7 New Year’s Resolutions for a Kick-Ass 2017

I’ve flip-flopped over whether New Year’s resolutions are effective things to make. I think it really depends on how you make them, as in, how realistic and specific they are. General resolutions like “be less negative” or “be happier” without more specific goals don’t tend to work too well.

That’s why, this year, I decided to draw up a list of seven resolutions I feel are realistic and specific enough to make happen. Feel free to borrow, steal, take inspiration from, add to, or modify this list when making your own resolutions. I’ll likely make some kind of follow-up post or video in February, as well, to let you know how these are going.

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[Image: Old fashioned TV set on a table, surrounded by antiques. Blue-green walls in the background].
1. Stop Watching TV

I’ve already started working on this one, which is how I know it’s not unrealistic. It’ll be challenging, but worth it, I think. TV in and of itself isn’t bad, but my habits around TV consumption are. I just can’t seem to do it in moderation. It’s all or nothing, and when its all, it sucks up huge amounts of my free time, preventing me from reading, creating, or finding other ways to relax. I’ll still watch with friends and family sometimes, but the solo marathon sessions need to stop.

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[Image: Pair of reading glasses on top of an open book, which is on a Thesaurus. Stack of magazines in the background. Rest of the image is black].
2. Read Two Books a Month

This one is pretty ambitious! It also depends on me following through with the first resolution. I’m actually a pretty fast reader and tend to motor through books, particularly if they’re one of my main sources of entertainment. I may not get to two a month right away, but even starting off with one would be great.

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[Image: Screenshot from the top of Sage’s YouTube channel, showing their banner, profile picture, and how many subscribers they have].
3. Reach 1,000 Subscribers on YouTube

When I first started my YouTube channel, I set the goal to reach 100 subscribers in the first year. I made it to just over 300, which is very exciting! Though I don’t expect to be YouTube famous any time soon, if I keep putting my all into it I think I can reach 1k in the year to come.

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[Image: Shot from above and behind, people wearing grad caps and gowns sitting in black folding chairs].
4. Finish My Degree

I should be writing my final exams at the beginning of February. Then, I’m done. This will be a huge weight off my shoulders and a big accomplishment. Getting this degree has been an uphill battle the whole way. I can’t believe how close I am!

I’m setting this as a resolution in order to acknowledge the accomplishment that it will be. It should happen whether or not it’s on this list, but when I revisit it later, I want to be able to smile at this one.

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[Image: Yellowed grasses in a marsh, trees to the left, grey sky, and a long wooden pathway weaving into the distance].
5. Get on a Career Path

The logical next step after finishing my degree. It may not be the career path that I’ll follow for the rest of my life, but I’d like to find the first stepping stone for a career in something I feel passionate about. I’m already preparing my resume and a little video essay for research-based jobs, which I think I’d love.

Also, YouTube?? I feel like there’s something to that as well, but I haven’t quite figured it out yet.

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[Image: Stack of flattened cardboard boxes tied together, sitting on a table. Shot from the side].
6. Move Out

Once school is no longer in the way and I can start working full-time in a field I (hopefully) like, I should have the means and resources to get my own place again. I dream dreams of a one-room bachelor, and hope to make that happen at some point in the New Year. I’m feeling ready to reclaim my independence.

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[Image: Dusty, old keyboard of a typewriter, shot from above, sitting on a table. Black keys with white lettering].
7. Finish Writing My Book

The rough-draft, at least. This may be the most challenging of the seven, which is why it’s last on the list. Honestly, I think finishing school will really help, because with it I simply have too many things on my plate. If I could wake up in the morning and work on my book rather than a series of assignments, then I’d likely make much quicker progress. Writing an entire book is really, very hard. This one might not happen, but I’m going to try my best!

2016 has been a really hard year for myself and many others, but more than anything, it’s been a year of growth and development for me. I want to continue to use some of the tools I gained this year in the next, and I’m hopeful that some of these resolutions will help to make it an overall better (though perhaps not easier) year. I have hope!

What are your resolutions?

Note: All images are free stock photos provided by http://www.morguefile.com, with the exception of the YouTube screenshot.

Why Do We Like the Show Friends?

Admittedly, I didn’t “get” Friends (1994-2004) for a long time. I’d seen the odd episode here and there and thought it seemed okay, but didn’t think much of it beyond that. I wasn’t exactly the right age when it first started coming out (I was born in 1993), so that may have been a part of it, though I have known plenty of people my age who are fans.

Then, one night, after a particularly grotesque horror movie, my friend threw on a couple of episodes to lighten the mood. Something clicked.

Shortly thereafter, I began to go through the seasons consecutively. I’m currently on seven four and can say that I “get” it now. I’m into it. But why? What is there to get?

Friends shows us the trials and tribulations of twenty-somethings in New York in the 1990s. It really lacks diversity, having an all-white, straight, able-bodied main cast. The issues that the friends deal with are kinda unrealistic and not always relevant for twenty-somethings today. And yet, despite all of this, parts of it hold up.

I decided to make a list of the reasons that I, a 23-year-old in 2016 in my particular position, can connect and relate to Friends.

1. The Theme Song

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[Gif: Ross splashing the friends in the fountain].
“So no one told you life was gonna be this way
Your job’s a joke, you’re broke, your love life’s D.O.A.
It’s like you’re always stuck in second gear
When it hasn’t been your day, your week, your month, or even your year”

I feel like these lyrics are pretty much timeless. This is what it’s been like, at least for me, to be in your twenties, regardless of whether it’s 1996 or 2016.

2. The Group

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[Image: The six friends sitting together and posing for a photo in a coffee shop, smiling].

Who doesn’t want to have a really tight, supportive, fun group of friends to spend all of their free time with? Who doesn’t have friend-envy of these friends? Ever since high-school ended, I’ve had lots of one-on-one friendships but never a whole group, and even when I have been a part of groups in the past, things weren’t exactly… great. Let’s just leave it at that.

Though they do encounter a little drama and some rough patches over the years, the group remains close and they seem to value their friendships with each other over romantic entanglements, work, stress, or other life issues than can sometimes get in the way. They make time for each other, go out of the way to help each other, and four of them even live in close proximity. In fact, because of the way the show is shot, it seems like they’re almost always all together in Monica’s apartment.

3. Monica and Ross

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[Gif: Ross and Monica dancing together in a club].
Imagine a world where, as an adult, one of your best friends is your sibling, who you didn’t get along with when you were young, AND your sibling fits seamlessly into your tight-knit group of friends. THIS IS PROBABLY THE LEAST REALISTIC THING ON THE SHOW AND I LOVE IT SO MUCH.

Friend + sibling envy.

4. Chandler

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[Chandler yelling, “I’m hopeless and awkward and desperate for love!].
I don’t think it’s debatable whether or not he’s funny. He just is. Though the show has many comedic elements, Chandler is, in my opinion, the best one, and he consistently delivers laughs throughout the series. I’m convinced that, without him, Friends wouldn’t have held together nearly as well. The fact that he, and the show as a whole, really makes me laugh is a huge draw, especially on down days when I don’t find a lot to laugh about.

5. Scary World with Soft, Soft Pillows

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[Image: Rachel on Ross’ back in a kitchen, looking miserable. Ross with his hand on the kitchen counter top, looking stunned].
Though it does touch on some of the more serious themes of coming of age, Friends is mostly an escape from the harsh reality of the world. These characters exist in a world where “I’ll be there for you” really means something. Regardless of what happens, they stick together, support each other, and live in a comedic world, where almost anything can become a one of Chandler’s one-liners. Friends has certain themes that the typical twenty-something can relate to (not knowing what to do with your life, being stuck in a dead-end job, developing independence, being socially awkward, dealing with failed romantic entanglements, etc.), but cushioned by comedy and lightness, so that these things no longer feel big and scary. No matter what happens in this universe, “I’ll be there for you” resounds throughout, which isn’t always true of the real world. You can watch these characters struggle with some of the same things you’re facing without their world ending, and this can offer both a little hope and cushioning for your own.

Or maybe Friends is just pure escapism, which certainly serves its own purpose. Either way, I’m going to keep watching.

I’d like to hear from you. Have you seen Friends? Do you love it, hate it? Do you or do you not “get” it? Is there anything to “get”? Do you have friend-envy? Do you find the lack of diversity disturbing, hard to relate to, or at least uncomfortable? Is there a show running right now that you would say is like a modern-day Friends? Or are there any other shows you’d like to suggest that are similar, but better? I look forward to reading your comments!

Post-Grad Panic Attack

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[Image: Books, oil lamp, bottle of wine, and grad cap lined up on a wooden table]. Source.
Here is a snippet from this month’s patron-only blog post. You can read the rest by becoming my patron here, for as little as $1: https://www.patreon.com/herbdino

If you were to take a look at my resume, you’d see a lot of variety. I’ve had A LOT of jobs. Some good, most not so good.

I’ve done retail, serving, coffee-making, tea-brewing, dishwashing, canvassing, cleaning, tutoring, babysitting…

A lot of minimum wage affairs.

Sometimes, after I quit a particularly rough job, I vow never to get another like it again. “THIS will be my last crappy, minimum wage position,” I say, “The next job I get will be a REAL job that pays decently and treats me well, that will lead to something more, that won’t be another customer-service dead-end”.

And then, for one reason or another, I end up in another don’t-pay-you-a-livable-wage, work-you-to-death position. I think everything is fine for a little while until I wake up and realize how it’s making my soul wither inside.

I am so over customer service, let me tell you. So. Over. It.

But my bank account isn’t. My bank account is SO OVER being a student and it’ll take whatever it can get.

And that’s the problem. I’ve been a student for so long, which means I, one, don’t have a degree to qualify me for a job I may actually want, and, two, am only available part-time, limiting my options to the kinds of jobs I keep swearing off of…

Read the rest of this entry here: https://www.patreon.com/posts/dec-2016-post-7400373