2017: A New Beginning

A new year is like the first page of a new book: full of promise, optimism, and grand hopes for a happy ending. With that in mind and the depressing 2016 over, I’m glad for a new year and one where my entire life is in a state of upheaval and change. I’ve graduated from college and am applying to graduate programs that might require moving more than thirty minutes away from my mother. The Captain is planning on enlisting with the Navy and could be out and about saving the world for most of the year. We honestly don’t know where we’re going to be at the end of this year but, instead of being afraid, I’m excited by the prospect.

With that in mind, I made up my usual (long) list of resolutions in the hopes of getting at least half of them done.

  • I’m going to apply to grad schools and my back-up program if it’s needed. I’ve already submitted two of my three applications so this one is almost completed, but I’m waiting to hear back from the MFA programs before I apply for a BS at UNR.
  • Go to the gym more often. It seems that when I set concrete goals such as lose X amount of weight or run X by the end of the year it doesn’t happen so I’m going for a vague, passable goal of just going to the gym more often. Totally doable.
  • I’m going to work on getting healthier (mentally, spiritually, and physically). Again, having concrete definitions hasn’t helped me much before so I’m just making a vague goal of overall improvement. I’m making healthy eating choices, getting more exercise, making full use of Betty (my Fitbit), and focusing a little more on self-care and good habits. I’ll be making an appointment with a neurologist so I can work toward a healthier mind since the concussion messed everything up, and I’ll be reading and educating myself in between my degrees.
  • I will learn how to budget and follow through. This was one of my resolutions that I absolutely bombed last year, but so far I’m on track. I’m using my old planner and a budget notebook to keep track of overall and itemized spending so that The Captain and I can keep track of bills, necessary expenses, and savings. Hopefully, I’ll be able to keep track of this without getting overwhelmed with receipts like last year.
  • Get a new job. Unfortunately, with my graduation came the end of my social media coordinator career. I’m on the hunt for some work while I wait to hear back from the graduate schools and will be applying for my substitute teaching license in the next couple of weeks. If that doesn’t pan out there’s always retail.
  • Read 52 new books. Last year I set the bar pretty low at 24 and actually doubled it so that’s what I’m aiming for this year. Expect lots of tasty reviews in the near future that range from true crime to YA to poetry to history.
  • Get a 3.5 GPA in the fall. Again, this is dependent on me getting into either an MFA or BS program, but I’ve done well with hitting that goal for the past year so I’m keeping with it.
  • Cook something new every month. Now that I’m not overwhelmed with school, finals, and grad applications I’m finding that I have plenty of time to cook nice, healthy meals. I’m looking forward to cooking and then eating new things!
  • Keep up on the blog. It seems that when I get overwhelmed with life I tend to let Reading Malone slide, but no longer. I’m happy to say that there will be at least two posts a week from now on so stay tuned.
  • Add to my Disney collection. I might not have mentioned it, but I spent a good portion of 2016 building a sizeable Disney movie collection. My end goal is to have all of their animated films and I’ve got less than fifty movies left to find either secondhand or for an affordable price.
  • Learn a new skill. I’m still not sure what this will end up being, but I might learn quilting from The Captain’s grandma or I might continue my quest to master a language other than English. Or maybe I’ll finally learn how to snowboard.
  • Organize my computer files/database. Oh God, it’s a mess. I finally got a new laptop after using the same Toshiba for five years and I need to transfer some stuff over and delete old homework assignments and go through thousands of pictures… It’s a project, but it needs to be done.
  • Take more pictures. In 2016, I invested in a Canon camera and I haven’t used it as much as I’ve wanted, but I’m trying to increase the photo quality on the blog so that’s my excuse for using it more.
  • Go for walks/hikes/explorations. This goes in hand with physical health, but it’s also an effort to be a little more outdoorsy and see more of my environment.
  • Write twelve new short stories. In the past, I’ve tried to make finishing various novel projects my writing resolutions but that hasn’t worked out so this is my compromise. I figure I can write at least one short story a month and it’ll add up and I can try to get some of them published.
  • Finish a novel. Technically, I haven’t finished an original novel since 2011 when Stained was completed. I need to move on to something new and all my free time would be better spent working on a non-vampire project.
  • Revise Stained. Maybe the tenth time is the charm? I’ve learned so much from my last writing workshop that I have to go through and fix my novel yet again, but I have a feeling that it’s definitely for the better.
  • Organize and change passwords. Unfortunately, my memory problems have really affected my passwords because I change them, forget what they were, change them again, and repeat. Having a master list in multiple places should help out and provide greater security.
  • Put more money into savings. It was by complete fluke that I had money in savings at the end of 2016. Most of it came from my settlement, birthday, graduation, and Christmas money—not from actual effort on my part.
  • Start an herb garden or compost. I keep trying to grow things for some reason.
  • Send queries to agents. Hopefully, this will lead toward publication somewhere.
  • Take more #selfies. It seems like there is some correlation between the amount of selfies I take and my self-confidence so I’m trying to get back to high school level amounts and try to feel better about myself while I’m getting healthy and all that.

I know that I won’t accomplish all of these, but I’m going to try. 2017 is going to be a year of change, but I want to make sure that it’s for the better and on my terms as much as possible. The key words for the year are health, confidence, and happiness. It won’t be easy all the time, but I’m not going to give up that easy on achieving my goals.