still intact, but I’m not really inspired to continue to play right now. I haven’t played any other instruments, and other than an outdoor bluegrass festival, my musical boundaries haven’t expanded much. Alas.
3) Get more sleep.
Hard to say?
I don’t get less sleep than I did before, for which I’m proud considering that I am doing more. I think a regular night for me this past quarter was from 12-1 to 8. We would all like more sleep, though I don’t know if I would change anything more about that, other than fewer early classes. So technically no, but I’m satisfied.
The results are actually a little depressing, but I’m going to be optimistic! Here’s what I’ve come up with:
1) Beat Tom at Racquetball once
I’ve mentioned this several times, but one of the big things I picked up this past quarter was racquetball. It’s surprisingly fun chasing around a bouncy ball in a room with a racquet, with the added benefit of being incredibly good exercise. I picked it up from my drawmate Tom, who has played for many years and is far better than me. It’d be nice to beat him
2) Pick up my own project for fun
When I think about what I’ve done the past couple years, it’s been a combination of exploration and external assignments. I’ve learned so much about so many different topics being at college far away from home, though nothing specifically in great depth. Almost everything I’ve pursued in depth has been initiated by someone or something else. In high school, my biggest commitments were tuba, computer science, and Academic Decathlon. Note that all of those have associated competitions and extra-curricular groups. In college, I’ve done some research (in someone else’s lab), taught some (in a section-leading program with years of refinement), and learned about what other people have done.
While I’ve certainly enjoyed everything I’ve done, I really haven’t ever put a lot of work into something “just for kicks.” It probably doesn’t even need to be really innovative; it’d just be cool to do something. One of my drawmates built a potato cannon that we’ll occasionally fire. While I certainly don’t seek to draw inspiration from him (for unrelated reasons), I should do something awesome.