Friday, January 5, 2018

Looking Forward, Looking Back

Last year around this time, I wrote a Legwork and Life outlining my goals for the year.  I pretty much agree with most of the sentiments I put in last year regarding New Year's resolutions.  Resolutions, as a concept, have been so overmarketed and superficial, that the concept of making them strikes me as running from door to door, shouting from rooftops, "I'M GONNA BE AWESOME THIS YEAR!  LOOK AT ME BEING AWESOME!"  And then resolutions and the culture being what they are, when you mess up those resolutions, you just... sort of quietly stop trying and hope no one notices you're not being awesome any more.

Of course not everyone does New Year's resolutions that way, but overall the situation has given me a poor view of resolutions.  So, like last year, I'm simply going to list some goals that I would like to accomplish this year, and not call them resolutions, and not give up on them if I seem to be failing.

First, I'll review last year's goals and see how I did, though.

Looking Back at 2017's Goals...

1. (2017)  Rebuild and keep a buffer for this blog.  

Well, I did actually manage this for most of the year.  It got wrecked around October and I didn't manage to rebuild it since.  I think my general anxiety level has gone down, or that fact would have really driven me into a tizzy.  I added the Reading the Research section this year, too, which gave me an additional post per week to juggle.  While I don't regret adding the section, since the information there is important, it definitely made my job here harder.  Oops.  

Overall, I think I did okay on this goal.  I still need to figure out how to pace myself and manage a buffer, while being sensitive to current events and sudden interests on my part.  That's the downside of buffers.  You have lots of saved content, and it's generally good at any time, but sometimes simply adhering to the order you set things is detrimental overall.  It's easier to just let things post in the order you set them weeks ago, but.  Meh.  It's tricky, and it's a balancing act I need to work on.

2.  (2017) Exercise 3x/week.

Yeah, uh...  Oops.  Turns out it's really blasted hard to make yourself exercise 3 days a week when you don't love exercise.  The exercise programs get old, it gets cold and gross outside, the shopping mall gets too loud to walk in comfortably...    I did not do a good job on this goal.  After my parents moved here, I've been decent enough about 2 days a week exercise, sometimes 3 days a week if you count walking with my friend.  But yeah, I think it's probably fair to say this didn't happen.  It needs to, still.

There's a possible solution, though.  Chris and I have been looking into getting an exercise bike, specifically a recumbent one.  When I was in college, I would literally sit on one of those things and exercise at a low intensity for an hour or two while I did my homework.  I could probably pull off the same thing, only with a book, or my tablet, or a TV show, or something.

3.  (2017) Make some progress (any progress, really) on launching a career as an autism expert/speaker/writer.

This front has been pretty quiet, annoyingly, at least 'til the end of the year when the DOD's autism research program was like, "Hey, want to spend your December flailing and reviewing autism research?  We'll pay you!"  That is really not ideal, but I guess it is technically "any progress."  

One of the most major falling down points with careers like these is that you have to network.  It's a dumb thing, because I'm bad at networking (lacking social intuition will do that), and that means it's a lot harder for me to get the right connections to become well-known enough to make it big, or at least become known and respected.

Going as written, I guess I succeeded at this goal, but I'd like to do better.  I can get started by trying to make personal connections with the scientific reviewers I'll be meeting this weekend... 

4. (2017) Start the arduous and exhausting job of house-hunting. 
Well, pretty much nothing happened on this until, I don't know, December?  And the housing market here is still completely insane.  One of my friends informs me that she read that this is the toughest housing market for buyers in the US.  I guess this city really is growing pretty fast, if that's the case.  Anyway, we saw a few houses before we left for Christmas things, and we saw one this week, and I'm sure there will be more to come.

This goal gets checked as a success, as written.  An exhausting, bash-my-face-into-my-desk success.  Hooray...

Moving Forward in 2018...

So this year, I would like to:

1.  Create and keep a buffer for at least 10 months of the year.  Preferably the entire year after I rebuild the buffer.

Last year was a learning experience, as was the year before it.  Maybe third time's a charm, and I can keep a buffer going the whole year?  I'd like that, but if nothing else, 10 months out of the year is a reasonable, somewhat challenging goal.  This will entail me working very hard ASAP to rebuild said buffer, as I've got nothing right now.  But the buffer has been a good thing for my sanity, and allows me to worry less about deadlines and more about making quality content and information available.

2.  Finish the arduous and exhausting job of house-hunting, get moved into a house or condo, and stop having to give a crap about the whole thing.

This is hopefully manageable.  I'm not under the impression that I'll be able to find a perfect house in a market like this, but it'd be nice to get into one that both Chris and myself don't hate.  I think I've already complained a great deal in this blog about why I'm done with the apartment complex we live in right now, but in brief: roaches, nonexistent snow removal services, increasing rent, and loud neighbors.

3.  Become better at managing a social network, and network with several autism researchers in pursuit of increasing my chances at a career in autism, and if nothing else, helping nudge research away from "what causes autism" toward "what helps autistic people?"

This is basically my "make some progress on career" goal from last year, but more specific.  I already have a contact that I could be chatting with some here and there, but I sort've fell out of contact with her over the Thanksgiving rush, and it feels awkward to email her.  So maybe I should also take out a book on "how to network" while I'm at the library next...

I do have a head start on January 2017 Me, and that is that I'm taking the NAC, which improves my mood markedly.  So this should be doable.  I hope.

4.  Keep steady on the 2 days a week exercise with my parents, and find, buy, and use a recumbent exercise bike this year for the 3rd day per week.

Keeping with the trend of "better goals" this year, this is a fleshed out and more specific version of my exercise goal.  I should also add "Eat better" to this list of goals, but I don't want to overwhelm myself.  I think the exercise bike is likely to be a major factor in better health and fitness.  My parents' exercise room area is excellent, and has a near-full spectrum of basic exercise machines, but I'm always limited in the time I spend there.  So it'd be good to have a day where I just burn calories for a long time, or perhaps a few days where I just spend a half hour or something on there.

Anyway, wish me luck!  Hope your year goes well. 

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