2011: changes made, resolved or on accident
- Four big books read: Bone, Les Miserables, The Lord of the Rings, The Hunger Games Trilogy
- More cooking, thanks to being without a meal plan in Edinburgh. Learned recipes like coffee cake, pineapple teriyaki chicken, vegetarian fried rice, and pasta a-plenty.
- Exercise innovations: barefoot running, kettlebell routines, eschewing exercise machines.
- More non-school writing: journaling, a few attempts at stories, lots of articles in the Collegian.
- Random: studying standing up, throwing theme parties (CMA Awards Watch Party, Jay-Z’s birthday party), writing more music.
Katie has written eloquently about why she loves new year resolutions and how she makes hers: not an “an extensive list with lofty, impossible to achieve wishes,” but goals that are a product of reflection, appropriately done at a time of year when we stop and notice how things have changed (one year ago today, I landed in Edinburgh for a five-month adventure under the guise of “studying”).
Amy’s “Directions in Which to Lean in 2012” are not the kind of thing you have to do every day: eating less meat, watching less TV, beginning to compost, etc.
What daunted me about new year resolutions as a child and kept me from the practice was the notion that resolutions had to be made on 1 January, and if you didn’t stick to them every single day, you failed. Intimidated as I was by resolution-making, I stayed away from the business and missed out on what could have been some healthy introspection and intentional efforts at growth.
The reading challenges changed everything. With Amy & Katie, I read 52 books in the 52 weeks of 2010, and then four 1,000-page books in the four seasons of 2011. Finally—a resolution that I didn’t have to worry about every single day, and that I could gradually decide on as January went on. Plus, the books I read were generally rewarding, and there were several that I wouldn’t have read without the challenge (like Les Miserables, the only book that has ever made me cry).
So this year, I’ll be doing 12 in 12; I don’t know what its parameters are yet. Right now it’s 12 “substantial” or “worthy” books in 12 months. It remains to be decided whether or not I’ll introduce a floor on page numbers or genre-specific goals (e.g. 2 Christian, 2 economics, 1 biography, 1 mystery, 1 graphic novel, 1 Shakespeare, etc.). For now, I’ll be reading Jacob’s Room by Virginia Woolf with Annie Paige (it’s free for Kindle).
With 52 in 52 and 4 in 4, I never bothered with making sure that each book corresponded to a particular week or season. With 12 in 12, I will. That way I don’t get a bunch of reading done over spring break and then ditch books for a few months because I can.
I’m thinking about other “directions in which to lean in 2012”—I’ll post them once my thoughts have coalesced.