Friday, December 31, 2010

Resolution Roundup

Here is what I resolved to do in 2010 and whether or not I did it.

1. I will follow a physical fitness program to maintain strength, flexibility, and endurance, plus I will run a six and a half minute mile and a 45 minute 10k.

Ha ha, well that was a terrible overestimation of my abilities. I already revisited this one a few months ago, to remove the speed goal, concerned that I would injure myself. I did maintain a daily physical regime until late in October when there was a bit of a disruption to my routine, but I picked it up again in December, except on indoor gym equipment, so I can't compare speed in a meaningful way. I'll assume that I made the adjustment before the course drop deadline and award myself a C+ for the amended schedule.

2. I will contact someone I know in real life but don't work with or live with every day. That can be an e-mail, a postcard, a phone call or a visit and it has to be a hundred different people over the year.

This was intended as a way of maintaining contact with long term friends, and to keep me from cocooning in a strange hotel room, or just vegging out and catching up on recorded TV when I got home from work. I did the daily contact diligently for three months, and out of that came a cross-country airplane trip that wasn't for work, and two long road trips to visit friends unseen from as far back as the 1980s. I revisited the medevac pilot who didn't fly me out of the untracked north because her airplane was broken, but who instead provided emotional rescue at the time. Those reunions alone were worth the resolution. Sometimes you see someone again after a long time and they turn out to be even better than you remembered.

There are lots of people I still haven't made enough effort to see, and sadly some bounced letters and e-mails sent to people I now can't reach. I was adding up the contacts to see if I made my hundred when I realized why I'm so bad at keeping track of who I should keep track of. A few of you will remember a few life epochs ago for me when I had almost everything I owned stolen by a small gang of teenagers and wasn't able to catch them despite calling the police and limping after them until I passed out. One of the things taken was a pocket computer (I think it was a Windows CE PDA, but I called it a Palm Pilot) and while I lost very little data, I have never since collected all my contacts into one place. so I have Facebook friends and e-mail friends, and other e-mail account friends and paper address book friends and friends whose address must be either in that directory for that organization I joined, or else their business card is in that box over there (please tell me I'm not the only one with one of those scary boxes), and friends I have a phone number for stored in that old cellphone that doesn't have a plan anymore and stupid as this sounds, even friends that I can only contact through intermediaries. As in "hey Jennifer, let's get together, see if Kevin can come too." Because Jennifer and Kevin used to live next door to one another, see, so I only needed to ... okay it's incredibly stupid, but that's what happened.

So, combing through my various lists in mid-December I counted only eighty unique people I knew in real life before the year began, whom I had reached out to in 2010. So I started to give myself a bad mark on this item, when I realized that December is tailor-made for saying hi to and inviting over people whom you haven't seen all year. I'm writing this on the 14th and I'm up to ninety-four, so I'm confident that I'll reach my target by the end of the year. I don't get an A for this because I did cocoon a little, but I think I deserve a B+.

3. Any day I don't fly IFR in real life, I will fly at least one approach on my flight simulator game, and I won't blog until that's done.

And that was a complete disaster. I did this so rarely there is no way I can get above an E grade here. That's the lowest grade in my alphabet. I didn't want to practice doing things incorrectly, so I did things properly, but the tasks of setting up the simulator to do what I wanted to, finding charts, planning the flights, getting the joystick working or working out the keyboard commands made it not fun. For the few occasions I kept this, I blogged several days entries after one sim session, just to avoid having to reconfigure the computer every day. Suggestions welcome.

4. Whenever I get home on a break from work I will, in addition to the usual litany of perennial maintenance tasks, assign myself one new project to complete.

Ha! I just found a big loophole here. I did assign myself projects to complete, every time. Now ask how many I actually completed. Oh I'm so funny. I can't believe I didn't catch this when I assigned it. I'm usually very careful about rules. Do I dare give myself an A+ for loophole exploiting? I think I'll mark this as "incomplete," just like that curtain I bought the fabric for in about 2007.

What thinking about this brings home to me is that there is no such thing as a permanently completed task. Either it's "end world hunger" and it's never completed, or it's "steam clean rug" and it will need doing again next year. Permanently incomplete.

5. I will not let this list of responsibilities, nor other lesser pastimes, stand in the way of new adventures.

And this one is the payoff! I blew off everything in sight to go to two foreign continents for fun this year. In unreported stories, I rode a helicopter to the top of a mountain, a horse up and down mountainous trails, and a rented bicycle over cobblestone streets. And believe it or not I'm usually the one who misses adventures because she has bound herself to responsibilities. An unqualified A+ for this one.

For the year, I think that's a B- average. I mark these pretty easy, don't I? I'll try to do better next year, both with loophole-free resolutions and keeping them. If you're short on accomplishments for the year, you can always use T-Rex' method.


nec Timide said...

When I was doing subordinate evaluations in the Forces one trick I learned from a former boss was to get the subordinate to write their own evaluation and work from there. Most people are really hard on themselves. I think you fall into that group here. Since one of your adventures helped get needy people into new houses I think you deserve some bonus marks. There are probably other areas where you can bump your mark up a bit. At least that's what it looks like from this side of the blog.

Aviatrix said...

That's why I gave myself an A+ on that one. Unscheduled adventures seems to be my forté.

townmouse said...

Definitely adopting the T-rex method for this year. Some years, just keeping on keeping on is achievement enough

zb said...

An unreported ride in a helicopter? No way!

I especially admire the B+ for getting in touch with 100 old friends. I don't belong to any online network like facebook, and my account at Electronics and Robotics Stack Exchange, however fun, is far from contributing to my social contacts. I do have a big mess when it gets to keeping contacts in one place and I am happy if I manage to just answer my good ol' e-Mails. You could really count this one as an A grade by making 80 people 100 % and counting everything above 80 people as pure amazing bonus points way beyond an A.

Your description of the different places where you keep your contact information sounds sooo familiar, except that for me, the list would have to include old mail envelopes with senders' addresses on them, and only 20 % of this type of physical contact data is in a box; the rest is somewhere in the mess on my desk. It works better than it sounds, but it's still a mess. I should make a new year's resolution about this issue.

zb said...

@ townmouse: True, but doesn't keeping on keeping on sound a bit too pessimistic, after all?

Aviation blogger Sam has a very nice article about it, called Keep Your Nose Clean!.

And folk-music artist Devon Sproule even goes a bit further on the positive-sounding route and calls it Keep Your Silver Shined.

John said...

You are being far too hard on yourself.

When I set annual goals for my direct reports, I not only set specific goals but I also weight the relative importance of the goals. You seem to weight all goals equally; I believe you should grant more weight to goals that are not oriented at 'self'.

You helped build houses in Cambodia. More than that, you helped raise funds for that effort, and contributed in a very big way to your team's success in that area. You not only get an A+, but that goal has more weight than running fast.

Give yourself at least a B+ overall; if I were rating you, I'd give you an A-, because you also bring joy to countless readers by sharing parts of you life with us.

Happy New Year!

majroj said...

Well, you forgot your marks for "Work Habits" and "Citizenship" or whatever.

"E" for "excellent" all around I suspect. (Well, there IS that box...what are it's dimentions and how full is it?).

Or....toss it. What are you hanging on to (physically or metaphorically) that teenaged punks (actually or metaphorically) could steal and really hurt you? What if your house burned today, how liberated would you feel if certain things went up in smoke?

Done good, keep it up.

Aviatrix said...

majroj, excellent point about the teenaged hooligans. Why, there are things I own that I would be delighted to have hooligans haul away for me.

There are things I've given away in cleanouts that I still miss, though. Once I brought some old items to a thrift shop, then walked around the block and asked for one item back. It now has a place of honour on my bookshelf, although it's not a book. It's a plane. A carpenter's plane, a little visual pun for my guests, as it sits next to a model airplane, and a reminder for me of the person who used to own it.

majroj said...

Ach, I hear you. I have bought, re-donated, then re-bought used books from the library a couple of times.

I was going to point out that the sim card from your dead cell could hold the contacts you mentioned and be read off another live phone, but since you've done so well without...

Aviatrix said...

1. My phone is definitely not the vessel I have chosen to keep all contact information.

2. The technology that allows sim swapping is either newer than my telephone or too friendly to be embraced by the telephone companies between which I have switched cellular service in my employment odyssey.

majroj said...

Give that phone to a charity then and press onwards! If people really want you, they can find you.