To the people who take the time to read my blog posts, thank you and Happy New Year to you! Now, let’s talk some resolutions.
Making Those Damn Resolutions
January 1 is the ultimate day for New Year’s Resolutions, many of which will be broken by January 3. Resolutions in and of themselves are certainly not enough.
Turning resolutions into goals aren’t enough either. In looking at the things that truly mattered to me 365 days ago, I have a few ideas:
- Get In Better Shape
- Save Money
- Pay Down My Debt
- Get My Digital Life Organized
- Write More
So how did I do? Well, I thought some honest assessments of 2018 were in order and I don’t mind sharing my successes and failures. Below are some specifics and how I fared:
Get In Better Shape
I gained 10.2 pounds over the course of the year, at a time I already wasn’t happy with my weight. I realized that there are a couple issues I have to really consider in 2019. The first is that I tend to stress-eat. I have an office sales position that lends itself to stress – everything we do must be exacting and is time-dependent.
There is also an eating addiction – which is easy to do as a single bachelor. Overdoing it at McDonald’s is simple to do – even if I shouldn’t be going at all. Anticipating those craving moments and satiating them in a better way would go a long way.
Another factor is sleep. I’ve long struggled with insomnia, and I tend to lose quality sleep over the work week, which I then sleep off over the weekend. If I am out of town, it can be tough to make up lost sleep then too. I need more discipline with sleep, and heck, I actually like sleeping.
I won’t go into specifics, but I ended up with $ 620.48 more than I did a year ago. This is positive, although surely not enough for emergencies, unexpected expenses, etc. It was a challenging year though, and I did have things like a car battery die in the middle of nowhere on a photo trip, so I was able to deal with the issues.
So I’ll give this one a thumbs up, with an eye toward doing even better in 2019.
Pay Down My Debt
Again, I don’t want to offer too many specifics, but I paid down 7.43% of what I owe. This is good and encouraging, although sobering that it would take an additional 13 years to be debt-free. In the meantime, vehicles will need to be replaced, cost of living will go up (especially here in San Diego), and it won’t be long before I have bought a home and have a daughter going to college.
This one is definitely a thumbs up, it’s going in the right direction, but I do want to expedite the process!
Get My Digital Life Organized
This is all-encompassing and touches on many areas of my life. So I will elaborate on a few things.
The first thing I did was deactivate my Facebook in March during the Cambridge Analytica Scandal. This ended up being a great decision. I still keep in contact with my good friends through other means, but the acquaintances and other people aren’t polluting my mind with Fake News, Rants, Arguments, Humblebrags, TMI posts, and any number of other cringe-worthy information I didn’t need. I found I had no desire to go back. And we keep hearing more and more about Mark Zuckerberg’s company that seems worse and worse. If you are the product, you are contributing to the problem.
I also killed my Flickr, although I miss it a bit more because at one time (before social media as we know it), it was a great community. But Flickr failed to innovate, Yahoo! added storage but otherwise ran it into the ground, and I suspect Smugmug only bought them for access to the users. I also killed my 500px, which I wasn’t using much anyway, after they were sold and there were ongoing discussions about what kind of usage rights they were asserting over one’s images. Good riddance.
I still have an Instagram, but as I don’t invest in buying followers or using Bot programs, there just isn’t any chance to build a following. I keep a personal one for my friends and family, if they’ll get off Facebook for a moment.
The next step was assessing my exploding storage needs, which as of today are over 6TB. I am a digital packrat, and for a long time had serious FOMO issues deleting RAW files I was never going to use or process. I am still in the early stages of that.
My Scouting files are also out of control, and I began the process of getting those into a cloud-based service for use of the community. Right now, that is nearly 1TB, and I need to cut that down.
I ran dedupe on my entire system and am down to 4,000 duplicates. Huge success for me.
I have also gotten my website in its best and most complete shape in it’s existence, which dates in some form back to 1997.
So this goal is getting somewhere, but like my others, I really need to speed it up.
My promised Great American Novel is at a standstill about 5,000 words into it. I have more ideas but I just need to shut down the distractions and write more. I have been blogging more, and I have tried to branch out beyond just photography. I wrote a post about my favorite music in 2018, for instance.
So, I didn’t do enough in 2018. 2019 is the time to shut down EVERYTHING on my computer except the file I am writing, and keep at it.
What About 2019?
I have a few ultra-personal goals I won’t share here. We will see how that goes. But my goals for this year are much like this past year. I hope to be writing back in a year with more successes and fewer failures, so please stop me in the McDonald’s line!
I was a little snarky about resolutions last year, but they exist for a reason. Let’s get to work.
Thank you for reading, and I hope you have a safe, vibrant, successful, and happy 2019.
T.M. Schultze is a San Diego-based photographer, traveller, and writer. He writes, photographs, and draws things of the outdoors that have inspired humans for thousands of years. He co-authored the Photographer’s Guide to Joshua Tree Park which can be purchased here.