For most of December the majority of my social media were full of memes or jokes depicting how awful 2016 was, some even looked to the new year as a savior from the lousiness of 2016. Yes, there were a plethora of beloved artists’ deaths, but this is nothing new. Yes, the United States elected an orange, angry emoji-man-thing as president, but let’s use his election as a watershed moment to become a more loving and accepting nation. And yes, atrocities occurred often enough to desensitize (regular mass shootings and blatant bigotry in bedrock institutions of our society, to name just two), but these are symptoms of xenophobic and, now, sadly intrinsic qualities in our country. Again, let’s use these horrors as motivations to become better than we have been.
But good things also happened, even if they were not on the macro level like the aforementioned. Personally, I made new friends, deepened other relationships, took risks that I’m proud of, and learned much about myself and others.
And how could I forget that I have a new best friend and roommate, Franklin the wonder pug.
Not everything was wonderful in my bubble, but without the bad, I wouldn’t appreciate the good, no matter how great or small. This is what was forgotten this December with all of the hashtags and posts dismissing 2016 as the year from hell.
2017 isn’t a messiah to right the wrongs and mishaps of 2016; rather, it’s a soft reboot of time for us to resolve to be better than we were two days ago.
With that being said, here’s a few of my own resolutions!
1. Read 52 books. This was a 2016 ambition that I narrowly missed at 46. I gave myself a pass due to my list being reserved solely for graphic novels and full-length books. I know I read more than 52 books’ worth had I included ongoing comics I followed, essays and stories I read randomly. Also, it was my first try and I did pretty darn well. This year I hope to surpass 52 on the list, still excluding comics and extraneous stories and articles.
2. Watch 52 films. I used to watch an unhealthy amount of television, which is what inspired the first resolution for 2016. Most of it was whatever the latest superhero show or bingeable show on streaming services. Or The X-Files, but that show is good for your soul so there are no worries there. For 2017 I’d like to up my movie intake instead of sticking to TV shows that might end up disappointing overall. Also, cinema is awesome: you can accomplish anything with the right mindset in 90-180 minutes.
3. Write, record, and release six songs (excluding covers). Playing bass and singing in my band (We have a single coming out soon and an EP in the upcoming months!) has renewed my love for creating music. I’m self-taught on everything I play, and I’m still extremely shy about my voice, but I’d like to work at improving my game in order to up the ante of what I can create. Recording music fascinates me on an abstract and theoretical level, so that’s an added bonus and enticement to write more songs.
4. Write (at least) 500 words a day. I haven’t written a full story since my senior thesis in college. Even then, I just used parts of my capstone and older stories I reworked in other classes due to a creative and general burnout. My fires are stoked again, though, and I wish to keep fanning its flames. Of all the advice on writing I’ve read, the one rule that everyone agrees on is the discipline to write when it is difficult and you’re uninspired. I usually waited for inspiration to strike to write. This year that changes, and this post is proof of that.
How are you resolved to be better than you were last year?