Saturday, January 2, 2010

Ten Resolutions for 2010

In honor of this nice, fresh, unsullied decade, I'll be making ten resolutions this year. It's a tall order, but "where there is no vision, the people perish." (Proverbs 29:18, KJV) I know that many people look down on New Year's Resolutions, but that is largely because so many fall into the trap of making unattainable or unrealistic goals for themselves, which it is then only natural to break. I view making resolutions as an exercise in planning and goal-setting, which motivates me to ascend to higher standards in my daily life. So, without further ado, allow me to present my ten resolutions for 2010:

1. I resolve to earn straight A's in my graduate classes. Since C's are the same as F's in the history MA program, and B's are the equivalent of C's, I need top marks if I want any prestige at all. Also, I am determined to have two honor cords when I graduate with my MA: a Phi Alpha Theta cord (which I earned as an undergraduate) and a Magna Cum Laude or Summa Cum Laude cord.

2. I resolve to lose the appropriate amount of weight to make it into the ROTC program, and to attain the physique necessary to not only pass, but excel in the physical tests.

3. I resolve to actually read my graduate textbooks, rather than skimming like I usually did as an undergrad.

4. I resolve to spend more time in daily devotions, since I am horrible about reserving time for them on a daily basis.

5. While we're on the subject of time, I also resolve to improve my time management skills. I waste far too much time, so I am forcing myself to be more disciplined, and to live according to schedule.

6. I resolve not to fall into the same habit of procrastination that I had as an undergraduate. I am not going to put papers off until the night before they're due anymore - I'm too old for that level of stress!

7. I resolve to work harder on maintaining a five or six meal per day diet. My doctor has repeatedly told me that I need to do so, as my blood sugar is so low, particularly at night. I need to cut my portion sizes and eat more often, so that I keep my hypoglycemia under control. I do not want to wind up diabetic, like several of my relatives have.

8. I resolve to keep better hours and get enough sleep in grad school. No more all-night study sessions, like I did as an undergrad! Also, I will not fall into the habit of popping caffeine pills to make up for lack of sleep. I spent my last semester of college doing that, and it wrecked havoc on my migraines.

9. I resolve to make time for Jasper to have a walk at least every other day. Being a small dog, he does not require a great deal of exercise, but I know that I have not been giving him as many walks as I should. More walks will keep him happier and healthier, and I'm sure will serve as a good stress reliever for me.

10. I resolve to get more involved. As an undergrad, I studied and researched, and had absolutely no social life. I missed out on a lot of activities that would have been fun and/or meaningful, with the result that I often fell into periods of lonely melancholy. This time around, I'm going to force myself to go out at least once per month. I'm also going to look for a volunteer activity that I can devote a few hours to each month (I know that sounds shamefully small, but considering the amount of time-consuming graduate work I will have, a few hours a month is the most that I can give).

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"Passage—immediate passage! the blood burns in my veins! Away, O soul! hoist instantly the anchor!
Cut the hawsers—haul out—shake out every sail!
Have we not stood here like trees in the ground long enough?
Have we not grovell’d here long enough, eating and drinking like mere brutes?
Have we not darken’d and dazed ourselves with books long enough?

Sail forth! steer for the deep waters only!
Reckless, O soul, exploring, I with thee, and thou with me;
For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go, And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all.

O my brave soul!
O farther, farther sail!
O daring joy, but safe! Are they not all the seas of God?
O farther, farther, farther sail!"

~Walt Whitman, "Passage to India"