2011 draws to a close today, and for the first time in a long time, the farewell I bid the passing year is a fond one. I know it's been a hard year for many of us, and certainly, in the Big Picture, there have been grim tidings and outright catastrophes. I hope 2012 is better for every one of us.
On the small scale, on the personal scale ... 2011 has been a good year for Your Obedient Serpent. I haven't mentioned it often, but I finally landed full-time work that taps at least some of my science background, and while there were a few rough patches mid-year, I think I've settled in solidly now. Better yet, it looks like I'll be getting to do even more sciencey stuff in the upcoming year.
As for me, personally ... well, as Gloria Gaynor once sang, 2011 was the year that "I grew strong, and I learned how to carry on." I'm not the person I was, and for the first time in a long time, it feels like I'm starting to become someone I want to be.
So ... thank you, 2011. I know you won't be hearing that from many people, but you did right by me.
As for the Shape of Things to Come:
If the theme for 2011 was Crawling from the Wreckage, then 2012 is Building from the Wreckage. I've found my place to stand, precarious as the footing might be (it is on a pile of wreckage, after all); now it's time to get my levers into place and see if I can move the world, just a little.
Really, it comes down to Extropy, and the Extropian Ideal: Live your life to improve the human condition ... starting with the local human. I'm still assembling a solid foundation for Maslow's Pyramid, but I can at least start sketching out the higher levels.
So, here's the Outline for 2012. If you don't like calling them "Resolutions", think of it as a "To Do List" ...
I. Reduce internal rates of entropy.
- Eat better. 2011 was something of a dietary disaster; long commutes combined with eating out for lunch every day had a significant impact on my physical condition. I've got a head start on that already; I've been taking my lunch to work at least three days a week since the end of November. I've found the Healthy Choice frozen dinners are tasty, satisfying, well-balanced and inexpensive; it's no great effort to pick up four or five on the weekend, shove them into the freezer, and take them to work.
- Get in shape. I'm a firm believer in the premise that what you eat (or even how much you weigh isn't as important to your overall health as what you do, and how much of it. I started my life as a working adult in physically positions, and never quite mastered the idea of exercising on my own time. Still, I don't think eating out five days a week had nearly the negative impact on my health that losing the opportunity to walk three to five miles a day to the commute did.
- A big, shiny gym is about to open up right around the corner from my current abode -- and I already have a membership. I've done a brief workout in their temporary facility, and by the time the main building opens up next weekend, my rotator cuff should have mostly recovered from it!
- At the end of 2010, I did an internship with the San Jose Open Space Authority, doing GIS work. I was just about to start branching out into more general Land Steward projects when I landed the New Job and started falling into a coma most weekends. I've adjusted well enough that I need to get back and get going with them. Beyond the fact that time in an environment with more fractals than right angles is immensely beneficial to my mental health, I find it hard to take gym work seriously. Real health, real fitness, and real muscle tone comes from real work.
- Control My Weight. Yes, that's distinct from either of the above; my weight goals are secondary or tertiary to blood numbers and general sense-of-well-being. At the moment, my penciled-in weight goal is to get back down to where I was when I started this job back in FEB 2011. Long-term? Once I get there, I can think about what it'll take to push back down under 200.
The idea is to control my weight; people who focus on losing weight tend to do unsustainable things like "go on a diet" instead of establishing a sustainable diet that will let them maintain their preferred weight levels indefinitely
II. Reduce entropy in my personal environment.
- Declutter. My personal quarters in thoughtsdriftby's house are ... um ... catastrophic. I had hoped to get a head start on that over the holiday break, but I spent those PTO days recovering from a virus my mother brought up from San Diego. Still ... I need to go through what's here, sort clothing out to give to charity, move some things to storage, move some things out of storage ... you know the drill. Better start doing some of that in the evenings, because my weekends are kinda booked for the rest of January!
- Save money. Again, I'm getting a head start on that, though a sudden influx of medical bills from October's little adventure in chest pain had an impact on my cushion -- just in time for the holidays, and more importantly, Further Confusion!1 I consider financial matters to be extremely private, so I'll just leave it at that.
III. Reduce entropy in my local environment.
- This gets back to the Open Space Authority again, for starters. Once I feel I've got a handle on that, I'll find other ways to become more involved in my local community and ecosystem.
IV. Be more creative!
- Host an RPG Campaign. Again, progress is made; I have a cast of PCs, at least a year's worth of adventure scenarios in my head, and a ridiculously fanficcy and overdetailed campaign setting with notes going back as far as the Big Bang. Again, the virus interrupted my intention to finish everyone's PC over the break, but despite that, the first session should be in late January or early February.
- I've had enough people express at least passing interest that I may find a venue to share setting notes, PC write-ups, and game summaries with my loyal readers. Any good suggestions for a free wiki host?
- Finish the story I've been working on. It's a silly little piece of fluff that probably won't get shared with the world at large, but it's good practice.
- With that story under my belt, I'm going to turn my attention to my Magnum Opus, a sword and sorcery series I call The Rune Star Tapestries. It has dragons! And nagic! And ninja pirate dinosaurs FROM SPACE!2
- Draw?'Nuff said, really. Too many years of rust.
- Get Back on Second Life. Yes, that was creative, as well as an enormous time sink. I was on my way to developing some pretty decent building skills, and I enjoyed it.
That seems like a good start.
Again, my best wishes to all of you, and I bid you all joy and hope for 2012.
1 Yes, I am entirely cognizant of the irony involved with medical bills disrupting my resources for this year's con. As if I wasn't already nonplussed about the inexplicable and disturbing hospital theme ...
2 Yes, I was fourteen when I first created those characters and came up with the title. Shut up. It's still epic.