mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Mad Anthony's 2008 new year's resolutions...

So it's that time of year when people start to think about new year's resolutions. In the past, I've never really thought of new year's day as a big deal - as a student, I've tended to measure passage of time in semesters, not calendar years. I still do - I work for a college, so months mean less than fall and spring semesters. But it is still a good opportunity for me to look at my life, and at the things I'd like to improve. But writing new year's resolutions is easy (I type fast). Performing them is hard. After all, if they were easy, you wouldn't need to write them down and make an effort to follow them. Rather, they are either the things you know you should do but don't want to do, or the kinds of things that you want to do, but haven't figured out how best to do it. And so it begins.

1)Get in shape This is one that I've had for the last few years, and I've been pretty good about. I am a few pounds lighter and maybe a half inch or so less in the waist - but I've definitely gained a few pounds in the last couple months - a combination of less exercise, too much food (especially thanks to a business trip earlier this month that involved an all-you -can-eat waffle bar and a greasy spoon diner down the street from training). My weight's been bouncing around between 150 and 160 the last few months. Ideally, I would like to get it down to 140 or so, and cut my waist size down to a 34 (it's been hovering around 35/36 of late). This means I'm going to have to be more religious about exercising, and that I'm going to have to stop snacking, and stop allowing myself to splurge on stuff when I go out to eat or don't feel like cooking and get fast food instead.

2)pay off some debt right now, I have three major chunks of debt - a car loan on my 2006 Ranger, the mortgage on my house, and a student loan from college. Ideally, I would like to get the car loan paid off and start working on the mortgage. Yes, I know traditional wisdom is that mortgage debt should be the last to be paid off - interest is tax-deductible, and it's typically at a lower interest rate than other forms of debt. This is true, but when I bought Casa De Mad, my sprawling townhouse, I put down less than 20%, and thus am paying PMI (private mortgage insurance), which is costing me an extra grand or so a year. My plan is to keep throwing money at the mortgage until it gets low enough to drop PMI, and then focus on other financial goals.

3)find someone - this is the one I hate, because every year I put it on my list, and every year nothing happens with it. I hate it not only because I hate being single, because I feel like the longer I'm single, the more likely it is that I'll never find someone, and because I feel like there must be something wrong with me that causes my permanent state of single-hood. But I hate it most because there is no clear set of steps to achieve it. The steps to my achieving resolution 1 are easy - eat less, exercise more. The steps to achieving resolution 2 are also easy - spend less, earn more. The steps to 3 are not so easy. I've tried online dating, and so far have come up blank. While I plan to keep checking the handful of sites and sending out the occasional email, I'm realizing that the odds of meeting someone online are pretty slim, especially for a guy - the ratio of single men to single women seems to be in favor of the women, and, much like the real world, the expectation for online dating is always that the man must make the first move. I feel like I'm more likely to meet someone in the real world, but I'm not a big fan of the real world - and I don't really do the kinds of things that put me in places where there are tons of single women, nor am I the kind of person who is good at approching women. So while this is a resolution I want to work on, I'm still not sure of the best way to achieve it.

4.Home Improvements - there are a bunch of things I would like to do around my house. Some of them, like redoing the kitchen and master bathroom, are big-ticket things that I have no plans to do for a few years, as much as I would love to rid myself of my 70's-era shower enclosure and cabinets. But I do want to fence my backyard in (something I was going to do last year and never got around to it), finish rewiring the electric plugs and switches, replace a couple more light fixtures, get carpeting put down in my basement (when I had the house redone, I had the basement hallway left undone because my AC was leaking. AC was replaced last year, but carpeting was never put back), get the fireplace cleaned and inspected so I can actually use it, and maybe do some landscaping (as I am not as enamored with white gravel as the house's previous owners).

5.take better care of health issues - about a year and half or so ago, my doctor retired, and I have yet to find a new doctor. I also could really use new glasses, as my current ones are scratched and way too big for my new, smaller head. I also have put off dentist visits, which is probably why it hurts when I chew. These are things I really should take care of in the new year, and probably are things that would benefit me long-term. Still, I don't really like doctor's visits, or spending money, or having to take time off from work, which isn't looked on favorably where I work. But hopefully I can bring myself to get some of this stuff taken care of.

6.find happiness - I've been less than thrilled with the way my life has been going in some ways the last 6 months or so. Much of it is related to good old number 3, my chronic inability to find a single woman who wants to spend more than 3 seconds near me. I think another part of it is that, up until recently, I was stupidly busy - I was working 6 days a week, taking grad classes, and didn't really have time to think about if I was happy or not. Now I have more free time, and less distractions, and I've looked at my life and I'm not always thrilled with what I see. Part of what I need is to find hobbies and things I enjoy to take up time. Part of it is that I need to stop comparing myself to others, as there is always someone doing better than me in some area. Also, I need to stop worrying about stupid shit, or things I can't control, or things that are unlikely to happen. Of course, much like finding love, most of these are easier said than done.

7.get another cat - Ok, this isn't really a resolution. For that matter, it's not really something I'm even sure is a good idea. But I do feel bad that Nibbler is alone for most of the day when I'm not home, and that I don't always have the time or energy or patience to play with her when I am around - so I'm thinking getting her a feline friend might not be a bad idea, although I still need to decide if the cost and responsibility of another cat is really something I want to take on.

Then again, if I'm looking at changes in the past year, Nibbler is probably one of the bigger ones. I've never had a non-aquatic pet before (my older brother is allergic to fur). I kind of was talked into adopting Nibbler - she was living behind one of the dorms at work, and the students who took her in needed to find a home for her quickly. I worry that I'm not the best cat-parent to her, but I'm still glad that I took her in. Even though she likes to bite me, and it can be a handful trying to keep her out of my way, it's nice to come home to something, to see her follow me around, and to have her curl up next to me in bed at night and purr. Although I do wonder if I'm becoming a crazy cat lady, especially when I talk to her.


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