Yesterday I wrote about my failure (or to be more generous, very partial success) in living up to the New Year’s Resolutions that I made at the start of 2021. This means that it is time to make some new resolutions that I can fail to live up to in 2022.
You might ask what the point is. If I don’t live up to my resolutions, wouldn’t I be better just to kick back and enjoy the mediocre mean where I live rather than striking out for something better only to crash back to the mean in mid-February? There is definitely a case to be made for this, but I also believe in my creativity and agency (indeed in the creativity and agency of all human beings). For this reason it is important to keep striving and struggling to change, develop and become who you want to be, even while you need to be forgiving for the times when you don’t quite make it.
I’m gradually trying to let go of dreams of money and power, but dreams of making a bigger contribution, of being happier, more relaxed and better able to pace myself are all worth expending some energy for. So what is it that I hope to achieve this year.
Become a better homeworker
It has now been almost two years since I’ve become a full time homeworker. I now spend much more time in the back bedroom that I’ve converted into an office than I do anywhere else. Yet, I still haven’t got used to it. I’ve gradually invested more in the home office. I have plants along my window sill, a fairly poor attempt at a plant terrarium in a broken kilner jar, a fish tank next to my desk, alphabeticised bookcases and a shredder. In other words all the mod cons of the home office. It is a nice place to be, but I still can’t stop the walls closing in.
I need to find a pattern of working that is less frenetic. Move around the house and even out of the house more, bother my partner and the cats less and avoid ending so many days as a bad tempered grump.
I’m not sure how to do this, but I do need to experiment more with finding a way to live and work in the same place. I’d appreciate any suggestions or ideas about what I should or shouldn’t be doing and what is working for everyone else.
Write the great American novel
Not really of course. But I do want to write something bigger, more impactful and accessible than anything that I’ve written so far. This is not to say that I’m going to give up blogging or writing academic books and articles, but I am hankering for pastures new. Part of this is a desire to see what I can do and if I can produce something that will appeal more widely and part of it is still thinking that career development is really interesting despite the fact that so few people are actually interested in it. I’ve got an idea which is still taking shape, but this has got to be the year that it really moves forwards.
Encounter more new ideas
I’m already pretty eclectic in the theories, ideas and sources that inform my thinking. People who know me will be able to recount various phases that I’ve been through of obsession with the work of people like Robert Putnam, Steve Krug, Hans Rosling, Chantal Mouffe, Grace Blakeley and many others. When I find a new idea I like to latch onto it and shake it as hard a possible, in particular exploring its relevance to the ideas of career and career guidance. Yet, I’m lazy and often duck the hard work needed to engage with something new. For a while podcasts were giving me lots of new ideas but I’ve sunk into a bit of a rut with them. I need to do more to take myself out of my comfort zone and engage with new things.
So what should I be reading, listening to, watching and visiting? I think that I should try and watch documentaries more regularly (at all) and attend conferences and events outside of the career development field. But what else…
Change the world
It is important to make New Year’s Resolutions SMART. So this is a nice easy one for me. I want to create a progressive, pluralistic, sustainable and democratic world characterised by social justice. Any ideas about how to do this would be appreciated. In the context of the UK it is not at all clear to me where I am best to put my time, energy, activism or even my vote, but I am committed to trying to figure this out. Lots of other people out there have a lot more certainty than me about the best way forwards, so feel free to give it your best shot and tell me the shortest route to a new and better world.
Don’t give up on the things that I’ve made some progress in
I find it very easy to jump from thing to thing. Career development is pretty much the only thing that has held my attention for more than a couple of years, but there is a lot of value in sticking at things. Last year I made some progress in terms of my fitness (or at least the regularity that I take exercise) and in my language skills (rudimentary Norwegian
her går vi!). I’ve also managed to keep some of my lockdown hobbies going (pickling, gardening, brewing). It would be good if I could keep some of these going for another year and perhaps even pick up some old neglected hobbies like playing music once more.
So this will do for now…
See you in January 2023 for the autopsy.