Can we talk about this photo for just a moment? I really like it and have felt itchy to use it since I took it last March. There’s something ironic and beautiful about the plane’s soaring white streak in the sky next to the red stoplight. That plane just seems so defiant, go-go-GOING despite the stoplight’s instructions. I feel like this photo is a little like a metaphor for resolutions: you’ve got to keep go-go-GOING, even though you will almost certainly find excuses to stop. Soar, little plane! Inspire us to reach for new heights!
In light of my success with resolutions in 2011, I decided to keep my own streak going by declaring a few big goals for 2012. I really do believe that this year is going to be a big one, and I want to set myself up for success and happiness by being very explicit about my plans. I figure that these resolutions are 2011’s gift to me: it was not an easy year, but I made it and now I’m ready to make the most of what 2011 taught me.
Despite my science credentials, I can be a bit hippy-dippy because hey—even atheists and agnostics are allowed a spiritual side, right? On the hippy-dippy side of things (for me at least) is the idea of having a word for your year. I saw this idea on Monna’s blog, and I really like it. A word to inspire, uplift, and move you to action. My word for this year is devotion. I want this year to be about living up to the promises that 2011 hinted at. I want to feel fully, deeply committed to the most important goals, the ones that will require some inspired effort to achieve.
Devotion. It’s a quiet word, a powerful word. It’s about connection, almost an intimacy. I hope it makes me feel strong and capable, unshakeable even. Devotion. It’s a good word for a good year.
I have three major goals for 2012, and they are:
* Publish, publish, publish. This is my work goal. I am writing a grant right now, and I’m anticipating that I’ll be submitting a research manuscript in March. I’m also planning to submit a second grant in April. I consider all of these documents publications of a kind, whether for funding or to communicate my results to the scientific community. I don’t know whether these grants will bring any money into the lab, but I’m feeling optimistic and that’s good enough for now. But my absolute top priority, work-wise, is to publish my research this year. And I think I can do it.
* Peace and quiet. I admitted defeat when it came to conquering my anxiety in 2011, but as I reflected on the nature of that resolution, I realized that for me, managing anxiety is an on-going affair. It’s more like having a chronic health condition than a broken leg: a onetime fix is not going to do the job. This year, I am rededicating myself to my yoga practice and to building time into my day for peace and quiet. I’ve struggled with how best to do this—daily yoga? evenings without the computer? nightly meditation? For this year, I am going to try a 2x2 approach: yoga twice a week where I do a 20+-minute session, and two evenings a week during which dinner is a quiet, candlelit meal. I often read blogs and whatnot during lunch and dinner; this year, I’m going to do less of that.
* Thoughtful consumerism. I don’t talk about it a lot on this site, but I’m a pretty dedicated environmentalist. It’s a big part of my vegetarianism, it’s one of the reasons I don’t have a car (yet), and it guides my daily choices. I believe the sustainable-living, green movement is gaining momentum, slowly but surely, thanks to increased awareness among individuals and the efforts of organizations like 350.org, which is working hard to induce political change that will reduce atmospheric carbon levels.
A huge part of green living is just knowing what your options are. For example, a few years back, people were asking, “Paper or plastic?” at the grocery store, and the answer that came back was neither. Bring your own reusable bags. And now, lots of us bring our own bags with us, which turns out to be not only more sustainable, but it’s also more comfortable. My reusable bags are much easier on my hands or my shoulders when I’m carrying several days’ worth of food home. This year, I’d like to make bigger strides toward green living, and to do that, I’m inviting sustainable-living or green companies to advertise their wares on this blog. I don’t write an insanely popular blog, but I have been around for a while, and I like my little corner of the web. My advertising rates are low, which makes them affordable for small companies, and I love the idea of partnering with small companies.
As part of my effort toward more thoughtful consumerism, if and when I come across good stuff, I’ll try to share my finds with you. And if you find good stuff that helps you live more sustainably, feel free to tell me about it! Together we can make our lives greener and our carbon footprint smaller.
2012, it’s so on. Let’s do this!