Hey everyone, so my sexy Vegas post is coming (ha! get it?) but since I am at work on my lunchbreak at the moment, you’re going to get a new year’s resolution-style posting for the moment. Like Lance, I am less into pure resolutions at this stage in my life, but there is something I have been noticing since I’ve been working full-time…
There’s an old saying that life is what happens while you’re making other plans. Well, to a certain extent that’s true, and even a good thing. OTOH, it’s easy to stop living a conscious life when that happens and lose track of your longer-term goals (or even your shorter-term goals). My goal, then (if you want to call it that) is to spend a year taking stock of my life. Here are the two main categories and questions I’m going to ask myself to get started:
Activities – How I Spend My Time
- What activities do I participate in on a daily, weekly, monthly basis?
- How much time does each activity take up in absolute terms? Proportional terms?
- Why do I do these activities? What am I expecting to get out of them?
- Am I getting out of the activities what I am expecting? If not, why, and what is the solution (spend more time on the activity, learn additional skills and/or become more efficient at the activity, find another activity that will achieve the same goal)?
- How much do I enjoy each of these activities? That is, do I enjoy them in proportion to the amount of time I spend doing them? Are there activities that I would like to do less or more of?
- Are there any activities that I’m not currently participating in that I would like to? Why would I like to do it? What do I expect to get out of it? How much time and energy would I have to devote to each desired activity to reach my goal and/or enjoy the activity in the way that I’d like? Where will that time and energy come from?
People – Who I Spend My Time With
- Who do I spend my time with (or, in the case of people I know virtually, interact with)?
- How much time do I spend interacting with each person/group?
- Why do I spend my time interacting with these people? What am I expecting to get out of it?
- Am I getting what I expect and desire out of the time I am spending with these people? If not, why, and what is the solution (spend more time with the person, structure the time I spend with them differently, reassess whether my expectations and desires are feasible/possible/compatible with that person)?
- How much do I enjoy each of these people? Do I enjoy them in proportion to the amount of time I spend interacting with them? Are there people that I would like to interact with with more or less than I do currently?
- Are there any people that I’m not currently spending time with that I would like to? This could include close friends I know but don’t see frequently, casual acquaintances that I would like to develop further, or categories of people that I’d like to meet (a shopping buddy or a happy hour buddy, just as two examples). What social niches in my life need to be filled?
- How can I go about meeting people that will fill the social niches I determine are lacking? How much time and energy will it take to develop existing relationships or to find and weed through strangers? Where will that time and energy come from?
As you can see, the common denominator is time – time is finite in a way that limits all of our other possibilities. I’ve read on another website that you can have whatever you want, but not all that you want. So what do I want the most, and what am I willing to sacrifice in order to get it? I plan to do separate postings on each of these so that I can explore them with the depth that they deserve.
I do have one goal for the year that is traditional, and that is to pay off my credit cards once and for all. According to the payoff schedule that I made in Excel, my target date for this payoff is August 8. However, a multitude of other factors will affect this. These include the size of my tax return (if any), whether or not I am offered the assistant professorship at my institution (if hired, my start date would be after my payoff date and not affect things much, but if I don’t get the position then Jake is going to start looking for another job and this is a huge variable since it might entail us moving and me quitting my job), and any other garden-variety emergency that could crop up and derail things. Ultimately, the math says August 8 and my goal is to beat the math by at least a month
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