28 votes

What changes are you looking to make in 2022?

Let's not call them resolutions. Resolutions seem to get a bad reputation for inevitably ending in failure. No need for any grand declaration. What's been kicking around your brain lately in regards to self-improvement and trying to become a better you as another year comes to a close?

55 comments

  1. [3]
    simplify
    Link
    I've personally been thinking about a lot of things. These last two years have been pretty abysmal and have really knocked me off my game. It's been a depressing time for most people, and with the...

    I've personally been thinking about a lot of things. These last two years have been pretty abysmal and have really knocked me off my game. It's been a depressing time for most people, and with the new Omicron variant it just seems like we're in for more of the same. But I can't have another year like the last two.

    I'm a romance novelist, a writer of pulp fiction, and I totally messed up these last two years. In 2020, I didn't write at all. I just coasted on my back catalog, which I'm paying for now. I also played with the idea of getting out of writing, getting back into tech, and I started resharpening my coding skills. But every day felt like I wanted something different. I'd wake up feeling like I absolutely wanted to continue being a writer. Then the next day I'd wake up feeling like I just had to get back into tech. It went on like that for a while.

    In 2021, I've been better about writing. I wrote a few books early on in the year, and then I dedicated myself for a handful of months to learning some technologies and searching for a job. But I realized in doing that, I was just scared. I was scared of not being able to turn back from my writing career. I recently turned 40 and it's been a bit of a mindfuck. I didn't expect it to be like this. I feel behind, lost, a little rudderless. Thankfully, I've been writing again full-time since late August and I'm about to finish my third novel in that time period.

    But I need to write more. On average, I write 2-3K words per day, Monday through Friday. I want to double that. I know that seems like a lot, and it certainly is, but when your writing muscle has been strengthened as much as mine has over the 7(!) years I've been doing this, sometimes those words just come to you and you can blast through 1K words in half an hour. And let's be honest, I'm writing mass entertainment. Gravity's Rainbow it ain't.

    Additionally... I need to pivot. I need to get out of the genre I write in. It's just not me. I don't share it with friends and family. Very few people in my life have seen any of my work for these 7 years and what I do is just a vague mystery to them. I've written under a pen name and I got stuck writing about stuff that isn't me because it paid the bills. I have ideas of what I'd like to do next--probably somewhat geeky, somewhat absurdist romantic comedies--but it's so hard to change with the inertia I have of almost three dozen books behind me. It's starting from scratch.

    I have to keep writing what I write. But I also need to work on something new, something I feel proud of, something I can share. I feel like I need to be banging out 4-5K words a day. Currently, I finish my 2-3K words in about two or three hours. If I can really get focused, get some better motivation, I should be able to sit down at my desk for five to six hours and get these words written.

    That's the big thing I need to work on in 2022.

    I'd also like to quit drinking at home. These Corona Years have been demoralizing, and it's definitely lead to me drinking too much wine. I'll make exceptions if I have someone visiting, if I'm visiting someone, or if I happen to grab a beer at my local brewery once a week outside by the bonfire. But I need to be better. I need to dry out.

    I want to eat less meat, or none at all. I was a vegetarian for about ten years, then I added fish in for about another ten years, and now I'm kind of eating whatever. But just the other day I watched this documentary about salmon farming in Norway and it brought back so many of my personal reasons for wanting to avoid meat. Specific to how I'm feeling now, factory farming can just be so toxic to humans. People are going to keep eating all this chemically-imbued meat, but I don't have to participate. That being said, I'm thinking that if I can know and understand precisely where the meat came from and know how it was treated, that's a different story. I recently had some smoked lamb that was raised by these super crunchy organic farming hippies local to me, the farmers were there during the whole thing, and it was delicious. But if something comes from half the world away, I just don't need to eat it.

    I need to get off Reddit. Full-stop. It's gone so far downhill over the last few years, as we all know, and now with this IPO announcement I imagine it'll get even worse. It's been bad for my mental health. It's full of toxic people. I need off this ride. But the dopamine scroll merry-go-round is just so powerful. I've tried many times to get off Reddit, but I always go back. I think I do it when I'm bored. Instead of reading Reddit, I should be picking up my e-reader and reading a book.

    There's other stuff circling my mind, but I think those are all the big ones. I just need to get more focused and serious. Even though I have a career in writing, it doesn't really feel like it. Being a writer is all I've ever wanted. I don't really care about notoriety. I'm a private person. But sometimes it feels like the only way to really make a career out of it is to really try to make a name for yourself. Honestly, I just want to write good, entertaining stories and make people happy. It's a lot harder to figure out than it might seem.

    15 votes
    1. [2]
      beanie
      Link Parent
      That's a good description. I honestly just wanted to say that. You mentioned that you want to make entertaining stores that make people happy; that one-liner made me happy. It kinda reminded me of...

      But the dopamine scroll merry-go-round is just so powerful.

      That's a good description. I honestly just wanted to say that. You mentioned that you want to make entertaining stores that make people happy; that one-liner made me happy. It kinda reminded me of Andrew Sean Greer's "Less" (I thought the way the main character described things were unconventional, yet spot on).

      Also, I like the goals.

      The lock-down was a doozy and I hear you in wanting to get out of the rut even though the background music which is Covid is still going on. Maybe we're growing callus to it? We know how to emotionally work through the tough situation and continue living? Maybe we learned how to live in the new normal? I'll leave the cool descriptions to you. Keep going bud!

      4 votes
      1. simplify
        Link Parent
        Thank you for the well wishes and camaraderie. I will certainly keep going, because I suppose that's all I can do! Admittedly, I live in a kind of isolated area that hasn't been hit particularly...

        Thank you for the well wishes and camaraderie. I will certainly keep going, because I suppose that's all I can do!

        Admittedly, I live in a kind of isolated area that hasn't been hit particularly hard by Covid. I do have a friend who was hospitalized with it in 2020, but thankfully he turned out okay. My little clique of friends are pretty much all already boosted and thus we live this almost-normal life again. Not completely, of course, but we don't really mask around each other and we regularly meet up for a beer. I've felt fortunate this whole time to live where I live, because it feels like an oasis from all the trouble. That being said, I'm still empathetic to the rest of the world outside my bubble, and it causes me psychic pain to consider all the death, illness, divisiveness, and vitriol that has burdened our culture. And it kinda just feels like it's going to get worse...

        4 votes
  2. [4]
    Omnicrola
    Link
    Find me. I'm in the middle of a divorce, so there's already a fair bit of self-reflection going on, along with rediscovering pieces of myself that I had just straight up forgotten about. But I...

    Find me. I'm in the middle of a divorce, so there's already a fair bit of self-reflection going on, along with rediscovering pieces of myself that I had just straight up forgotten about. But I feel like in some ways I've also been coasting along for a long, long time. Doing things that interest me, but never making any long-term plans or goals. I recently turned 40 (hi @simplify) and that on top of a pandemic on top of a divorce is absolutely putting my sense of self in a blender.

    I've already started engaging in a hobby in deep way for the first time in a very long time (see here), and I want to take it further. Just for the joy I find in it.

    I also really, really want to get in better shape. I don't need to get swol, but I do need to not be ..... whatever this shape is. Potato probably. Running a 5k I think is a solid goal to try and strive for next year.

    14 votes
    1. [2]
      simplify
      Link Parent
      Hi @Omnicrola :) First, it sounds like you're at a major crossroads in life. That can be both exciting and frightening as hell. Fortunately for you, you really get to decide where you go from...

      Hi @Omnicrola :)

      First, it sounds like you're at a major crossroads in life. That can be both exciting and frightening as hell. Fortunately for you, you really get to decide where you go from here. I think your 3D printing hobby is awesome, especially because I have no 3D printing experience and it's crazy that you can create something so detailed. That's art. Art is just the best thing ever.

      Being 40 is weird. I never thought I'd feel like this, because I'm pretty unflappable about a lot of things. But this age really is a milestone that makes you take stock of where you've been and where you're going. I've been coasting, too, and I lack long-term plans. I don't know if it's a bad thing, to be honest. It can be scary, which is why I'd been feeling so manic about my career situation. But it does set you apart from a lot of people. I think trying to control everything in your life can give you a false sense of purpose and misplaced ownership of... well... chaos. COVID has definitely shown us how chaotic this world truly is. Best laid plans, and all that.

      I want to be in better shape, too, but I'm pretty wiry already, just with a bit of a gut. I want to get rid of that. About a year ago I had a physical and my doctor mentioned my cholesterol was a bit high--not worthy of pills, but getting there--so I'm trying to figure that out as well. I found this study showing how French-press coffee raises LDL cholesterol... and screw me, I'd been drinking French-press daily for fifteen years. So I gave up coffee completely for four months, and now I'll drink a chai tea in the morning. I also ate eggs every day and I've given that up, first in favor of granola and now I've just going to do oatmeal. All that, mixed with some half-hearted intermittent fasting, as well as some hiking, and I hope I can just maintain a chill, but healthy lifestyle. Getting older is weird.

      7 votes
      1. Omnicrola
        Link Parent
        I definitely enjoy the artistry of it. I've tried making games off and on for years, since I love to code and design systems and what not. Making a game is a mix of art, design, and technical...

        it's crazy that you can create something so detailed. That's art. Art is just the best thing ever.

        I definitely enjoy the artistry of it. I've tried making games off and on for years, since I love to code and design systems and what not. Making a game is a mix of art, design, and technical skill and so is this model/prop making, but the proportions are different. It seems much more artistic and I'm loving it. That project I linked has snowballed, I'm also building a box to keep the thing in that I will include as part of the gift. I had so many ideas, it's good that Xmas gives me a deadline or this could get way too ambitious.

        But this age really is a milestone that makes you take stock of where you've been and where you're going.

        Same. I actually turned 40 a year ago, and had started taking stock of my life a year before that (so 2019). I ended up making a significant career adjustment after carefully considering what I wanted to do and why I wanted to do it. I have the great fortune to work in a field that was in high demand even before the pandemic (software development) so being able to very choosy about who I worked for was incredible.

        I think trying to control everything in your life can give you a false sense of purpose

        Yea definitely don't want to do down that path. But want to start establishing some longer term goals to aim for. And if I decide a year or 5 from now that I don't like them any more, change them. But at least there's a goal in mind to shoot for, to talk to friends about, to network and build skills toward, etc.

        Good on you for changing your food habits! I've been shifting things around bit by bit. I've always liked cooking, but I got really into cooking during 2020 along with a lot of other folks. Except I would cook a thing that was ment for 2-3 people, then eat all of it, because there was nobody to share it with. Went in to get my physical at the beginning of 2021 and had gained almost 20lbs. I've managed to drop all of it since then, which I'm really proud of. Small things like, instead of eating a heavy dinner, most nights I eat one of those prepackaged salads. No prep, not even warming in a microwave, no excuse. Just pour it into a bowl and eat it. I also deliberately bought the lower-tier parking pass for work, so that I'm forced to walk 10-15min to get to the building I work in 3 days a week.

        4 votes
    2. jcrabapple
      Link Parent
      I went through a rough divorce a few years ago. Sounds like you've got a plan and a good head on your shoulders. You'll come out of it a better person. If you need to talk, let me know.

      I went through a rough divorce a few years ago. Sounds like you've got a plan and a good head on your shoulders. You'll come out of it a better person. If you need to talk, let me know.

      5 votes
  3. [2]
    lou
    (edited )
    Link
    Whatever the result, 2022 is the year I will finally find out if I'm on the autism spectrum or not, and I will deal with whatever information I get from that process. It would be nice to find a...

    Whatever the result, 2022 is the year I will finally find out if I'm on the autism spectrum or not, and I will deal with whatever information I get from that process.

    It would be nice to find a good psychotherapist, someone who's smart and I can trust.

    I may or may not become a father. I may or may not get married. Probably not.

    I wanna become a literary translator. Hopefully I'll take some concrete steps towards that.

    10 votes
    1. circaechos
      Link Parent
      My mom helpfully offered to me that ASD is just a label. Granted, a diagnostic, pathologized label, but a label all the same. You'll still be you, regardless of what comes back. I'm happy to chat...

      My mom helpfully offered to me that ASD is just a label. Granted, a diagnostic, pathologized label, but a label all the same. You'll still be you, regardless of what comes back.
      I'm happy to chat if you want a buddy! That all was kind of a doozy for me, even without going for an official diagnosis. Claiming identity labels is just a bit of a mess.

      7 votes
  4. [2]
    ras
    Link
    As utterly cliche as it is, I want to get back into shape. Two years ago I was in great shape. Then I had the flu, then appendicitis, and almost as soon as I had recovered from that COVID hit. I...

    As utterly cliche as it is, I want to get back into shape. Two years ago I was in great shape. Then I had the flu, then appendicitis, and almost as soon as I had recovered from that COVID hit. I fell out of the habit and I've felt like hot crap ever since. I'm still not crazy about going to a gym with COVID still raging, so I think I'm going to build one in my garage.

    8 votes
    1. beanie
      Link Parent
      You have been bamboozled with so many health issues! You're a survivor dude! Let us know how your garage gym set up develops (I believe there's a weekly fitness thread)! Keep going, you go this!

      You have been bamboozled with so many health issues! You're a survivor dude! Let us know how your garage gym set up develops (I believe there's a weekly fitness thread)! Keep going, you go this!

      6 votes
  5. [2]
    cardigan
    Link
    I need to find a way to get over an intense but peculiar kind of social anxiety that I have, one which I can't really seem to find any help with or resources about. But despite having more or less...

    I need to find a way to get over an intense but peculiar kind of social anxiety that I have, one which I can't really seem to find any help with or resources about. But despite having more or less the same level of social anxiety as other "anxious" people, I am extremely and unpredictably afraid of certain kinds of communication: typically things like text messages, letters, forum comments, and emails.

    I can't recall ever having an experience bad enough with one of those to make me this afraid of them. It doesn't matter how close I am to the person, as I've neglected opening things I've received from my best friend in the world for over a year before and on more than one occasion, just because I've been afraid of what it might say. I would get panic attacks every time I thought about it. This extends to every other part of my life: things as simple as bills; texts from people I'm trying to plan something with; answers to yes or no questions; whatever. Sometimes they're fine, and sometimes they throw me into an acute state of panic. I hate it, and often do wish I could be invisible and inaudible so that I wouldn't have to deal with it. Then, I get depressed because I feel invisible, and everything starts over again.

    So, that's what I hope to change.

    8 votes
    1. rosco
      Link Parent
      I'm glad you were able to make this post and hope you can make the progress you're hoping for. I want to throw in a suggestion to be easy on yourself. If you still have apprehension about those...

      I'm glad you were able to make this post and hope you can make the progress you're hoping for. I want to throw in a suggestion to be easy on yourself. If you still have apprehension about those kinds of communication it is ok.

      2 votes
  6. knocklessmonster
    Link
    Positivity. It's broad, and that's sort of the point: Instead of one hyper-focused goal it's a life to chip away at. Charitable interpretations of what people say, polite redirection of negative...

    Positivity. It's broad, and that's sort of the point: Instead of one hyper-focused goal it's a life to chip away at. Charitable interpretations of what people say, polite redirection of negative thoughts, if not ignorance of them. Avoiding unnecessary negativity, be it my complaining, or gossiping about others.

    It seems like something anybody would be working on, but this pandemic sorta messed me up. I said and did things that were rooted in previous bad attitudes and ideas, and it strained my, and others' relationships, at least in the short term. The things I learned from these mistakes really shook some things loose, and gave me a ton to think about, opened new, necessary conversations, and seemed to change the affected relationships for the better. I want to keep on that, but with prevention.

    7 votes
  7. [15]
    3_3_2_LA
    Link
    Here we gooooooo 🎉 Make more music -- at least a track a month. Learn how to play the acoustic guitar if I have the same level of free time as I do now. Get regular blood tests done every quarter...

    Here we gooooooo 🎉

    • Make more music -- at least a track a month.
    • Learn how to play the acoustic guitar if I have the same level of free time as I do now.
    • Get regular blood tests done every quarter so I have a better picture into my overall health.
    • Read 26+ nonfiction books this year -- that's one every two weeks (recommendations welcome!).
    • Actively try to be more patient with people around me especially when they ask me for tech help.
    • Cut down on how much I eat out and become better at jugaad cooking with stuff I have in the pantry -- currently I eat out twice or thrice a week and I'm gonna reduce that to once every week.
    • Run a 5K -- this is more of a cardio goal.
    • Work on getting more involved in helping out the people in my neighborhood. I'm thinking foodbanks, etc. I wish my friends would join me so that it would be more fun.
    • Check in on the people in my life more often.

    Some are quantifiable, some are not. And all of these are easily achievable because I've lived enough years to know that incremental self-improvements are the way to go, for me at least.

    7 votes
    1. [4]
      Spyder
      Link Parent
      Been learning the acoustic guitar recently myself, it's an absolute blast and really nice to play, especially when you realise most songs use basic open chords. The finger pain is annoying at...

      Been learning the acoustic guitar recently myself, it's an absolute blast and really nice to play, especially when you realise most songs use basic open chords. The finger pain is annoying at first but that should fade after a while.

      In terms of recommendations, well it's more of a historical fiction, as the author doesn't have the full information of parts and has had to recreate the story told by one man into an entertaining whole, but Beneath A Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan really was an enjoyable read, and at least most of the book is events that actually happened.

      Seems like a really good list of self-improvements, good luck in achieving them :D

      6 votes
      1. [3]
        3_3_2_LA
        Link Parent
        Are you referring to the I, IV, and V chords? If so, I guess a capo would make playing different music in different scales easier! And thanks for the book rec -- the blurb has got me intrigued....

        ...especially when you realise most songs use basic open chords.

        Are you referring to the I, IV, and V chords? If so, I guess a capo would make playing different music in different scales easier!

        And thanks for the book rec -- the blurb has got me intrigued. Time to pony up some dosh to Bezos :P

        2 votes
        1. [2]
          bilbodwyer
          Link Parent
          I suspect they mean more of the CAGED chords and the relevant minors that don't require barres to play. That being said: learning to play barre chords properly is dead useful, and worth doing even...

          Are you referring to the I, IV, and V chords? If so, I guess a capo would make playing different music in different scales easier!

          I suspect they mean more of the CAGED chords and the relevant minors that don't require barres to play. That being said: learning to play barre chords properly is dead useful, and worth doing even if you have a capo! You'll end up learning more interesting chord voicings, and it makes playing jazzier chords (such as 7ths) much easier when the time comes.

          4 votes
          1. Spyder
            Link Parent
            ^^^^^ This, exactly this. I’m a beginner myself so I still need to get educated a whole lot more. I’m just at the moment trying to take the jump to barre chords, but I have ordered a capo since it...

            ^^^^^ This, exactly this.

            I’m a beginner myself so I still need to get educated a whole lot more. I’m just at the moment trying to take the jump to barre chords, but I have ordered a capo since it seems to be an almost mandatory accessory to acoustic guitarists at this point :P

            2 votes
    2. [2]
      nukeman
      Link Parent
      Books: I recently finished Blind Man's Bluff: The Untold Story of American Submarine Espionage. It’s a really good book about the use of submarines for intelligence gathering during the Cold War....

      Books: I recently finished Blind Man's Bluff: The Untold Story of American Submarine Espionage. It’s a really good book about the use of submarines for intelligence gathering during the Cold War. It’s non-fiction, but takes a narrative format with several stories. Really gripping, reads like a thriller novel. Highly recommend.

      4 votes
      1. 3_3_2_LA
        Link Parent
        Thanks, added to my ever-burgeoning to-read shelf c:

        Thanks, added to my ever-burgeoning to-read shelf c:

        1 vote
    3. [4]
      wedgel
      Link Parent
      Sounds great. I just thought I give a tip about guitar. If you haven't really played before, you won't have caluses. But if you take a cotton ball or piece of toilet paper and soak it with a...

      Sounds great. I just thought I give a tip about guitar. If you haven't really played before, you won't have caluses. But if you take a cotton ball or piece of toilet paper and soak it with a little rubbing alcohol and rub it on your finger tips, let it dry, right before you play. You'll have caluses in a couple days and it will save one of the most annoying things about learning to play. Have fun.

      3 votes
      1. 3_3_2_LA
        Link Parent
        That is an incredible life hack -- where was this when I was learning to play the violin?! Also, I do recall some tip about using a certain string thickness for beginners, but that eludes me...

        That is an incredible life hack -- where was this when I was learning to play the violin?!
        Also, I do recall some tip about using a certain string thickness for beginners, but that eludes me...

        3 votes
      2. [2]
        circaechos
        Link Parent
        You can also always just paint over your fingertips with superglue, though I don't know if this actually builds calluses underneath

        You can also always just paint over your fingertips with superglue, though I don't know if this actually builds calluses underneath

        3 votes
        1. wedgel
          Link Parent
          It doesn't build calluses underneath but will do when in a bind. More of a short term solution.

          It doesn't build calluses underneath but will do when in a bind. More of a short term solution.

          4 votes
    4. [4]
      HotPants
      Link Parent
      Are you close to achieving most of these goals today, or are they all fairly ambitious goals?

      Are you close to achieving most of these goals today, or are they all fairly ambitious goals?

      2 votes
      1. [3]
        3_3_2_LA
        Link Parent
        The music related ones are ambitious, as well as the cardio goal!

        The music related ones are ambitious, as well as the cardio goal!

        1. [2]
          HotPants
          Link Parent
          I tend to put my more ambitious goals into a five year plan. The one year goals are much simpler first steps towards the five year goals. That way I have no excuse not to at least check off all my...

          I tend to put my more ambitious goals into a five year plan.

          The one year goals are much simpler first steps towards the five year goals.

          That way I have no excuse not to at least check off all my one year goals.

          But you do you. Sounds like you are more motivated than me.

          2 votes
          1. 3_3_2_LA
            Link Parent
            Ah, yes, that makes sense, but my life right now is quite prone to huge transitory changes. I'd probably switch to five year goals broken down into one year steps like you do, later on in my life :)

            Ah, yes, that makes sense, but my life right now is quite prone to huge transitory changes. I'd probably switch to five year goals broken down into one year steps like you do, later on in my life :)

            1 vote
  8. [5]
    Atvelonis
    (edited )
    Link
    I enjoy social dancing, mostly Scottish and English country dance. Scottish has been a side hobby of mine for about three years, but I've become more serious about it since this past July....

    I enjoy social dancing, mostly Scottish and English country dance.

    Scottish has been a side hobby of mine for about three years, but I've become more serious about it since this past July. Recently, I've been focusing on improving my understanding of dance geography and my ability to recover from botched figures gracefully enough to continue with the music. At this point, I only need a verbal briefing to do most conventional dances pretty well, rather than a full walk-through, which means I don't need to prepare for specific dances ahead of a ball. I can get by in the advanced classes too, though I don't know all the obscure figures yet so my form isn't as good when I do them. Next year, I'd like to become more proficient at the tricky figures and master the basic ones. For example, my footwork could use some attention in the petronella, quicktime poussette, and allemande, especially if I need to lead a partner who isn't familiar with the motions. I'd also like to work on my technique in general.

    In the future, I'd be interested in doing more youth outreach for the community. My branch normally runs two college classes, but one of them is inactive due to the pandemic. The other one is thankfully doing very well, but I think we could do a better job getting students to come to external events. It wouldn't hurt to improve the tradition's online presence either. The Royal Scottish Country Dance Society has a lot of instructional videos online, but they make it look kind of boring, and most of the fun videos online are extremely low-quality.

    English is a nice break when I don't feel like doing real footwork, but it has some trickier rhythms that I'd like to become more acquainted with.

    6 votes
    1. [4]
      simplify
      Link Parent
      This is such an interesting and wholesome hobby. What's even better about it is that it feels like real culture to me. And by that I mean it purports a sense of history and community that I,...

      This is such an interesting and wholesome hobby. What's even better about it is that it feels like real culture to me. And by that I mean it purports a sense of history and community that I, personally, have never had. Thank you for linking the videos, as well. Just watching those short clips makes me wonder... how? I'm no dancer, but I can gyrate okay after a couple of pints.

      Thinking about social dancing like you do makes me wish I felt at all connected to my origins, if that makes any sense.

      3 votes
      1. [3]
        Atvelonis
        Link Parent
        Yeah, I feel the same way. Scottish dance has brought me into a lovely community and kept me in touch with an aspect of culture that most people never get to appreciate. Some of the dances we do...

        Yeah, I feel the same way. Scottish dance has brought me into a lovely community and kept me in touch with an aspect of culture that most people never get to appreciate. Some of the dances we do are hundreds of years old (or at least the tunes are); others were written by people I dance with every week! I happen to have some Scottish ancestry, but that really just gives me an easy choice of kilt tartan. What I enjoy most about SCD is the social component: it's such a kind group of people, and we all feel so intimately connected in a way I struggle to describe. Many people dance all their lives and even pass it on to their children.

        If you're interested in watching a real dance, this recording of Maggie and Caitlin is one of the most representative I've found. This was taken at Pinewoods Camp in Plymouth, MA, where I was able to dance for the first time this summer. I recognize at least half the dancers in this video; one of them I actually danced with yesterday, and will dance with again tomorrow (the charming man in the green kilt flying down the middle of the set at the very beginning). I like this video because, in addition to dancing pretty well, everyone shown is smiling and clearly having a great time! That's what happens when you're on the floor with 145 other people.

        Just watching those short clips makes me wonder... how?

        Hah, I know the feeling. It looks complicated, but it's actually not that hard to get started.

        Most SCD branches have regular classes where they teach the figures and footwork. If you're dancing in a group of experienced people, you pick it up really fast. (It takes a whole five minutes to learn the skip-change, the primary traveling step.) Anyway, the footwork is the least important part of the dance. It's more about being in the right place at the right time, making eye contact, maybe flirting a little, and having fun! Social dancers are very non-judgmental people, so your form doesn't have to be perfect.

        The step they're doing in the demonstration videos I linked is called the pas de basque, which is a three-beat transfer of weight intercepted by an optional jeté (the toe point) to switch the primary foot you're landing on. The dancers shown are quite good at it, so they can move around in interesting geometric figures without breaking rhythm. The steps and directional changes are feasible by themselves, but putting them together correctly takes a lot of practice!

        If you want to add some culture to your life, I'm sure your local branch would love to see a new face. :) English country dance and American contra dance are related alternatives if there's no Scottish in your area.

        2 votes
        1. [2]
          simplify
          Link Parent
          Historically speaking, did these social dances represent some kind of courtship ritual? They do seem fun and flirty, and while it's obviously something that can be enjoyed by all ages, I imagine...

          It's more about being in the right place at the right time, making eye contact, maybe flirting a little, and having fun!

          Historically speaking, did these social dances represent some kind of courtship ritual? They do seem fun and flirty, and while it's obviously something that can be enjoyed by all ages, I imagine for a certain age group it could be an opportunity to see how you might pair up with someone in a more romantic way. Or you might already be romantically interested in someone, and in one of these dances you may aim to get yourself into their line so that you can dance with them for a moment. And then do it again and again throughout the night, gauging how receptive they are to your advances.

          3 votes
          1. Atvelonis
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            I'm not properly versed on the history, but my impression is that social dancing has always been primarily social. It's just fun—George Washington famously adored it, though he didn't always do...

            I'm not properly versed on the history, but my impression is that social dancing has always been primarily social. It's just fun—George Washington famously adored it, though he didn't always do the steps!

            But yes, for young bachelors and les filles à marier, social dancing would have been an opportunity for courtship, a way for young people to get a sense of potential matches both physically and emotionally. Some dances are quite long and would have offered a chance to converse relatively privately, or at least get snippets of conversation in. A silent, awkward dance with no eye contact would have meant a poor match. Couples would have been observed by other dancers, and there would have been a great deal of gossip about partners.

            In Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice (1813), Elizabeth Bennet and other characters make genuine character evaluations based on their partners' skill at dance, although to some extent their being asked to dance by someone socially desirable (read: wealthy), such as Bingley, is less a way to personally gauge a partner and more a way to "distinguish" oneself from the crowd of potential suitors. I don't recall what exact sort of dancing they do in the text, but it's either country dancing or formal ballroom dance. In Chapter 3:

            The evening altogether passed off pleasantly to the whole family. Mrs. Bennet had seen her eldest daughter much admired by the Netherfield party. Mr. Bingley had danced with her twice, and she had been distinguished by his sisters. Jane was as much gratified by this as her mother could be, though in a quieter way. Elizabeth felt Jane’s pleasure. Mary had heard herself mentioned to Miss Bingley as the most accomplished girl in the neighbourhood; and Catherine and Lydia had been fortunate enough to be never without partners, which was all that they had yet learnt to care for at a ball.

            Conversely, Darcy famously refuses to dance with almost anyone, for "I detest it, unless I am particularly acquainted with my partner. […] there is not another woman in the room whom it would not be a punishment to me to stand up with." This helps form Elizabeth's negative first impression of Darcy.

            Scottish and English country dancing sets traditionally had a men's side and a ladies' side (left and right if you face the top of the set), which reinforced the opportunity for courtship. Contemporary dancers try to use the gender-free terms "lark" and "raven" (or "robin") to refer to the left and right sides of the dance, respectively, or similar alternatives. We take new partners with each dance, so it's good that we can be flexible when the sets get all mixed up. This way, no one has to sit out a dance unless they want to.

            Romance/attraction is still at least a minor factor for many people when they choose partners at a ball. My parents met through Scottish country dance, and they had a ball with all their dance friends right after their wedding. My teacher first started dancing when he was dragged along by his wife, and I'd be willing to bet it contributed to their getting married. Pinewoods Camp also makes the very cute decision to give newlywed dancing couples a special "honeymoon cabin" by the lake during Scottish sessions. And I can confirm that I've met some lovely people at dances myself. ;)

            3 votes
  9. [4]
    eladnarra
    Link
    I've got some things kicking around, all of which kind of rely on going to extremely reduced hours at work... Or quitting outright. (I'm chronically ill, so most of my limited energy gets eaten up...

    I've got some things kicking around, all of which kind of rely on going to extremely reduced hours at work... Or quitting outright. (I'm chronically ill, so most of my limited energy gets eaten up by part-time work.) I'll be able to quit once my partner and I get married (yay!), because I can go on their insurance. However I'm feeling more torn these days because the company I'm at is finally working on accessibility and disability inclusion, and I've been the major driver of that. Will the initiative die without me?

    But if I do regain the energy currently used by work, I plan to focus on a few things next year.

    The first is my health; COVID plus work zapping my energy has meant I've not followed up on several things for... Years. I also have some plans for starting up physical therapy and walking again. It's possible that doing very, very short bursts will avoid my messed up aerobic metabolism/post exertional malaise and help me gain strength. Maybe~

    Second thing is finishing my web development certificate. I've got two more classes, so two more semesters should do it. I need to do a lot of studying outside the classes, though, to learn accessibility and other important skills like git.

    And finally I'd like to finish learning to drive. I probably won't do it often once I pass my test, since I find it exhausting, but it will be a good skill for emergencies.

    6 votes
    1. [3]
      cfabbro
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      I don't know if me being mentally ill is considered a chronic illness, per se, since it's not a strictly physical ailment. But I feel you on the energy thing. Whenever I have a panic attack (which...

      I'm chronically ill, so most of my limited energy gets eaten up by part-time work

      I don't know if me being mentally ill is considered a chronic illness, per se, since it's not a strictly physical ailment. But I feel you on the energy thing. Whenever I have a panic attack (which is 3 times a week on avg.) it completely wipes me out, and afterwards I can barely rustle up the energy to do anything for the rest of the day. :(

      And related to exercise, I don't mean to discourage you, but everyone my entire life has claimed that regular cardio exercise would significantly help me, but after almost a full year of using my exercise bike 3x a week, my anxiety and panic attacks frequency/severity hasn't changed at all. If anything, in some ways it's actually made them worse, since when I have pushed myself a tiny bit too far on the bike, and raised my heart-rate a tiny bit too much, that has caused me to have some monumentally severe attacks. And that has led to a bit of a feedback loop which has increased my anticipatory anxiety every time I plan on getting on the bike. So I guess what I'm trying to say is, be careful, and don't push yourself too hard.

      I'll be able to quit once my partner and I get married (yay!)

      !!!Congrats!!! (and good luck on the web cert too!) :)

      3 votes
      1. eladnarra
        Link Parent
        Yeah, definitely - it's obviously up to individuals, but mental illness can be chronic and affect your life just as much as a physical illness. I know some folks who have mental illness and...

        I don't know if me being mentally ill is considered a chronic illness, per se, since it's not a strictly physical ailment. But I feel you on the energy thing. Whenever I have a panic attack (which is 3 times a week on avg.) it completely wipes me out, and afterwards I can barely rustle up the energy to do anything for the rest of the day. :(

        Yeah, definitely - it's obviously up to individuals, but mental illness can be chronic and affect your life just as much as a physical illness. I know some folks who have mental illness and consider themselves disabled, even. (I identify as disabled, too, but 'cause of the chronic illness.) I'm sorry you have experience with that - my symptoms and tiredness flare up when I'm stressed or have a lot of emotions (even good ones!) so I can sorta relate.

        So I guess what I'm trying to say is, be careful, and don't push yourself too hard.

        I promise I'll try! One of my chronic illnesses' main criteria is "made worse by physical exertion," so I definitely have to be careful. I'm going to go at my own pace and not bother with a physical therapist this time, now I know some exercises. Unsurprisingly, medical professionals whose life's work is using physical activity to improve health kind of don't know how to handle those of us who can get worse if we do too much, haha.

        !!!Congrats!!! (and good luck on the web cert too!) :)

        Thank you! It's going to be an exciting year~

        3 votes
      2. the_funky_buddha
        Link Parent
        I went through that myself. It took a good year and a half for panic attacks to subside during workout. Last time I had one was a few months ago after having too much caffeine but that's why I...

        but after almost a full year of using my exercise bike 3x a week, my anxiety and panic attacks frequency/severity hasn't changed at all

        I went through that myself. It took a good year and a half for panic attacks to subside during workout. Last time I had one was a few months ago after having too much caffeine but that's why I strictly do muscle strengthening, no cardio, as even non-cardio can cascade into an attack if I get my heart rate up too much while being in the wrong mindset.

        3 votes
  10. [3]
    piedpiper
    Link
    I want to be a more kind, empathetic and patient person. Everyday I have experiences with people both in real life and online where the other person is being selfish, ignorant, rude or coming from...

    I want to be a more kind, empathetic and patient person.

    Everyday I have experiences with people both in real life and online where the other person is being selfish, ignorant, rude or coming from a place of hate or just general negativity. Especially online, I'll often read someone's comment and think to myself, "I can't believe anyone would actually think that, let alone write it and think it's okay".

    Over the last 2 years especially, I've come away thinking the world is filled with too many selfish, ignorant people and we are all doomed because of it. Everyday I see more examples of this and it makes me angry and depressed.

    I'm not perfect either, and I think my negative outlook on the world has made me a more negative and bitter person. Because of this, I don't think I'm always as kind or forgiving to people as I could be, which just further contributes to the overall problem.

    So I don't know how yet but in general I'm going to try and learn strategies for approaching life from a place of kindness and understanding.

    6 votes
    1. [2]
      Merry
      Link Parent
      If you have the capacity and the capability, I would recommend volunteering or giving back as a means of cultivating kindness and understanding. Every time I have felt down or negative to the...

      If you have the capacity and the capability, I would recommend volunteering or giving back as a means of cultivating kindness and understanding.

      Every time I have felt down or negative to the world and have given help to others, I have always felt much better. Sometimes this can be a grand gesture such as taking time out of your week to go someplace and do something for someone, or it can be as simple as picking up a random piece of trash you see on the ground, holding a door open for someone, or giving a kind smile to someone who may be having a bad day. Seeking out ways to help takes my perspective away from internal thoughts and instead focuses my perspective outwards, helping to cultivate feelings of goodwill towards others.

      7 votes
      1. piedpiper
        Link Parent
        That is a fantastic idea! I was actually thinking of doing some volunteer work before the pandemic happened. I don't have a whole lot of free time at the moment but I'm sure there are lots of...

        That is a fantastic idea! I was actually thinking of doing some volunteer work before the pandemic happened. I don't have a whole lot of free time at the moment but I'm sure there are lots of small opportunities to help other people if I just look for them.

        4 votes
  11. [3]
    autumn
    Link
    I’d like to overcome, or at least massively reduce, my performance anxiety when it comes to being in the show ring with my dog(s). I’ve been to two trials this year, and I have another one this...

    I’d like to overcome, or at least massively reduce, my performance anxiety when it comes to being in the show ring with my dog(s). I’ve been to two trials this year, and I have another one this weekend, and my body is already in knots thinking about it. There’s no physical danger, but my mind and body don’t believe that, haha. It doesn’t help the dog, either! I’m already reading a book about it which includes breathing and meditation exercises, and there are two more trials coming up in January I’d like to attend.

    5 votes
    1. [2]
      simplify
      Link Parent
      Have you ever considered doing something like Toastmasters? Toastmasters is a collection of local clubs that have a focus on communication, public speaking, and leadership. So you join and then...

      Have you ever considered doing something like Toastmasters? Toastmasters is a collection of local clubs that have a focus on communication, public speaking, and leadership. So you join and then sign up to essentially give a talk about something you're knowledgeable about. You, for example, are knowledgeable about showing dogs, and that's something you could give a talk about. The audience would be made up of people who, like you, are trying to get better at public speaking, may have performance anxiety just like you, and probably wouldn't know anything about what you do. No experts in the audience to judge you. Just people wanting to learn and to support your journey. It's low pressure practice for being up on stage.

      4 votes
      1. autumn
        Link Parent
        It’s funny you say that, because I have taught dog classes to other people and had zero problem with it. It’s specifically being judged in the ring that’s hard for me. In the dog sports world, we...

        It’s funny you say that, because I have taught dog classes to other people and had zero problem with it. It’s specifically being judged in the ring that’s hard for me. In the dog sports world, we call it “ring pressure.” It’s good in some ways because, if you can tap into it properly, you can use it to focus on the task at hand. For me, it’s the days and hours leading up to it where I’m a ball of stress who can’t eat or sleep.

        4 votes
  12. beanie
    Link
    I took this last year off from my professional career and it has helped me tremendously. I feel more mentally/ emotionally stable and I learned a lot about myself, my goals, what's important to...

    I took this last year off from my professional career and it has helped me tremendously. I feel more mentally/ emotionally stable and I learned a lot about myself, my goals, what's important to me, and emotional regulation.

    I'm very happy to say I got a verbal job offer today (waiting for the paperwork!); it was a 2 month process and I am happy I was patient. It feels like a good fit and it's fulfilling work. I know it'll be stressful, but I'm confident I can regulate myself through it.

    With this offer, my significant other and I will put our efforts into transitioning into a new place (including finding one, packing, moving, unpacking, etc.). My goals for 2022 are to incorporate the things I learned during my time off into my work-life schedule. I'd like continue to cook more at home, continue to learn roller skating, continue hiking, continue cat sheltering, and continue gardening. I want to learn more in my professional career and in the areas I just mentioned (just overall develop). It'll be difficult to schedule that with work, but I think I can do it. Those things I listed aren't "work" for me, they give energy back to me, and make my life feel more fulfilled & at peace. Additionally, I'd like to add more beach, more live performances, maybe try surfing? My plate is full, but I'm happy with whatever comes. I'm definitely more confident with myself these days and am okay with patiently waiting for the things I work on to develop while enjoying the development process (I can thank volunteering at the cat shelter and garden center for learning that lesson, I am forever grateful, thank you). Lastly, no more drugs at home. I like being sober. I also like drugs, but I don't like how drugs take over my life. So, I'll continue to the best of my ability to live a fulfilling life so I don't feel like I need to depend on substances to be happy.

    5 votes
  13. Kuromantis
    Link
    My main goal is to socialize, I'm in a new school and I'd like to have friends at some point. Seems the stuff I should do to make some friends is to go to social events, talk to people primarily...

    My main goal is to socialize, I'm in a new school and I'd like to have friends at some point. Seems the stuff I should do to make some friends is to go to social events, talk to people primarily about my interests (not just while in social events, just whenever I'm not studying and people aren't busy, I guess) and just generally choose 'the crowd' a large part of the time. I also heard it's important for at least one of these friends to be a woman, partly because it's just good to have a diverse social circle, partly because they'll have their own women friends who will be more receptive to me as a friend of a friend, which is good for dating, or anything else social. I would also like to understand how I'm supposed to view this large and daunting effort. I personally am not the kind of person who ever does any of the things I mentioned above so I kinda feel like I'm gonna be doing all this as a means to a (fri)end, which is in a way a means to an end itself because while people say having friends is neat, I honestly care much more about getting in a relationship than I have ever cared about friends and the main reason I figure I should make some friends is because going straight to dating first isn't gonna work, and realistically it's not just going to be because (I've heard) most women would never date a man with no friends. But framing it as a means to an end is cold and the preferable outlook is that I'm doing this because I want to do this and have friends.

    5 votes
  14. [5]
    daturkel
    Link
    I'm a bit late to this thread, but I've made some personal (measurable) goals for the year and wrote about them online to hold myself accountable. The long and short of it: read 25 books (3 of...

    I'm a bit late to this thread, but I've made some personal (measurable) goals for the year and wrote about them online to hold myself accountable.

    The long and short of it:

    • read 25 books (3 of which are "technical")
    • write 12 blog posts
    • take one online course
    • get conversational in French
    • shoot 2 new batches of photos and post them online (and get through some of my photo backlog)

    I'm going to try to keep track of my progress against the goals throughout the year in the interest of staying motivated.

    In terms of changes, I think I've got the same goal that many people have: eating better and exercising more. I was doing tons of walking early in the pandemic but it's fallen to the wayside lately, so I need to reincorporate it into my life. I'd also like to continue (or start in earnest) learning to cook to help fight back against my take-out habit (which is always a temptation in NYC).

    But with the constant changes brought by the pandemic, I think the very least I can ask of myself is to maintain strong relationships with friends and family and to stay happy and healthy.

    5 votes
    1. [2]
      3_3_2_LA
      Link Parent
      Great goals, and quite varied! I wish you luck with all of them. Do you have prior exposure to French? What does your process look like for shooting photos? I've always been keen on getting into...

      Great goals, and quite varied! I wish you luck with all of them.

      get conversational in French

      Do you have prior exposure to French?

      shoot 2 new batches of photos and post them online

      What does your process look like for shooting photos? I've always been keen on getting into photography but I can't seem to capture anything interesting apart from overusing the golden-ratio frame! :)

      1 vote
      1. daturkel
        Link Parent
        My partner is French so I started learning vocabulary online last year with Babbel, but I'm ready for the next step and I really need to set up real lessons with a class or tutor. Online apps...

        My partner is French so I started learning vocabulary online last year with Babbel, but I'm ready for the next step and I really need to set up real lessons with a class or tutor. Online apps don't do much to get you spontaneously producing (written or spoken) sentences, though my reading is ok for someone who's never taken a real French class.

        As for photos, my process is not very efficient as I have a tendency to let a trip's worth of photos sit around on my hard drive for years! I shoot on my phone all the time and post to instagram, but I also like shooting on my DSLR and on color film too. Film's great because it gets me to do a lot of editing (i.e. I don't just snap and snap because I'm working with a limited number of exposures). Digital I find challenging because, while my chances of "getting the shot" just right are higher, I end up with a ton of duds too because I don't really have to limit what I shoot.

        As far as processing, I use Affinity Photo to process my raw (.NEF) files, though I process them pretty lightly (mostly just for exposure, highlights, and shadows, occasionally for color balance). I'm colorblind so I'm not much use with heavy color processing anyway.

        2 votes
    2. [2]
      nukeman
      Link Parent
      From my comment up-thread:

      25 books

      From my comment up-thread:

      I recently finished Blind Man's Bluff: The Untold Story of American Submarine Espionage. It’s a really good book about the use of submarines for intelligence gathering during the Cold War. It’s non-fiction, but takes a narrative format with several stories. Really gripping, reads like a thriller novel. Highly recommend.

      1 vote
      1. daturkel
        Link Parent
        I've actually been thinking of reading up on the cold war lately, so this is a great tip, thanks!

        I've actually been thinking of reading up on the cold war lately, so this is a great tip, thanks!

        3 votes
  15. sonicvince
    Link
    Continue self learning motion design and start a small side job with it. Then who knows, if this works out, expand it partially while reducing work time in my main stable income job.

    Continue self learning motion design and start a small side job with it. Then who knows, if this works out, expand it partially while reducing work time in my main stable income job.

    4 votes
  16. monarda
    Link
    I think it was June 2020 at around 10am when I was bored and decided to go get a six pack of beer. Then I didn't stop until five days ago. I gained 50 pounds, became sedentary, and neglected...

    I think it was June 2020 at around 10am when I was bored and decided to go get a six pack of beer. Then I didn't stop until five days ago. I gained 50 pounds, became sedentary, and neglected healthy food. The consequences of this include pain when getting up and down, no wardrobe that fits, intestinal problems, not wanting anyone to see me, and a general malaise.

    This year I want to turn it around. I want to get back to where I was physically and mentally.

    4 votes
  17. Akir
    Link
    This next school session is the last one before I graduate, and it just so happens that the last class I need to take has to be a language class. So I figured that I'd start over again and try to...

    This next school session is the last one before I graduate, and it just so happens that the last class I need to take has to be a language class. So I figured that I'd start over again and try to put more effort into learning Japanese. I took a year of Japanese in high school and only ended up barely passing, but I want to take it more seriously and finally be able to read written Japanese. So this year I'm not only going to take the class to finish up my degree, I'm also going to start WaniKani to accelerate my vocabulary to the point where I'll be able to start reading children's literature by the end of the year (but more hopefully by the end of the semester).

    3 votes
  18. Gaywallet
    Link
    I've avoided this thread because I don't like to make new years resolutions and I tend to work on changes I as soon as I identify it as something I wish to work on, but for the heck of it I...

    I've avoided this thread because I don't like to make new years resolutions and I tend to work on changes I as soon as I identify it as something I wish to work on, but for the heck of it I decided to compile a list of things I'm interested in but not necessarily pursuing at any fast pace:

    • Play a DJ set at a club or where I'm being paid by someone I don't know.
    • Self-suspend. Suspend someone else after I'm confident with myself.
    • Star in a porn with a friend or join them for a cam session.
    • Establish a living trust for my assets.
    • Give back more. My dad recently put together a single document with all their assets and it's way more than I'll ever need, ignoring what I already own myself.
    • Figure out a new career path. I think I want to do something specifically for trans people, but I'm not sure what.
    • Travel more. In particular I've only been to Europe once, and it was the Balkans. I'd like to check out Germany, Netherlands, etc.
    • Get better control over my voice - I used to be able to sing quite well as a child. I lost the ability to hit high notes after puberty. I'd like to get that back.

    There's probably more I'm not thinking of right now, but maybe I should start a list and vaguely schedule out some of these things or at least keep track of progress. Some of these have been kicking around in my head for awhile and maybe I should act faster on some. You're only around for so long before you're not.

    2 votes