The Resolution Will Not Be Televised

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If you want to torture yourself, make a resolution. As Oprah demonstrated to us all during her fifth or sixth trip around the world on the weight-loss yo-yo, the easiest contract to break is one with yourself. The more rigid the rule, the more likely the snap.

All resolutions get broken eventually, which is why I resolved years ago to never make any more resolutions. This instance, of course, will be the exception that proves the rule. I am certain.

Instead, I give each year a motto; a theme aid me in focus and self-improvement.

Fifty-Two weeks ago I launched Full-Frontal Nerdity in response to my 2014 motto. My goal was to complete and post one small project a week for as long as I could keep it up, and also get over my fear of the internet. Since then I have shared fifty-six musings on science, poetry, relationships, math, writing, logic, love, farce, and life in general (oops, I already said “farce”).

Last year’s motto was Citius, Altius, Fortius (Swifter, Higher, Stronger) and in every way this year of writing has lived up to the goal. My creativity flows with more ease than it ever has, never in my dreams did I imagine I could stick to a project with such consistency for an entire year, and by doing so I have gotten much stronger in voice, skill, and will.

Now it is time for a new motto to build on in the new year. I say “build” because the old mottos never go away. It is still important for me to remember to Join the Party (2011) more than my introversion inclines me to, and to remind myself daily that Nobody’s Perfect (2013) or able to please everyone ever. Any time I feel frustrated with my career or person I still try to imagine my better version and Act Like It (2012).

This year, I hear the voice of my oldest and best friend. When we were tweens she moved away to Cape Cod, and during a visit we found ourselves stymied by tourists as we attempted to get from point A to point B on the sidewalk. Always practical and self-assured (and thus my role model from early on), she implored to the world in general, “Walk with a purpose, people!”

It remains to this day the best advice I have ever heard.

So in 2015, my motto is to Walk With a Purpose. To live more deliberately, always with a goal, even if that goal is simply to finish a really difficult crossword puzzle. No more Law & Order reruns “just because they’re on” (though I will miss you, “Cha-CHUNG”), or aimless wandering through Facebook. More reading of things I have been wanting to read and catching up on films and friends I actually want to see. That’s the idea, anyway.

To Walk With a Purpose in my career will also mean taking chunks of time to work on larger projects now and then. That does not mean the end of this blog – not in the least. But it does mean I will probably not be posting as regularly. I hope to still keep it up monthly, and it is quite likely I will have things to say more often than that now that my brain is kicked up to a swifter, higher, and stronger gear. Whatever happens, though, thank you so much for participating in this past year, and helping motivate me to live up to 2014’s motto.

I will see you again soon, on screens large, small, and in between. Happy New Year!

Citius, Altius, Fortius (Midius-Termius-Reportius)

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Today is July 1st, the first day of the second half of the year in which I began to blog.

Fun Fact: On the 1st of the month I say “rabbit rabbit” before anything else. My best friend tells me it is good luck, and her word is good enough for me.

Okay, technically I started this blog on January 10th (four days earlier and in a wholly different way than planned thanks to experiencing Facebook trauma the night before), but let’s round up and say today marks the end of my first six months. What self-respecting nerdist could let such a milestone pass without some sort of midterm?

Fun Fact: The worst midterm grade I ever got was an F, when I took Ancient Greek in college for (at least this was the plan) fun.

I promise to return to my more traditional a-musings next week, but please bear with me today as I indulge in some reflection and evaluation.

Fun Fact: In lieu of resolutions, I set “themes” for myself each January, to guide my year.

This started five years ago, in part because I find the evolving process of working toward a goal far more helpful than the “all or nothing” nature of a resolution. One day without hitting the gym or not biting my nails and I’m a vow-breaker? Who does that help?

Fun Fact: I am a fanatic for the Olympics.

Summer, winter, it doesn’t matter; if it is an even-numbered year, I am glued to my screen for two weeks, don’t talk to me. When I was eight, I cut my hair to look like Mary Lou Retton (and then was mistaken for a boy on the first day of school, so didn’t cut it again until age 18.) This being an Olympic year, I set my theme accordingly…

Fun Fact: 2014’s theme is “Citius, Altius, Fortius”.

“Swifter, Higher, Stronger” (the Olympic motto). This blog was started as a direct result of my 2014 goals, so I figure it is the best metric upon which to grade my progress thus far.

Citius: With the exception of my first post (which was an emotional purge written over one long night and morning), I devoted a lot of time to each piece when I first started. Tuesday is “publish” day, but I would start thinking and planning around Thursday, do an outline or draft on the weekend, write or revise on Monday, and then proof, edit, and proof again before posting.

Fun Fact: I write everything by hand first, so when I say “revise” that also means “type.”

This was comfortable, but didn’t leave much time for other writing – the stuff that actually pays. So I pushed myself to get faster (and far less precious about my work). Now, I do a little thinking on Monday night before bed, then get up and write, revise, proof and post by Tuesday afternoon. Turns out regular practice really works – and I wish I could go back to force my childhood self to practice the piano more.

Fun Fact: I also play the French horn; I asked for one for my 16th birthday instead of a car.

Altius: I could have just started smoking pot this year, but I am the one person in California whose medical condition serves as a prescription against marijuana. Instead, I will have to reach new heights other ways. In the last six months, I have pushed way out of my technological comfort zone with a new smart phone, tablet, Roku, and blog. By the end of the year, I will either have my own website or a robot.

With this blog, I have gone much farther than I imagined I could. As of today, I have just over 950 followers, and while I realize that Kim Kardashian has over 20 million for no reason other than being well endowed with both famous partners and hindquarters, I am still proud and amazed. Thank you, all who read me! (And if you could help bump me to an even thousand my compulsive side would really appreciate it.)

Fun Fact: I have also been nominated for a Liebster Award.Liebster

This is a blogger award designed to help new writers honor and promote each other. In short, it involves answering some questions, asking a few more, and (most importantly) nominating other bloggers in turn. I was nominated by Jonas Lee who, among other things, offers awesome Life Facts in his Imaginarium. In thanks, I offer him one: You are almost always within 3ft. of a spider.

Here are the eleven questions Jonas challenged me to answer:

1. You are able to scratch one thing off your bucket list, no matter what it entails. What is it? A: Attend an Olympics. Duh

2. You can listen to any band/artist (live) in their time period. Who would you want to see? A: Mozart would be cool. Plus, I think I could rock a corset.

3. If you could collaborate with any artist/author on a project, who would you choose? A: My idol is Tina Fey, but I think my other idol, Aaron Sorkin, could use my editorial eye more. Tina doesn’t need any help.

4. Would you rather live in a zombie apocalypse (Walking Dead) or an electronic apocalypse (Revolution)? A: Hands down electronic apocalypse. I already write by hand, and I know how to build a fire. It’d be like camp – with no zombies.

5. Why to number 4?A: Oops. See above.

6. Pop Tarts or Toaster Strudel? A: I have never had the latter, so I guess Pop Tarts. But with frosting (if you’re going to eat something terrible for you, it might as well have frosting).

7. Favorite smell? Fun fact: I have almost no sense of smell.

8. You can have one super power. What would you choose? A: The ability to blink any leaf blower out of existence just by wishing it. While flying.

9. What is your worst habit? A: My nun’s habit.

10. What do you find to be your best quality (physically or mentally)? A: My heart (both physically AND mentally).

11. What keeps you from having your dreams come true? A: Nothing! This is Hollywood!

In addition to answering those, I am also supposed to offer 11 facts about myself. I will let this midterm evaluation serve that purpose, though for those scoring at home, there are exactly eleven fun facts peppered throughout.

Fun Fact: I believe that everyone I meet has something to teach me, if I am paying attention.

The last piece of the Liebster Award is to nominate my OWN favorites and ask them questions. Here are my picks:

Julie Gordon – I like to travel, but this girl has adventures. Plus, she is thoughtful, and I want her to write more. See why at Wish I May, Wish I Might.

Sarah Rodriguez Pratt – Her blogging was one of my inspirations. Also, her comic strip, Totes McGoat, has one of my favorite titles ever. Check her out at That’s A Girl’s Car.

Christine Gengaro – I frakking love smart women, and this woman is frakking smart. She writes about music such that I wish I listened to it more. Read her blog for kmozart, because you can’t listen to it.

Eric Toms – I have only met him a few times, but I already know he is just the right level of irreverent. His soon-to-launch blog is described as “the best waste of your time.” I think he should launch now. Your move, Eric Toms.

Brantley Newton – Brantley is the only person on my list I haven’t met personally. He was one of the first strangers to follow me, and his whimsical storytelling at the Brantley Blog makes me smile. Keep it up, Brantley!

To you five, if you choose to accept the nomination, I ask only three questions:

1) What would be your motto for the next year if you had one? 2) Why? 3) What are your favorite Summer and Winter Olympic sports?

Fun Fact: My favorites are Gymnastics and Curling. But I love them all.

Fortias: In closing, the last six months have made me far stronger than I was at the start of 2014. My writing is stronger, and with it my mental health and professional career. As for my personal life, it has definitely been a good season for Eggplant.

Thank you, all, for indulging my self-assessment and for reading all this way. By which I mean both this post AND the last six months of my storytelling. I promise to get back to full-on nerdity next week – I am currently reading a book about the theory of relativity. You have been warned.