Monday, December 30, 2013

Closing, Closing the Year

The title of this post (the second consecutive year I've used it) comes from Stephen King's Wizard and Glass, one of my favorite books, part of his Dark Tower series and, among other things, a particularly fine observation of young, obsessive love. The line, likely because of the part of the tale in which it's used, has always struck me as romantic and melancholy, which seems fitting for this time of year.

Another Christmas has come and gone, and that's just fine with me. I love this time of year, but frankly, this year was just a little off. With Brandi working in Columbus now, she's been spending quite a bit of time over there. We're lucky that she has a place where she can do that even before we procure a living space for ourselves, especially given her schedule and the weather, but not having her around hasn't been much fun for either of us. I'm a loner by nature, so I can appreciate a bit of time to sit in silent communion with the Christmas tree and a glass of wine or whiskey, but I had far more than I needed or wanted. Then, on top of that, Brandi came down with the flu while we were visiting her family on Christmas Eve, so she missed out on those festivities, as well as those with my family the next day. She did feel better in time for the weekend, which was good, but now she's back in Columbus while I'm once again alone with the tree. And the cat, of course.

Next year we've discussed making new arrangements for our holiday celebrations. On one hand, it's nice that it's her family's tradition to celebrate on Christmas Eve and my family's on Christmas Day. It has always allowed us to do both. On the other hand, it's a lot of traveling (her family lives about 2.5 hours away), and for a holiday, it's never been particularly relaxing. And next year, with us living in Columbus, it would add yet another leg to any potential travels. So, while we haven't worked out the details yet, we'd like to change it up. It's hard, because holidays like this are the only chances we have to see some members of our family...and yet, as it stands, it's simply too hectic. We're hoping to travel to an exotic locale for Thanksgiving, at least for one year; we'll see what happens with the Christmas plans.

On the bright side, Brandi will be home by the time I get off work tomorrow, so we'll be able to have a fun (and, most importantly, healthy) New Year's Eve together. Hopefully with a friend or two, but we'll see how it shakes out.

Now, as for this new year coming up...should be a big one. First on the docket, of course, is unloading this house and moving to Columbus. With the holidays almost over, hopefully that won't take too long. I'm not looking forward to moving, not looking forward to leaving Troy...but I am looking forward to living in the Columbus area. We've really enjoyed the parts of it we've explored so far, and there are definite advantages to living in such close proximity to a major city.

Aside from that, there are a few things I'd like to accomplish. I plan to re-read all my Dean Koontz novels--I have a metric assload of them that I loved as a young adult; I have a feeling they haven't aged well, so I need to know which ones I want to keep (no force in the universe could separate me from my copy of Watchers) and which I can offload. Also, come hell or high water, we're getting at least one new car this year, and the sooner the better. Brandi's Neon wants to be put out to pasture in the worst way.

Beyond that...well, look. I've never been any great shakes at keeping New Year's resolutions. In part that's because it's hard to make changes, and in part I think it's because I've tended to take far too much of a macro approach. I say I want "to write more," for example, and come January 1 I'm all fired up. I sit down in front of my computer, my mind overflowing with possibilities--and that's the problem. I've got this great story idea. Oh, but I had that idea for my blog, and that's so timely...if I don't write about it now, I shouldn't bother. Oh, and I really should email so-and-so. Next thing you know, I can't decide what to write, and by January 3, that resolution is toast.

That said, I do like New Year's as a starting point for creating new habits, and thus New Year's resolutions aren't the worst thing in the world. For one, I just need to take a more quantifiable approach. And secondly, I need to revisit them from time to time to evaluate progress (or lack thereof) and adjust or recommit accordingly, so that they don't fall by the wayside just because I haven't revolutionized my life by January 10. As such, consider these my "January resolutions." That will allow me to start small and see how things are going by February, when I can hopefully fine-tune them a bit.

Write more: Yes, this year and every year. Always the best of intentions, always the poor results. So here are my initial quantifiable goals for this month. Number one, I'd like to write at least a brief review of each book I read. Number two, I think one blog entry per week is doable. And number three, I'd like to write at least 1,000 words of fiction per week. That should be no problem if I can sit myself down to write at least 2-3 times, but the plan is to start small. Let's see how that goes for a month, and if that number can be revised upward at some point, so much the better.

Get in shape: Let's be honest: I love fast food, and at this point in my life, I'm not going to stop eating it on occasion. I'm okay with that. But do I really need to maximize the amount of calories I jam into my face each time I do so? I do not. So I'll try ordering "medium" instead of "large" items. Also, for quite a long time, I used to eschew pop except on weekends; I'll try that again. As for working out, I'd like to hit the gym three times per week: two of those visits will be cardio-focused, with the other dedicated primarily to lifting. Again, if this number can go up after a trial period, that's awesome.

So that's what 2014 looks like from this end. I feel pretty optimistic. I mean, we're already moving to Columbus, so at least one big change is definitely coming. Why not take the opportunity to effect a few more?

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