Hopefully this first post (except, of course, for the test post, which I decided I’d keep for posterity) is profound or otherwise interesting enough to you that you’ll read most, or even part of it, and I may begin to gain a following of people who are at least somewhat interested in the events and musings of my life. I’ll try to spare you a long introduction, with the assumption that you already have some clue of who I am since you made it to my site. If by some miracle you find yourself reading this without an inkling of a notion as to my identity, then I will simply direct you to my twitter stream, where you can likely find out quite a bit about me.

So, Okay, It’s a New Year. What About That?

I’ve heard all sorts of things being said on twitter along the lines of “who needs New Years resolutions?”, “why do we have to set aside a time just for making resolutions? Shouldn’t we just be setting goals as we go?”, and my favorite, “I have deadlines, not resolutions.” Personally, I don’t mind them. I get the idea that “before you know it another year will have gone by, and why worry so much about it when it’s just another day,” but that’s exactly why I choose to set aside the day to think and prepare for the upcoming year. I don’t want to let it pass by without some sense of how I’m going to make it better than the last; how I’m going to get to next new years day thinking “man, I really did a lot with my life this past year.” This is probably starting to sound cliché, but it’s important. Life is extraordinarily, remarkably, unfathomably, short. I don’t want to waste any time.

So let’s cut to the chase. For the new year, and the whole decade it’s setting underway, my resolution is to live life with less unnecessary stress, and to take whatever steps need to be taken, however bold, to live my life the way I want and need to live it. Let’s think about this for a moment. The first part, I think, is pretty clear. Less unnecessary stress means less stress over things that just don’t matter. It also means less stress that’s caused by things that do matter, but can be changed or fixed. A good example is sleep deprivation. Those who know me might think that I never sleep. That’s pretty much true. But it causes problems. Such problems are examples of unnecessary stress, because they could be solved by just sleeping more. How would I manage that? By having to deal with less unnecessary stress, giving me more time to get things done, and in turn sleep. It’s a cycle, you see. Reducing unnecessary stress means there will be less unnecessary stress. Tautology is tautological. Alright, let’s move on.

How about that second part? What “steps need to be taken, however bold” to somehow improve my life and align it more with my own desires and aspirations? Well, for one, making progress in the first part will help with this, and be helped by this. That’s why they’re both in the same resolution. Aside from that, though, here is what I mean: I want to make some changes in my life – some real changes – that affect my schedule, my routine, my work load, and in turn my happiness and my productivity, essentially putting me back in control of my life. Sounds great, right? But impossible, too? Wrong. Let’s put it this way: many of us ambitious people feel that we cannot control much of what happens in our lives, because our responsibilities are so constant and overwhelming. It seems that no matter how hard we try, school, or work, has the power to crush any attempts at sanity by forcing us to do more. Here’s the truth. It can’t force you to do anything. You just choose to meet its expectations, because it results in good things. There’s nothing wrong with that. At least, not until the benefits of meeting the outside world’s expectations are outweighed by the damage you sustain from functioning under so much pressure. Perhaps, I’ve been thinking, I should slow it down a little bit. Not do everything, so that I can do everything. I don’t mean sacrificing my high grades, or really even sacrificing anything. I just mean spreading out my commitments and responsibilities, so that they’re not all I ever have time to deal with. I’m talking about balance here. Somewhere in the spectrum of different ways one can live their life, between being a complete overachiever and being a complete slacker at work or school, there’s a mixture of fulfilling responsibilities and taking care of oneself, allowing time to meet one’s own expectations, which allows a person to function better both in their “outside expectations” life and in their “own expectations” life. This is exactly what I’m going for.

The Philosophical Stuff is Great. But What About Actual Plans?

For any resolution to actually work, it needs to include specific objectives; implementation details. I have a few in mind, and I’m going to make a list of them right here in an attempt to draw to this part of the page the eyes of visitors wanting to “get to the point” of the article without having to read through the horribly lengthy paragraphs above. </sarcasm>

  • This blog. You have no idea how many times I’ve thought, “boy would this make a great blog post,” and then realized I don’t have an active blog to post to. Most of these things probably would’ve made great blog posts (and some still can), but none of them constituted being the first blog post. (Again, I’m not counting the test post. I want it to stay as a reminder of this blog’s humble beginnings for when I have hundreds of people subscribed to my RSS feed and I’m posting weekly. I’ll get there someday.) Even if you’re not reading this (and you are, which is awesome), this blog will help me by giving me a place to elaborate my thoughts and hash out everything going on in my brain for the world to see. Doing this will help me have a better understanding of what is going on in my own head when things get out of hand, and will hopefully help in preventing things from getting out of hand in the first place. And now that I’m actually posting something, I’ll be able to use my blog on a regular basis! Hooray!
  • This has been mentioned above. I’m going to sleep more. During this past semester, I got somewhere between 1 and 3 hours of sleep per night on a regular basis, and I often didn’t sleep at all. Don’t get me wrong – I love staying up late. I adore the middle of the night. It’s when I get everything done, because it’s so quiet and peaceful and wonderful. But the wonderfulness kicks in around 10:00pm, and lasts until about 4:00am. I don’t need to be awake for all of it. This goal is also very much influenced by the other goals: the more I can reduce the constant pressure and overwhelming flow of work, the more I can get to sleep at a reasonable hour. My health, my happiness, and my sanity are all going to benefit from this. Furthermore, it very recently became legal for me to drive a car, and doing so while fatigued is immensely dangerous. No amount of good grades or extra credit is worth my life.
  • The final thing I’m going to do is make some changes in school that will make it easier on me. For one, I’m going to try to free up my first period, letting me sleep longer in the morning. Now, this is the part that involves “spreading out my commitments and responsibilities,” like I mentioned earlier, and also the “steps that need to be taken, however bold,” to improve my life. Instead of taking six classes at once, I’m going to take two or three classes at once, and make up for the others in whatever way I need to. Perhaps I’ll take a course over each of my two remaining summers, or even graduate a year later to spread things out a bit. I don’t know exactly how this is going to work, but I know that it will, because I’m going to make it work. I’m sick of school being the only thing I ever think about, and so this year I’m going to make it different. I only have two more years at home, and I want them to count. Even when it’s not summer. Especially when it’s not summer. I want my normal life to be something I enjoy, at home and at school. And if I can slow things down a little, I can achieve some balance and make it happen.

And that’s about it. It’s going to be a great year. Not that last year wasn’t; this one is just going to be even better.

A Conclusion? Isn’t it Only the Beginning?

With my ideas all identified and my plans in place, it’s time to set this year in motion. Once this is posted I’ll be working a lot more on this blog; keep in mind that it is currently very much a work in progress. I’ll spend the next few days preparing for my return to school, figuring out exactly how I’m going to improve my schedule. And tonight, I’m going to sleep for eight whole hours. I already can’t wait.

When all is said and done, I really only have two goals in my life. They are, first, to fully enjoy and experience everything that there is to experience in my own life, and second, to help others do the same. There’s not much more that we can do with the short amount of time we’re given, and there’s not much point in doing anything else, because once you’re gone, you’re gone, and you either lived a good life or you didn’t, and hopefully you at least made life better for someone else. Everything we do, all of our research and discoveries and inventions and breakthroughs, are all contributing to improving the world for those who will be alive in the future, or otherwise contributing to the joy in the lives of the people who are responsible for such achievements. With this in mind, I wish you a happy new year, and bid you good luck in your own endeavors and enjoyment of life. I hope this post has been helpful in some way to you, and even if it hasn’t, it has certainly been helpful to me. Here’s to a great future.