2016, Meet 2017

When I first moved this blog over to Ghost, I had ambitions to write more and put more of my stuff on the web. After all, what’s the value of controlling and owning your own domain without building a productive space for writing and thinking?

Alas, like most side-projects, nothing much came of it. I had one main idea to inspire me to write. I planned on featuring writers and websites that made up most of my media diet, and although I’m as observant and keen as ever about supporting creators who make good stuff, that desire to create hasn’t struck me in the same way. So here I am, burdened with the same old excuses about “not having enough time.”1

Despite the state of the world, 2016 was good to me. I’m not one to reflect on the passing of time, but my memories from this year involve reconnecting with team sports and trying to be a runner, including my first marathon and a PR in the half-marathon. I made new friends and enjoyed life. I went to the coast, learned new skills, taught a class, and tried to be an adult.2 I made conscious decisions to avoid spreading myself too thin. I stopped being haunted by my former life as a graduate student in the humanities.

How is 2017 shaping up for me? As always, I want to read and write more, and I want to continue running. I want to experience a university course from the perspective of a working adult, and put myself to the test by applying learning technologies in the process.3 I want to challenge myself with new work projects and network more. This will come as a surprise to my friends, but I may even want to travel.4

I don’t make “resolutions” as we’ve come to know them, but I want to find time to unplug from online and social media. Before winter, running outside was a perfect outlet for that, but since the temperature has dipped, I’ve fallen into old habits. It’s true that I’m not always the most active participant on social media, but 2016 has taught me that I need to reign in and reflect on what media I consume and why.5 Despite their indisputable value for news, entertainment, networking, and learning, I spend too much time on Twitter and Reddit. As others have said, I’m not quitting social media, but I do need to scale back my use of it.

My immediate resolution is to finishing a post in my drafts called “Writers and media I liked in 2016.”

And now, a cliché:

Here’s to making 2017 a prosperous and happy year!

  1. The truth is that “not enough time” actually means “not a priority.” Making time for things that matter is how we stay sane and improve our lives. In the moment, failing to make time for reading and writing seems like a small matter, but these things always comes back around. 

  2. I won’t bore you with my many failings and shortcomings, but I can assure you there are several. They don’t need to be documented, but the evidence of a central flaw is right here on this website. I start something new in a fit of inspiration, like this poor blog, then neglect it and let it die. 

  3. I’m not sure what I have in mind for this. I’ve started “The World Since 1945,” a course about post-World War II history and the Cold War. In most respects, it’s a traditional humanities course, with lectures, readings, discussions, proposals, reviews, and essays. I’d like to use my knowledge of the web to create a digital project based on what I learn, but the right thing hasn’t quite formed yet. I’ll keep you updated. 

  4. Yes, you heard that right. 

  5. I do occasionally ramp up posting on Twitter and Reddit, then slowly let those accounts collect dust (like this blog) until circumstances change and I’m suddenly inspired to unfurl my unfiltered nonsense onto the world. 

Written on January 10, 2017