Hello, 2016

Photo credit: “The last sunset of 2015,” taken by the author, on Mt. Pony, Culpeper County, Virginia, December 31, 2015, around 5:15pm.

Everyone makes resolutions on New Year’s. It’s a long standing tradition! And this year, I’m no exception. It’s also an unfortunate truth that most people’s resolutions end up being abandoned by mid-February. Usually because life and/or the universe has other plans that trump anything that came before.

But still, it’s good to hope, and attempting to improve one’s self is a noble thing to do, even if it’s difficult to achieve or maintain. Anyway, I’ve arranged my resolutions into groups, in order of priority.

Group one: Home and Hearth. These are the ones that concern me the most.

  1. Get certain financial things under control. Last year I inherited some money and a stock portfolio from my mother. This year I want to get that fully squared away and working the way I want it to be. That is to say, shift the money into accounts that will help set up funds for Caitlin and Michael to go to college, and provide Lisa with a safety net should something tragic happen to me.
  2. Write up a will. To the best of my knowledge, I’m not staring death in the face. But my health isn’t in top form, and things can happen. So I intend to have a plan in place for just such an event.
  3. Clear the clutter from the house. This isn’t as serious as the first two, but it’s a tall order! Our house is a mess, and it has been for quite some time. The reasons for that are long and varied, but it’s time for some changes, because it’s been giving me considerable angst. We’re actually starting on this one already. One benchmark I want to use is to get at least 1000 pounds of stuff out of the house, either by donating it, selling it, or just tossing it. Earlier this week 13 pounds of stuff was donated to two charities in Culpeper. It’s a start.
  4. Several home and yard repairs. I have a laundry list of things that “need to be done” either to the house or to the land around it, and a few of them are pretty big projects. I hope to get at least some of these done. If I can’t, then I’ll try to find a service that can help.

Group two: my health. Everyone wants to improve their health in some way. This is my approach.

  1. I want to lose 20 pounds, and hope to keep off at least 10 of them. Everyone makes this resolution, so why should I be different? I tried to make a realistic and attainable goal, though. Ideally I should lose about 30 pounds, but I’ll try for this more modest step first. If I’m successful, I’ll re-visit this one later in the year.
  2. Keep my average blood sugar below 200. I’m diabetic, so my blood sugar can be a problem. I am prone to spikes, and rarely have lows. Therefore, my focus should be on keeping my sugar below a certain point. According to my doctor, someone of my body-mass-index should generally fall between 120 and 180, and the closer to the lower end the better. That being said, I should probably aim lower than keeping my average below 200, which is technically high. But if my readings from the post New Year’s week are anything to go by, I need to focus on something attainable. Here too, if successful, I will re-evaluate the situation at a later date.
  3. Deal with some of my personal demons. If you’re a regular reader of this site, then you know I have issues with depression. In recent months I’ve been compiling a list of specific issues that seem to be the source of my overall problems, and I’m going to bring these to the attention of my therapist. And unlike earlier years, I’m planning to get aggressive about it. I had a few wake-up calls this past year, so enough lollygagging.
  4. Visit the gym at least twice a week. In recent months I let myself get caught in a lot of proverbial briar patches, and it had a negative effect on my mood and health. Visiting the gym will alleviate a certain amount of that. I’ve long managed at least once a week, so I’m now shooting for two. My doctor says I should be shooting for five, so this is another one I can re-evaluate down the line, depending on how I do.

Group three: Would be nice. These are lower priority, but if the opportunity presents, these are some other things I would like to achieve this year. These may fall into the category of “self-improvement.”

  1. Keep expanding and working with the square foot vegetable garden. The 2015 garden was more successful than the 2014 one, but I still have a lot to learn. I’m hoping to expand to a maximum of four garden boxes this year. I suspect going larger would become hard to maintain.
  2. The Pugh Cookbook, second edition. Some years back, my late aunt Mary Pat composed a cookbook for the extended family, and many of us use and enjoy it. In the ten years since, the clan roster has changed, and some new recipes have surfaced at family gatherings. If I can, I’m hoping to compile a second edition of this book (the working title is “Second Helpings”). I suspect that other members of the family will be willing to help me on this one. The real issue is time.
  3. Digitize some vinyl albums. I have a whole mess of vinyl record albums, and some time back I acquired a USB turntable to record them into digital sound files. Why haven’t I done this yet? Good question. This year, I would like to transfer at least 50 of them to digital. If time and opportunity permits, I’ll do more. If I’m really lucky, I’ll move on to the audio cassettes and VHS videotapes!
  4. Get at least one of my Solar Council stories to a publisher. I’m an aspiring, and frustrated, science fiction writer. The “Solar Council” is the name I use for my futuristic science fiction setting. By most accounts my setting is a “hard” science fiction setting, so it’s not always easy to work with. (My characters rarely “talk to me.”) But this year I hope to get off my sagging laurel and get one story off to a publisher. Weather the story gets printed or digitally distributed is a totally different issue. For now, I just need to get back into that particular phase of the game.
  5. Learn a new computer language. I used to do a lot of programming, but that was with the old style procedural languages. The paradigm has changed, so perhaps I should change with it. Java and Perl are two potential candidates.
  6. Get back on stage. I used to do a lot of performing, both as a stage actor and as a coffeehouse musician. I haven’t done either one in years, and it’s time to try it again. I recently saw an excellent stage production of A Christmas Carol that featured a number of people I know from both work and church, and the bug is back. So my first step is to revive my coffeehouse act, or at least get back into practice, and find some open mic nights. If the regional theater starts putting together another play, then that will be another option.
  7. Finish the Elder Scrolls III (Morrowind) game. I’ve been playing this awesome game off and on for over a decade, but I have yet to actually get to the official game ending! Strange, no? Thing is, I enjoy the world editor as much if not more than the game itself, so I keep getting distracted. I don’t hold out much hope for this one. But since it’s low priority, I don’t have to.

And there it is, my plans for 2016. How they play out remains to be seen. Looking back, I have a lot of stuff to cover, so it’s unrealistic to expect success on all of them. But I’ll do what I can. If I’m ambitious and attentive, I’ll post status reports here. So, who else has interesting resolutions for the New Year?

One thought on “Hello, 2016

  1. rjpugh says:

    Oy. Given how 2016 actually turned out, this post now sounds tragically naive, and clueless to the point of being delusional.

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