As the end of the year approaches, I’ve found myself thinking that we should all be making a different kind of New Year’s Resolution.
Less of the resolutions to punish yourself at the gym, to cut out the evening glass of wine you love so much, or to squirrel away all your money while denying yourself every treat and indulgence. More of the resolutions to do more fun things, enjoy yourself more, and to be happier.
Here are mine! Maybe in January I will work on some specifics, but for now they’re just general concepts.
Cycle more, walk more, dance more
It doesn’t need to be January for me to come up with an unrealistic exercise plan that will leave me sore and aching or lazy and ashamed after the first week. I do this all the time. And it’s always about going to the gym more, doing more exercise DVDs, and other boring things that have me dreading the sight of my trainers and finding any excuse to do something else. In 2013, I want to be more active (and maybe get fitter in the process) by doing things that I enjoy, like cycling, walking and dancing. (Now that I unexpectedly enjoy cycling and everything.)
Learn new languages
I’ve never been much of a linguist, other than my native tongue. It never really occurred to me just how strange it was to be so fascinated with the English language but so ignorant of every other language. So about a year ago I was all ‘I’m going to learn Italian!’ and set off on a mission to, er, learn about five words and then unofficially give up. Then, a few months ago, I had a funny turn which resulted in me deciding to learn German. Again I charged forward, determined to be fluent within the week, and succeeded in learning what ‘ich liebe dich’ means, even if I can’t say it without breaking into a rendition of Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick. While in Slovakia I had a crack at learning Slovak but found myself bewildered by a language that allows a sentence like this to happen: strč prst skrz krk. (Though I got pretty good at ordering beer and dumplings.) In 2013, I want to make an effort to learn more Italian, more German, and more of any other language that takes my fancy – but without feeling guilty or stressing myself out. I’ll try to enjoy the process of learning new things, and I’ll bear in mind that the best reason to learn new languages is to facilitate travel and conversation: two things I like a lot.
Write more and read more
In 2012 I wrote a lot. I wrote about many different things and for many different purposes. I wrote for freelance projects, for volunteer projects, for my internship. I wrote about the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, the parliamentary elections in Belarus, and about exhibitions of Elizabethan artwork. What I didn’t do very often was write (fiction) for my own enjoyment, even though I know that it calms and soothes me when I’m frazzled and confused. So, in the coming year, I want to spend more time writing for myself, without worrying about word counts or grammatical choices or if it will get published or if it will make me money. Reading goes hand in hand with this.