Tuesday, 30 December 2014

2015: The Lost Year

Out of curiosity I scrolled through my phone’s calendar to see how many years it counted up to. The number is infinite so I stopped at two thousand three-hundred and sixty-five. I then turned back to two thousand and ninety-two to wish myself a happy 100th birthday.

What it made me realize was more than just being able to plan to a point where I stop existing - I've been making the fallacy of not appreciating the time I've been given. Much like a child anxious to be grown-up and then look longing on the past's care-free days, I will miss out on all of the wonderful things 2015 will hold by only focusing on the expiration date.

This New Year marks my five year graduation from high school. It’ll be the end of my college experience for now and travelling for mandarin learning. There’s been all this preparation and work involved to get me where I am and the future is still blurry. Even having long-term goals don't bring it into clarity because my individual say in the matter is swallowed up in the will of the powers that be. 

It feels good to let go, but very unstable. 

Here are a few things I've decided to work on so I’m not taken off guard and have confidence that under all the calendar dates and pen marks is a consistency and contingency plan.     

Read The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan. It was written in 1678 and has never been out of print. It’s a self-described dream put down in pen and I like the flow of the language.
Write sections of Chinese books out in Mandarin or start my own journal that will keep the characters fresh in mind. I want to find a way to use my Chinese that is meaningful so it’s less of a chore and more of an enjoyment. I like reading the old legends and stories but I want something that has more sustenance and really utilizes all four parts of language learning.
Take a free University course online! I was introduce to Coursera  (https://www.coursera.org/) and love the idea and what it stands for. You can take classes from top institutions like Peking, Yale, Duke, Tel Aviv, National Taiwan, Singapore, Tokyo, UBC and McMaster University. It can be in your native tongue or a foreign one and there are online classes and assignments so it keeps you engaged.
Watch. This is a bit tricky. I’m going to cut out a lot of extra noise and that includes youtube and facebook. I like to listen to the radio since it frees up my hands but even taking that in passively I don’t think is the best for me. I’m starting to listen to podcasts more and more and I also enjoy talks, so I’m going to switch my focus to that and also broaden my newspaper reading options.
Eat. This is a tender subject since I currently can’t eat solid foods at all. I love cooking in my dorm and am getting confident with a few dishes. My goal is to expand my culinary skills while cutting back on the preparation time. I want to be able to make good healthy meals in under an hour. I also want to switch to more fruits and veggies and less starch and meat since I eat that a ton.
Do physical activity! This shouldn't need to be a goal since I love exercise but I do it more as a hobby than a life style. How many pangs of guilt do I need to feel for not taking advantage of my University’s free gym? I also live right by it so distance isn't a good excuse either. I think what would be best is do easy morning exercises and in the evenings take advantage of the gymnastic wristbands they offer and improve my flexibility. I can still do back handsprings and front-tucks but splits and press to handstands are harder and harder to manage. I also eat more after I exercise, and these past few weeks of shrinking appetite have me worried. This way I can do two things that I love and reap the benefit of both.
Reflect. There isn't really a time when I don’t do this. My biggest concern is to not get so caught up in self-psychoanalysis that I forget to act. I often find myself sitting in a glass castle critically judging the world and myself but fail to make needed changes. It’s only when I hop down from that throne that I realize how breakable yet resilient human nature is.

Overall I want 2015 a year to be remembered not to just grit my teeth and get through. Living in Calgary has been fun and going back to school is wonderful even though it’s challenging. I want to take more care in what and who I invest my time in and ultimately be happy that I get to experience a New Year so limitless that it’s opportunities are endless.