2017 goals: Living more in the real world

2017 goals: Living more in the real world
Photo by Andrew Neel

I tend to live in my head. I am an analyst and writer with an overactive imagination. I also live in the digital space. I'm an information security specialist and blogger with a mild Twitter addiction. For a long time jumping between the worlds in my head and the worlds in my screens was fine, but I'm not so sure it is anymore.

Lately the world in my head has been lonely and depressed largely inspired by what I see in the online world. I need an escape, and I think that escape may be the real world. Yes, I know most people do that the other way, but for me the real world is escapism. Because of this, my 2017 uber list goals focus on living more in the physical world.

See people in real life

  • Go out with friends at least 15 times. I have some great friends who live primarily in my phone. (Heck, I have some great friends who live in my head.) But I've realized that even a loner like me shouldn't go without real human contact. Last year I fell short of my goal of going out with friends once a month. That was primarily because there are only a couple of friends I ever actually tried to go out with, and we have rather different schedules. This year I am going to ensure I go out by expanding who I go out with. If you are in Chicago and I know you fairly well but don't hang out with you in real life you may be hearing from me. And if you are in Chicago and I know you well enough to be comfortable you are not a stalker or a killer feel free to reach out to me too. (One person already did, and I'm so excited to hang out with her in January.)
  • Go see friends outside of Chicago at least once. Recently a friend spontaneously drove all the way from Cleveland to come to my Christmas party because, apparently, sometimes people go places just to see other people. Crazy! As shown in the previous bullet I rarely even leave my house to see anyone. Although my trip is unlikely to be a spontaneous one I vow to go somewhere to visit people this year. This probably means going to Pittsburgh, but maybe not.

Take care of my body

  • Go to Pilates or yoga at least 7 times a month. One of the few things that made me feel really good in the latter part of 2016 was going to Pilates. (READ: I am a Pilates convert) I like the way it makes my body feel and the way it makes me feel about my body. Between working out and being more careful with my food portions I've lost 10 pounds since October. I feel better about my body than I have in a long time, and I intend to keep it up with a combination of personal training sessions and group classes.

Do something with my hands (other than type)

  • (Not that you perverts. I don't need to set a goal to inspire me to do that.)
  • Take up lockpicking. This one probably sounds weird to people who don't know this is a rather typical hobby for security professionals. I've been to a couple of workshops in the past. Picking locks is like solving meticulous little puzzles. It takes concentration and patience, which are things I should really work on. Plus there is a group that meets monthly to do this, so going to at least 4 meetings with the The Open Organizations of Lockpickers (TOOOL) will also help with getting me out and socializing more. (By the way, TOOOL has a code of ethics. No, I do not plan to break into places.)

Keep reading

  • Read at least 25 books. Yes, reading is a bit of a headspace activity, but it's at least stimulus from the outside. This year I came close to this goal. (I finished by 23rd book yesterday.) I feel that I was better for the reading I did (which was a mix of fiction and non-fiction, light and serious).

Have fun in the physical world

Hopefully all of the the above will be fun, but here are a few more specific goals I have for the year that will help to get me out of my head and looking away from my screens.

  • Go to Six Flags at least twice. This year I learned that my kids love roller coasters, so during a big sale over Labor Day I got us 2017 season passes to Six Flags Great America. Because we already used the passes in October we technically only need to go one more time to get our money's worth, but I want to go at least twice.
  • Go the beach at least 3 times. I live less than a mile from the beach. We should go more often. Of course, I say this every year. (READ: Another summer of not going to the beach enough.) We will do it this time!
  • Go to 10 plays. Same as last year. I just need to try a bit harder at it.

And, one exception

  • Despite the above, I am not abandoning the world in my head, but I should focus it more. So my last goal is to start a new full-length play. It's been a long time since I worked on a long piece of writing. (The closest was The October Diary, but even that was under 10,000 words.) Between work and family and blogging and all my other goals it will likely be a slow process, but I want to at least make a serious effort.

What about you? Do you have any goals for 2017?

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