New Year, New Goals

Posted on 05.01.2016


IMG_5807When I look at the list of things I wanted to accomplish in 2015, I see some high expectations and a very rosy idea of what lay ahead. A year later, I am feeling far more pragmatic and have a better understanding of the amount of free time I actually have.

Last year, I wanted to read more books than I did in 2014. That would have required me to have more free time, not better time-management skills. My time-management skills are top-notch already, and they can’t get much better. Also, reading books cut into the time I could have spent on learning Japanese. I can’t do both of them, the same way I can’t read a book and listen to music at the same time. So I’ve adjusted what I think I can do for 2016.

Last year I set a goal for myself on my birthday that I would ‘be ok with my job’. As usual, I don’t want to get too deep into all of the issues I have with my job. What I will say is that I realised lately that I have the same problem with my current job that I had when I worked at T. Rowe Price. Basically, I’m a contract worker, totally unappreciated by the company I work for, and I’m not paid enough (and I never will be). So now that I can see the parallels between the two jobs and the way I’m currently feeling, I know it’s me that has to change. I will not change myself to fit their requirements, but I can change how I work and make money.

So my first goal for 2016: Work less, make more money.
There is no ‘working smarter’ or working more efficiently, 
no matter what any Japanese company will tell you. The average rate for someone with my experience and certification is $50/hour. I’m not making half that at my current job. So I will be branching out.

I’ve come to terms with what the company prioritizes, and I understand that I will never be on that list. And that’s fine. If anything, that realisation has mobilised me. I gave them my full attention for 2 years, and that was more than I got in return.

My second goal for 2016: By the end of the year, I will be able to read, write and speak Japanese better.
When you are starting from basically zero, there’s nowhere to go but up. Mark and I did our first Japanese lesson on Rosetta Stone this morning. I’m making him do it with me, like we do everything.

I don’t want to walk into the Toshima City Ward office again without being able to speak to the workers there without a translator. I’ll be trying to learn a new word each day, when I can, and writing it down in kana. In my little notebook which I keep at work.

The third is a resolution, not a goal: I’ve gone vegetarian. Finally.
It will be hard, and there are things I will miss. So although I am definitely doing this, I’m allowing myself a few exceptions: I’ll be able to eat fish once a week. Since I love sushi, am ok to kill a fish on my own, etc. I’ll also allow myself to have a cheese steak sub when I go back to the states in June, along with the crab cake dinner I’ll have at my sister’s wedding.

I was already mostly vegetarian, thanks to Mark, and it’s working out well for me. But I’m actually really tired of meat these days, and it seems like a good time to just start and go for it. It will work a lot better if another resolution succeeds, but I’ll discuss that later.

Four: Get back to regular fitness, and maybe even Budo.
I spent most of last year trying to get my balance back, and get back to fitness. I’m definitely back to a point where I can train again, and am currently re-evaluating whether I really need budo in my life these days.

In general, I want to get back to being and feeling strong and in control of my body. Before I can think about forward rolls or throwing someone, I need to be able to at least run properly. So I’ll continue doing yoga and small workouts in the morning, and insert running when I can.

A new Anytime Fitness just opened up down the block from my house, so I will try to take advantage of that in the summer months. Or maybe I can convince Mark to go swimming at the pool near our house. Maybe.

I also want to get back to Art in general, but am not going to push that just yet. It doesn’t hold priority over my health, and I take photos enough. I DO feel like I might be losing my vision or taste for images, but I can get that back with getting outside more often.

If I can find a way to work less and get paid more, then goals 4 and 3 will work out much better. If I have more time, I can cook and work out more. So my personal priority is on the first goal, since that will have a direct effect on the others. Here’s hoping I can do it all.

Having more time to prepare my meals will make it easier for me to be a vegetarian, since most of my options outside of home are few and far between. I will not be one of those vegetarians who only eats salad. I have so many vegetarian meals I enjoy cooking, and I will really enjoy eating this year, I think.

I’ve set my goals a lot lower than normal, but I think a big part of that is I’m no longer holding onto older versions of myself. I still have it in the back of my mind to make a website, but why? I still want to get my MFA in Photography, but for what? A lot of the things I wanted to do or goals I wanted to reach don’t have much weight in my current life. I still want to get a Master of SOMETHING, but I think I might prefer to do it online, when I have the time, in something like international studies or languages.

I still want to learn to play the harp or gou zheng, but I need the time and a teacher. I’m trying to save time at the moment. Once I do that, then I can add these things back to the list.

Setting fewer goals so I can focus more on them. I hope I can achieve all of this in 2016.