What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?


Every year around this time, people start to feel a little sentimental.  I don’t know if it’s the fact that families and friends are usually together over the holidays, or if it’s the closure of yet another year that makes us want to reflect back on what we’ve accomplished (or not) in the past twelve months.  Regardless, the sentimentality of the season tends to morph into some (often) misplaced desire to better oneself.  What I wish that people would understand is that it shouldn’t take December 31st to make you realize that there may be things in your life that need changing…working on…improving.  There’s no need to wait to resolve to do something.

It’s almost comical to see the commercials on tv this time of year – they almost always have to do with weight loss.  Considering losing weight is one of the top ten New Year’s resolutions on anyone’s list, I’d say the weight loss companies out there are anything but wasting money on them.  Another extremely popular resolution is to get healthier – be it through quitting smoking, exercising more or eating better.  Personal finances are also usually mentioned on the list of resolutions people make – people want to make more money, save more money or just plain get out of debt.  While all of these resolutions are really nice, unless you really just tackle them in the here and now, you’ll probably just get stuck in that resolution cycle of making and then breaking the promise to yourself.  But probably everyone I know has made a list of resolutions at some point in their life…

Even this guy makes resolutions...least he never tried to invade Canada... (Source: Nature's Graffiti)

I haven’t made resolutions in a number of years, but I almost always do spend some time in retrospect towards the completion of the calendar year.  I like to think about where my life is headed, and see if I’m on track.  I don’t really have a five-year plan or anything as stringent as that, but I have a general idea of what direction I’d like my life to be taking.  When I look back on this year, I start to think of all of those things that I’d never have dreamed I’d have accomplished had I tried to imagine them exactly one year ago today.

So instead of coming up with a list of resolutions for myself for 2011, I’ve decided to come up with a list of resolutions for 2010 that I never would have made in my wildest dreams last year.

1)     Get a better job

Don’t get me wrong – my previous job was truly full of opportunity for me.  I learned a lot, and absolutely loved the people I worked with.  I miss them all dearly.  However, I never expected to be able to land a job within the field of study that I spent years of my life in school for.  I’m so excited to get back into GIS again…I love cartography.  This is right where I’ve wanted to be for a long time.  Some people never get to experience this for their whole lives.  For me, being able to land a job in my field within a decade of finishing school makes me feel very fortunate.  My hat’s off to Andrew for putting me on to this opportunity!

2)     Move to a new place

I had some thoughts about moving to a new apartment in the past year.  Perhaps even from Kitchener to Cambridge in order to be closer to work.  But wow!  Who starts the year thinking “I should probably move to Nunavut this year”?  I sure didn’t.  I’m not certain why I never had the thought cross my mind before, especially since, as a geographer, these are the kinds of opportunities that I should probably be looking for.  I suppose that I was afraid of taking such a huge step.  I’ve never lived more than a couple hours’ drive from my family, so out of the territory is a big step for me – especially sight unseen.  It was probably a hindrance to consider relocation expenses, so when an opportunity arises where you don’t have to worry about those, you take it!  And now I live in the Arctic…hmm…who’da thunk it?

3)     Get my blood sugars under control

As a diabetic with a candy fetish, it’s hard to keep good, tight control of my blood sugar.  I never would have expected – even though I recently acquired an insulin pump – that this would be the year where I would finally regain some sort of control over my blood sugar levels.  I’m very proud of myself for reigning in my eating habits a little bit too.  While the pump can help control blood sugar of even the worst of eaters, it takes more than a little bit of insulin to normalize oneself.  I’ve really been trying to behave this year, and it’s definitely helped.

4)     Improve my financial outlook

I have felt for a few years that I’ve been spinning my wheels.  I’ve been slowly trying to pay down my debt, but in not saving any money while doing so, it’s hard to prevent getting further into debt if you have a bad week or month.  This year however, I managed to continue to pay down my debt and open a couple of investment savings accounts to help me look towards the future.  I would like to retire someday.  Really, I would.  This should help.

5)     Become more active

Now that I live in the north, I have stopped driving again.  It goes without saying that I’ve been walking everywhere I need to go (save for a couple of cab rides when I haven’t known where I’m going or have a load of groceries).  I also live on the third floor of an apartment building, so I have stairs I can take instead of the elevator, and let’s face it – every little bit counts.  And these little things add up and help make it easier to just go for a walk when I feel like something recreational.  Hopefully more opportunities will present themselves in the coming months – I’m looking forward to winter recreational activities up here in Nunavut.

6)     Spend more time with my family

This has been a bittersweet year for that.  While I did get to spend a lot of time with my mom, brother and nephew this summer, now that I’ve moved away, that will make it very difficult to see them as often as I’d like.  However, this move has also facilitated my ability to spend more time with Ian considering my commute is effectively a couple of flights of stairs.  It’s very nice being able to come home for lunch and just spend that little part of the day with my husband and our kitties.  I’m sure it breaks the day up nicely for both of us – it’s a change of pace.

So there you have it – my unexpected changes that could have been resolutions, but probably would not have been accomplished if I’d made them last year.  You just really have to do what you know will help you work towards a change – you can’t put it off.  The time for change is now.  Don’t resolve to do something…just do it!  Hmm…maybe Nike had the right idea after all…

Waiting in Vain


Have you ever made a decision that required…well, something…that would feed back the next step to you?  It took a lot of weighing the options to make the decision, so after all the thought that went into it, you’re finally content that you made the right one.  But then…you wait.

That’s exactly where I am right now.  Waiting.  I feel like I’ve already made the changes in my life that I’m trying to make, and all systems are go.  But they really aren’t.  And it’s so hard to go through the waiting part.

Why do we, as human beings, sometimes bank so much on the choices we make?  There’s typically a bigger chance that the choice we want isn’t even a realistic option.  We try to obtain an item, or go down another path…and it doesn’t work out.  We routinely set ourselves up for the eventual fall.  Should we ever really get our hopes up about anything?

I think that’s what bothers me the most about hope…”don’t get your hopes up” is such a common warning.  Well, why not?  So we won’t be disappointed, I suppose.  Though sometimes disappointment is what drives us to push even further to achieve what we want and get where we want to be.  Unfortunately, if you’re like me, you plan several scenarios for yourself.  Multiple pathways to the same hopeful outcome.  And when none of those outcomes lead where you wanted them to, well…it’s not pretty.  All that work…for nothing.

Can we fight our human nature to prevent such disappointment?  Perhaps…but if we do, then what?  Sure, we might end up preventing disappointment, but then we stagnate.  We become complacent with our lives and never strive for change.  I say make your life changing decisions and flirt with the possibility that you’ll be disappointed.  Because when you find the one decision that finally sticks, the waiting in vain will have all been worth it.