Tuesday, January 8, 2013

These are NOT New Year's Resolutions

Happy New Year!

Honestly?  I think the New Year's and resolution hype is utter BS. The older I get, the more it seems like a cop-out.  Maybe I've seen too many people fail in their resolutions and declare, "well, there's always next year."  We too often rely on the "correct" start date.  I'll start my diet on Monday; I'll start working out more this year; I'll start spending more time with the kids when this big project is finished.  There's. Always. Something.

I'll stop impersonating a nun next Thursday . . . source

Now here's the irony: I'm starting several new endeavors right now . . . at the beginning of the year.  Will you believe me when I tell you it's actually coincidence?  Or circumstantial?  No?  Then fuck off, because it is.

Does the fact that I'm about to "resolutely" lay these endeavors out make them seem even more like what I claim they're not?  Don't care.  It's a way to hold myself accountable.  I very rarely put goals like this out into public until I've either already reached them or I'm super close.  Doing this at the beginning?  HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA, no.

Public failure causes unwanted facial hair and ocular abnormality. Source.

And yet here I am . . .

#1: I'm going to write a romance novel

Don't worry, I'll give you a few minutes to stop guffawing and then another few to spew forth pithy jabs and witticism regarding the genre.  Oh, wait, did I forget to mention it's a PARANORMAL romance?  Let me add a few more minutes.

You done?  Good.

Okay wait, now I need a minute. Source.

I very recently finished proofreading (and commenting as a "beta reader" on) an absolute travesty of a romance novel.  There were so many things wrong on so many levels . . . .  I wanted to ask the author her age and level of completed education, because I desperately needed her to tell me she was an 18 year old girl who had just finished high school; apparently, that might be considered "unprofessional," so I opted to continue screaming it in my head every time I bumped up against the writing's tenacious naivete and torturous diction.  (I will never stop insisting that a Thesaurus is a DANGEROUS tool in the wrong hands.)

But while I was busy mentally berating everything about the book (and then inserting a toned-down version of said beratements into the document via the comment function), I also kept chastising myself.

Say what you will about this woman and her almost-comical-but-more-sad attempt to make her mark in the romance aisle, but at least she had the balls and dedication to write a Whole. Fucking. Novel.  

And if someone with those sort of, uh, "rough" writing skills can do it, then so can I. Time to stop editing because I'm too chicken to write myself.

(And the idea that's in my head falls in the paranormal category, so that's what I'm going with.)

#2: I'm changing the way I eat

The day before yesterday, we watched a documentary called The Perfect Human Diet, and something about it hit me square in the (nice, soft, convex) gut.  I've dieted before--successfully even--by cutting down on calories and increasing activity.  And it worked . . . even though a lot of the stuff I ate was still crap.  (You can still eat stuff off the regular Taco Bell menu and stay within your calorie limits.)  But lately, that method hasn't really been working.  I figured out that when I eat CRAP now, it makes me want more crap--regardless of the fact that I initially ingested the "appropriate" amount of calories of crap.  Since I've already been eating poorly, it's all too easy to just give in.  I guess, even though I was paying attention to my caloric intake, I still didn't feel as if I were eating in a healthy manner.  And apparently the older I get, the more that matters to me.  It's like I want to live to see my kid grow up or something.  Go figure, right?

And now that they start their accountant internships at around four, it's all the easier a goal to reach. Source.

So this documentary encourages us to eat as hunter-gatherers did--as modern humans in general have for the vast majority of our existence on this planet.  While I am not willing to go full paleo (you can have my coffee,tea, and dairy products when you pry them from my cold, dead hands), I am willing to overhaul my diet with the idea in mind.  Meats (well, animal products really--including eggs and dairy), fruits, veggies (no starches though), and nuts.  An absolute minimum of wheat and refined sugar.  (I'm sorry, but I still need at least a thin bun on my hamburger.)  Aaaaaand there will still be a once a week cheat day.

Basically, it's a lot healthier than what I've been doing, and it's actually something that is doable long term. (Honestly, that's where the cheat day really comes in, because if I thought I could never have bread/pasta/cake/etc. again, I'd fail before I even began.)

Is it going to be tough, especially at first? Yup.  But it's going to be worth it.

Yeah, yeah, I'm working on being more active too.

Those conjoined twins seem to have no problem, so how hard can it be? Source.

#3 I'm going to put more effort into teaching

Truthfully, this is the one I worry about sticking with the most.  It is far too easy to procrastinate, get behind in my planning, and then resort to just whipping up a powerpoint presentation that leaves students falling asleep in their own drool.  Another book I edited (and ghost wrote a good chunk of) dealt with engaging methods of teaching.  And while some of the suggestions earned my scorn (I'm sorry, but none of my students are EVER coming to my house for a lesson. E-V-E-R), the ideas behind most of them were good ones.  Do I think that a student's lack of success is inevitably the fault of an un-engaging teacher?  Absolutely not.  Do I think I'm doing the most I can to BE an engaging teacher?  Absolutely not.

Though sometimes student appreciation is really just another example of  your utter and total failure. Source.
This will be my first time back in the classroom in a year (taught an online course and then took a semester off), and I'm going to make the most of it.

So there you have it.  My non-New-Year's resolutions that just HAPPEN to have come about at the beginning of the year.  I give you full permission to call me out on how they're going at any time.

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