The Very Spring and Root

An engineer's adventures in education (and other musings).

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resolutions

Resolutions Unresolved

So much for last year’s resolutions. Let’s check in one-by-one.

RESOLUTIONS:

Write something everyday. I gave myself the options of journal, letter, blog, or fiction. This was going very well actually, until a mysterious event in late August seems to have thrown me off track. My journal entries are regular until August 17th, after which the next entry is… November 18th. And my letters fell off the map, and I didn’t update this blog at all (or even tweet really), and yeah I didn’t write any fiction after the first day of school.
FAIL.

Meditate regularly. I set a target of 20 minutes per day, at least three days a week. My Meditation Helper app shows a great record until, oh, mid-August. The record doesn’t pick up again until early December. FAIL.

Become conversant in Spanish. I have made lot of progress on this front, though I would rate myself short of “conversant.” The need is huge. Not only for my work in a public school (I wish I knew Spanish roughly once a week at least), but also my side interests in politics and community engagement. Ongoing, but short of the goal. FAIL.

Deactivate my Facebook account. I reactivated my Facebook account on April 15th, in the immediate wake of the Boston Marathon bombings. Once I made sure all of my friends and colleagues had checked in ok, I deleted the account permanently. (I did make a new account with zero friends, likes, or apps, solely to remain in the BTR Cohort X Facebook group for social event notifications.) I call that a win. SUCCESS.

DELIVERABLES:

Jamaica Pond, Month by Month. Now this would have been cool. A photo diary, month by month, of Jamaica Pond as it changed throughout the year. Too bad the project was mysteriously aborted in… August. (Actually, to be fair, finishing up my BTR residency year took a toll on this one too… late spring was sketchy). FAIL.

Complete a First Draft Novel. This one could still be possible… I made it up to 36,o00 words over the summer before the school year hit. The word count hasn’t moved up a single word since. However, now that I am back home and rested, with a full week and a half left of break… could I hit 50,000 words and cross into novel territory? PENDING.

Yeah so, lesson learned: Don’t assume you can do anything else but try to stay alive during your first fall teaching. It seems better now, but I am still very busy. I’ll have to think about my next steps before posting 2014’s goals…



Resolutions

Resolutions for 2013:

  • Write something everyday... even if it’s just a paragraph. And I don’t mean writing that I have to do anyway, like academic writing for a class or writing a lesson plan for my teaching — those don’t count. I’m giving myself the option of journaling, correspondence (letter or in-depth personal email), blogging, or fiction. I find that writing helps me immensely, in that it forces me to organize my thoughts and solidify my understanding of what I observe and believe. Blogging is especially good for this. I write for myself and don’t particularly care who reads my blogging; but the fact that it is public and reflects on me is good pressure to be reasonable, coherent, and responsible with what I write.
  • Meditate regularly.  I’m setting a target of at least 20 minutes per day, at least three days a week, and just installed the MeditationHelper android app to help me track it. Starting with my move to Boston last summer, I lost my regular rhythm of meditation, always telling myself that I would resume a set schedule once things got more settled. Well, now is the time. I think my attention, memory, and focus suffered some degradation in the stress of the fall; being a naturally scattered person, the lack of meditation really didn’t help my personal stability. Here’s to a more contemplative spring.
  • Become conversant in Spanish. I’m working toward dual licensure in ESL, so this is something I have been working on already anyway. I am currently halfway through Level 2 of the Rosetta Stone Totale, and plan to have completed Level 5 by August. I’m also watching Destinos over on the Annenberg Media site, and have a few Spanish-speaking friends recruited to help me converse.
  • Deactivate my Facebook account. I already did this a couple weeks ago as a test. The only thing I really miss so far is the social events postings from my BTR Cohort. However, I will just have to be more proactive about staying in touch with then socially via other means. The account is deactivated, not deleted; so, while none of my information is visible or actionable online, everything can be restored simply by logging in again. The goal here is to keep it deactivated for at least the entirety of 2013.

In addition to the above lifestyle tweaks, I’m holding myself to the following two projects as creative deliverables:

  • Jamaica Pond, Month by Month. At least once a month, I’m going to take my camera to the little lake in JP just a block down from my apartment and do some photography. At the end of every month I’ll post my favorites here. Later on, maybe next year, I have vague plans of taking the best photos and compiling them with notes and essays into a sort of online (maybe print) publication.
  • Complete a First Draft Novel. Sounds ambitious, just throwing that down there. But every year I do NaNoWriMo, trying to finish a short novel (50,000 words) in just 30 days. Shouldn’t finishing one in 365 days be a much more doable goal? I hope so… Despite four years of trying NaNoWriMo, I have yet to actually complete one in 30 days. Maybe this year-long goal is the more reasonable way to finally get it done. So let’s say… 75,000 words on the same coherent storyline by December 31st, 2013.

Too ambitious? We’ll see. Anyone up for a few walks around Jamaica Pond? ¿O hay alguien que quiere hablar conmigo en español? It’s going to be an awesome year… saddle up.




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