exercise

https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/resolution.png

As a general rule, I reject the notion of new year resolutions. Sure, I get why people make them; the start of a new year seems like a natural occasion to make new changes in one’s life. But I’m not sure I have ever met anyone who has successfully kept true to their new year resolutions.

You know what they say; today is the first day of the rest of your life. It seems to me if you are really interested in making a change, why wait for a national holiday to do it? Despite my apathy for new year resolutions, I expect 2018 to be a pivotal year in my life. In lots of different ways and for lots of different reasons.

40 in 2018

Though I haven’t thought much about it (partly because I don’t want to), 2018 will mark my 40th birthday. In recent years, my birthdays have generally come and gone with little fanfare and I don’t know that I expect much different next year.

But for me, passing 40 years of age is a milestone I am not looking forward to. In my mind, I should be much further along in my life. And though I’ve made trade-offs over the last 15 years, because I love this place I live, I feel fairly unaccomplished.

I own no property. No savings and minimal retirement investments. I remain single and haven’t been in a committed relationship since moving to Hawaii; I have no family of my own. And perhaps most frustrating is the feeling I am still struggling to make a career in my chosen profession.

I imagine most people when they reach 40, feel like “an adult”. I often don’t as I feel like I’m still trying to find my place, my purpose.

A Catalyst for Professional Changes

Despite the looming milestone (and potential mid-life crisis), 2018 could prove to be the most pivotal year of my life after 2002, when I moved to Hawaii.

One way or another, I suspect I will see my current employment come to an end.

Governor David Ige, for whom I work, is facing a tough reelection this year. And while I believe he can stave off his primary election challenger, there is certainly no guarantee. As an appointee, I work at the pleasure of the Governor and would have to be rehired by his successor in the event of his loss.

I’ve been in this situation before; four years ago when Ige beat the sitting Governor, Neil Abercrombie, in the Democratic Primary. I was incredibly fortunate to be kept on for the current administration. I seriously doubt I will have that kind of luck twice.

While this situation creates a level of uncertainty in my job, I don’t completely mind it. Without significant changes to my role and responsibilities in the office, I am not inclined to stay to the end of a second term. I’ve gotten about all I can out of my current position and am ready to move on.

This was the case two years ago, which is why I decided to go back to school.

In July, I will complete my Masters in Political Management from George Washington University. I started the program with the goal of learning some new skills, as well as validating with an advanced degree the skills I’ve cultivated as a volunteer activist over the last decade.

Once I decided to do it, I never looked back. Despite knowing the financial expense and that I’d likely be paying for it for the rest of my life. I wanted to move up and out of my current position and the degree was the best way I saw to do it.

And though I am struggling to figure out what comes next professionally, I’m excited (and worried) about what opportunities may present themselves with this specialized degree under my belt.

A Year for Real Change

When I think about what this year has to offer, I am most excited about the progressive political activism that has been building since Bernie Sanders announced his bid for the Presidency. In the more then ten years I’ve been involved in Hawaii politics, I’ve never seen anything like it.

Progressive-minded people are running professional campaigns for elective office across the state in greater numbers than I can recall seeing before. We are organizing, collaborating, breaking down silos across issues. Progressives are coming together for a common purpose and a common agenda: make Hawaii a better place for everyone.

HAPA’s Kuleana Academy has churned out dozens of individuals ready to be solid candidates and activists that can serve as real and useful support to those candidates. I am a graduate of their second cohort.

And the organization I co-founded in early 2017, Pono Hawaii Initiative (PHI), is poised to make a marked impact on the 2018 legislative session, as well as the 2018 elections. For the first time, maybe ever, I really feel like I personally will be able to make real tangible change.

A Life in Balance – Personal Goals

Maybe for my whole life, I’ve struggled for balance and for mental and physical wellness. 2018 won’t be any different.

It seems I always have a list of things I want to accomplish, skills I want to improve. I’ve never been great at self-motivation, though there are obviously exceptions.

My parents often point out that I should spend more time focusing on my hobbies, more time relaxing, and more time enjoying the special things Hawaii has to offer. They’re right. Between my day job and the work I am passionate about, there seems little time to take a break for other interests. In what time I do have, I struggle to find the energy to do anything other than being at home on my couch.

Maybe most importantly, I need to be more healthy. Though I continue to struggle with some level of depression, it’s in check. I’ve learned over many years how to cope with its ebbs and flows. But I also need to address my slowly rising weight and general lethargy. There’s no doubt I’d feel better over-all if my physical health were better, but I nonetheless battle to find the motivation.

Aside from politics, I enjoy writing, photography, and music. I will try to continue to develop my skills as a photographer. I will take more time to explore new music to appreciate the artists and albums I already love. At the top of this list: continue to write regularly on this blog about the things in my life.

 

I’m excited and nervous for what 2018 has in store. Here’s hoping it’s mostly great stuff.

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i’ve been consciously trying, for a little while now, to lose weight. between my doctor saying i’m technically “overweight” and a minor scare with rising blood sugar, losing weight became a more immediate goal that kicking my smoking habit.

with one chronic illness already, the idea of adding type 2 diabetes was a chilling one. almost immediately, i gave up soft drinks altogether (ok, maybe one 3 or 4 times a year); it was much easier than i thought it would be. just that one relatively minor change put my blood sugar back in a normal healthy range, but did little to lower my weight.

at 5’7’’ and, as of this morning, 188 pounds, some medical chart somewhere has labeled me as “overweight”. i’ve felt fat for a long time, but didn’t think too much about it until he told me that. for my height i should be somewhere in the 145-160 pound range. i’ve been shooting for 155 and clearly still have a long way to go. Continue reading keeping my health in mind

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with the birth of 2016 fast approaching, i’m still struggling to nail down my “yearly theme,” my goals for the new year. i’ve got a list of ideas, though with little details on how to achieve them. under pressure to wake up on january 1st with a plan and vision i’ve attempted answer the questions remaining from part one, hoping at the end, i will be much closer to putting pen to paper and putting my “theme”  in writing.

~ what do i want to leave behind from this year?

it’s been a whirl-wind year. with dramatic changes at my work-place and an exciting and energizing election season heating up, though there may have been a fair amount of complaining on my part, i’m not sure how much of it was in my control, save one area.

those of you who know me, or have frequented this blog know that i’ve struggled off and on with depression for a fair chunk of my life. earlier this year, i fell into a funk out of which, on my own, i was unable to climb. i’ve been meeting with my therapist regularly since. though i’m back in an even, and even positive, frame of mind, i continue to see him as a motivation to work on things we’ve agreed are important.

though my temperament is such that i believe i will always be at risk of depressive funks, what i’d like to leave behind from this is year a nagging sense that my life lacks direction, accomplishments, or goals. the arc of my life has been fairly a typical, i think. it’s certainly outside the range of “normal” for the majority of my friends and while i look at this as a positive thing, i sometimes focus on the things they have that i don’t which causes feelings of loneliness and failure.

the goal of the “yearly theme” project, at is very core, is an attempt to leave these feelings behind once-and-for-all and be happy with what i have and successful in the goals i set for myself.

~ what went incredibly well?

honestly? i’m not sure anything went “incredibly” well. when weighing the “good” and “bad” in my life over this year, i can say that the scale easily tips toward the good. i made progress improving my finances, developed or strengthened relationships with some members of the democratic party of hawaii (which could prove valuable in the coming year), and proved my worth in a new position in my office.

as a matter of fact, if i look back at (what i can remember of) this year, it seems to have been a foundation-setting year. there was nothing particularly remarkable about this year, other than i could say it has put me in position to have a really good 2016.

~ what do i want more of in the year ahead?

more focus. i feel like i do a lot, constantly busy, but as i’ve been contemplating this new undertaking over the last few weeks, i’ve really begun to realize that while i’m involved in a lot of different things, there’s not a whole lot of focus in my life. enjoyable hobbies like writing, video blogging, and (restarting my) photography are consistently put off in exchange for “work” for one of the various organizations for which i volunteer; that has to change.

more joy. i’m not an unhappy person per se, but it can be a bit lonely and my free time is spent mostly laying on my couch. i’m often reminded, usually by friends and family that don’t live here, that i take completely for granted the fact that i live in this very special place. so, in the new year, i want more nature time: beaches, ocean, hiking, or just walking around my neighborhood. making a point to enjoy what hawaii has to offer is a good first step in the right direction.

there are still three or four more questions to go, but to keep this post from becoming completely unreadable, i’ll continue on in part three. stay tuned.

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hopefully i’ll do better with a tuesday-friday schedule.

this is my shortest video, i think, to date. on the one hand, it’s good, as i’ve been told videos much longer than four minutes are too long and people may not watch to the end. the analytics for my channel don’t seem to bare that out, but i have nonetheless been trying to keep them to under four minutes, with obviously little success.

i’ve realized that i have a tendency to repeat myself though the course of my videos, so i’m going to concentrate on not repeating myself, or should i not be successful on that front, then be more aggressive at the editing stage. i’m also growing more aware of myself and what i say as i’m recording, allowing me to self-correct on the fly, minimizing stuttering and stumbling.

it’s all a work in progress….

and speaking of works in progress, today will be day two of the workout routine (and accompanying self-restricting diet). last night when i finished i really thought i’d be so sore today that walking would be difficult. surprisingly, though, i have very little residual pain. there is some stiffness. this is likely more a reflection of the fact that i didn’t work as hard as the man in the video wanted me to and less likely attributable to my actual fitness level.

i’m kinda looking forward to another workout today, which frightens me a bit.

finally, the smoking quit is an ongoing struggle. i’ve only had one actual cigarette today (sucking on gum now), but i have little doubt that i will struggle for a while.

 

please take a moment to subscribe to my youtube channel and set it up to get emails when new videos are posted (in case i don’t get to the accompanying blog post right away). and be sure to let me know your thoughts on the magic 8-ball questions idea. leave comments here, or on the video in youtube.

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