Go-go goals

Having emerged from the two-week wine, cheese and brownie bender that was, for me, the 2011 holiday season, I’ve decided it’s high time I mapped out my resolutions for 2012. With aching head and distended belly, perhaps, but without any brand of ado, here goes something:

I can beer no more. Cannon Beach, Oregon, 2011. Photo by Morgan Wichman

1. It really is true what they say: it hurts a lot the first few times you try it … sore leg muscles, pounding heart, paroxysms of self-doubt  … but once you work your way up to doing it on a daily basis, it quickly becomes difficult to remember how you lived without it. You dream of it. You crave it when you’re not getting it enough. And life is never the same. I’m talking about running, of course. I’m resolved to continue running at least 10 miles a week and to run in at least two races in 2012, which will almost surely sound a lot harder than it really is to those of you who don’t run and a lot easier than it is to those of you who do.

Making a journal, Caye Caulker, Belize, 2004. Photo by Erin J. Bernard

2. I’ve been at the freelance journalism thing for two months now and I am having good success in drumming up business so far. That said, I’ve encountered one significant problem with going into business for myself: my boss is a bit of a lotuseater. She’s prone, of a weekday, to sleeping late and to closing up shop unconscionably early, and she goes to incredibly lengths to avoid making necessary phone calls. And then there is her irrational aversion to bookkeeping. I hate to perpetuate the banality of that whole creative-types-are-incapable-of-managing-their-lives argument, but I do detest being made to account for just about anything, and that’s got to change if I am to keep in the freelance biz and out of debtor’s prison. So. This year, I’d like to: Sell at least one story/essay to a notable national or international publication, sell at least two pieces a month to regional publications, update my blog once a week and get together a long-term business plan for EJB Writing Studio.

Ashley and Erin atop smelly camels, both named "Mickey Mouse." Arabian Desert, Egypt, 2007

3. Plan another trip with my little sister, Ashley. We had the time of our lives while trekking through Egypt, Greece and England with our friend Meggan a few years ago, although London kind of blew for various and sundry reasons, not least of them being the fact that the British boy I’d been carrying on with for the six months previous and whom I dragged us there to visit fancied himself in love with Ashley instead of me, and additionally the fact of our presence incurred the seething wrath of his flatmates, a vile pack of Australians in training for the Olympics who hissed and snarled at us every time we so much as attempted to flush the toilet, to which Ashley blessedly retorted, “Fine, next time I’ll leave my poop in the bowl.” ANYWAYS … Ashley and I been discussing either a visit to Lebanon and Jordan or a trip to Nepal and Northern India. And no, the agenda will not include visits to boys met on the Internet. Nothing of the sort. I want to trek about and try strange foods and lose myself amidst acres of tumbledown ruins. It feels like ages since I’ve been anywhere remotely edgy, and I’m dying to see a few of this world’s untried corners.

4. Henceforth, I’ve covered three important bases: physical health, career, family. But I’m also resolving to a more personal kind of self-improvement. When adequately provoked, I’ve never had a problem with revealing my sharper edges. However, I am also a seasoned avoider of minor – and sometimes not-so-minor – conflict. The result is that I let slide too many things that genuinely bother me, and this inevitably makes me feel resentful, which is toxic for interpersonal relationships. In 2012, I want to be more radically truthful with people about how I’m feeling in the moment. This isn’t about inviting unnecessary confrontation, though. It’s about taking opportunities to air grievances or question actions and behaviors as they arise, naming discord and frustration straight up instead of stewing in it for months and years at a stretch and then coming back at people with a raft of shit when they least expect it. I know I do that sometimes. I really, really know.

Happy 2012, all!

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