Friday, January 2, 2009

Journeying and Journaling

I don't believe in New Years resolutions, a stance which elicits the same confusion, concern (yes concern) and occasional agreement each December and January. To clarify, I am convinced that attempts at growth and personal development are vital human pursuits. I am also convinced that real change is a challenging, grueling process that pays no attention to arbitrary January 1 start dates.

Nonetheless, here I am on January 2, starting a blog to chronicle my adventures in personal development and the sure-to-be-concurrent failures (also known as invaluable learning experiences. ish.) As the New York Times so helpfully pointed out today, 80 percent of people making resolutions fall off the wagon by Valentines Day. And six months later, only 45 percent of people have stuck with their New Years pledges. Although the math might need some clarification, it's pretty clear that real change is hard stuff. Hence this blog.

This blog isn't about New Years resolutions (yawn.) It's about me trying to figure my sh*t out, starting the day after New Years. It's about loving to write, and never forcing myself to do it, and finally creating a forum for writing and sh*t figuring. It's probably also related to my grandfather's recent funeral and some hard thinking about the life I want to create and the impact I want to leave behind. And heck, it's also good timing because I'm relieved to be done with turkey, wine, holiday parties, Christmas treats, Hanukkah latkes, New Years champagne and all the other delicious decadences of the winter season. So here, in no particular order, are some of the questions I'm hoping to tackle now that no one's bringing baskets of fudge into the office.

  • I have the job I always dreamt about. Unfortunately, I hate it. Given that this was my dream job and that the economy is doing less than well, I feel a bit lost. I really need to get on with figuring out a new career path. This may include networking and the GRE. Oy.
  • I want to write more. Less generically, I'm committing to blogging twice a week. Instead of defining my content upfront, I'd like to see where the musings take me. All I'm promising myself is twice a week of imperfect journeying.
  • I think of myself as a good person. Unfortunately, I'm also a lazy person. Beyond some charity and political contributions, I haven't made real time to volunteer. I planted trees on Big Sunday 2008 and I called two charities to get information on their programs (neither ever responded to my queries about volunteering). I can do much better.
  • I want to get back on the healthy wagon and stick to it this time. In weight terms, it's probably 20 pounds. In healthy terms, I'd like to stay away from tasty processed foods and wake up early enough to exercise four times a week. (These healthy goals always sound so reasonable and easy, but in practice... I'm committed. Really. This time I am.)
  • I need to figure out investing. I've essentially sat out the market until now: I have a 401K and a Roth IRA with money market accounts. The one Roth IRA I did invest was a panicked, March 30th tax decision - I shoved my money into a "stable" mutual fund that was filled with bank stocks like Wamu and Bank of America (see invaluable learning experiences reference above.) So this year I'd like to learn from these mistakes.
  • I want to find a better community of like-minded folks in this city. Los Angeles is full of traffic and entertainment industry transplants and networkers, making it a difficult place to build a meaningful community. I've got an amazing boyfriend, my parents and a bunch of friends I wish I saw more often. So I'll try and see them more often and work through the Friday night exhaustion to actually make fun plans.
  • Lastly, I'd like to find a religious/spiritual community where I feel comfortable. Since I'm a Reform Jew, this is really more about finding an open, social-justice oriented community where I can learn, light some candles, sing in Hebrew and make self-deprecating jokes.

Since this isn't a New Years resolution blog, I'll just use this list as a starting point. And I guess I'll see where it goes, at least twice a week.