Monday, January 04, 2010

Resolutions, or Not

With the ushering in of a new year and a new decade—unless you want to be anal and view 2011 as the start of the new decade—I haven’t thought that much about resolutions, at least compared to years past. I’m still doing arguably lame things like keeping track of how many pages of books I read in a given year, but I no longer feel all that driven to aspire to any particular goal concerning how much I read. A year and a day ago, I announced a goal of reading between 8,000 and 10,000 pages during 2009. Instead, I read 6,017, though that fails to take into account the hundreds upon hundreds of pages I read of academic journals, etc. Keeping track of how much you read is a simultaneously very picky and very imprecise endeavor, so it seems pointless to set a goal concerning it. I know I’ll read a lot this year—it goes with the territory of being a Ph.D. student, in philosophy no less. I’m satisfied to let my reading goal this year consist of the following: read a lot of good stuff, and don’t forget to make time for the stuff I’m not assigned to read. Good enough, I’d say.

I might sound ho-hum about making resolutions, but I’m not. I’m just more focused, and less inclined to make silly goals that are first and foremost quantitative in nature. That being said, I do harbor a secret desire to write 100 blog posts this year. Not so much because hitting the number 100 is important, but because I sometimes forget how important taking the time to write about one’s thoughts and feelings—about one’s life and one’s self—can be. Hopefully I’ll also write a few journal entries that aren’t made public. Those are a completely different breed, and I rarely invest time into those nowadays. That’s a shame. I hope that will change. Even if I just write some of my day-to-day experiences and thoughts, I think it will prove very worthwhile. Sometimes it’s in the mundane details that we get the best glimpses of who we are (or were) and where we are (or were) in life. Jotting a few thoughts about your day, every day, may yield a greater journalistic treasure than you’d ever expect.

If you’ve been reading my blog lately, you can probably guess that one of my primary resolutions this year is to grow musically. I want music to have a greater presence in my life. I already do a pretty good job of listening to it, but even that is something I’d like to cultivate. By that, I mean that I would like to spend more focused time listening to music. Good music. There’s so much of it. I want to be very attentive as I listen to it. And I want to listen to more of the music I own—rediscover some of it, more fully familiarize myself with some of it that perhaps has never been given sufficient attention, etc. I’ve got a great collection, and it’s only gotten better over the years as I’ve become—well, financially been forced to be, really—much more selective about what I purchase. I feel like I’ve been musically revitalized lately. It might sound silly, but I trace it back to purchasing Pearl Jam’s Backspacer, which was released in September. It’s such a solid album, and it somehow refreshed and rejuvenated me. It made me miss the emotional energy that music used to bring to my life. In turn, I searched out other music that, in many instances, was equally refreshing and inspiring. This led to an increased desire to start playing my own music again. Then Melanie had my guitars all tuned up for Christmas, and I’ve been playing them regularly since. It truly feels like I’m being musically reborn, and I love it. I hope to look back on this time as a significant turning point, not just another upswing in a series of lows and highs. Of course, that’s entirely up to me. So, as vague as it is for the moment, here is another goal I have for 2009: be passionate about music, and play guitar so often that a guitar in my hands is an incredibly familiar, comfortable, and self-expressive feeling.

I guess that’s all I have to say. So there.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Ben..I really enjoyed reading this blog. It serves as a good jumpstart for me as well. I feel a need to do a lot of reading again and music can be a supplement to that. I want to settle down and find more of myself so that I can give more to my family. And as always, I want a clean house. It all adds up to a desire for things to be more ideal. I hope you accomplish your goals. I hope you keep posting and offering encouragement to the rest of us. You make a good role model.