I recently participated in this project called Eleven/Eleven that I found out about from my friend Allison. Allison’s friend, Kaleena, is doing a project in her mother’s memory where she makes 1000 paper cranes in one year and photographs each crane in a different location. Since it’s a bit much to go to 1000 different locations in just a year, she’s having people help her out by signing up to have a crane mailed to them, and then sending her the picture. I accidentally killed the first crane she sent me, but I took a picture of the second one in front of the Licking County court house, which has the best Christmas decorations I’ve ever seen. This project is supposed to be about hope, and I just think it’s so cool that she’s committing to something as vast as this. I wish I had a project like that.
Lately I’ve sort of had writer’s block. But then again, most of the time I feel like I’m in a perpetual state of writer’s block, because I’m not a writer anymore. Not really. I’m falling incredibly short of the goals I had for myself to someday go somewhere with my writing, and that’s really disappointing. I remember that when I was ten years old, my greatest dream was to someday be a famous writer. I filled up journal after journal, dreaming that someday those notebooks would make me famous. I wanted my diary to be published, like Anne Frank’s, even though I don’t think I ever read her diary all the way through, and when I was ten I was still too young to really understand why Anne Frank’s diary was much more significant than mine could ever be.
When I was in elementary school I won an award for a short story I wrote that was about camping, I think. It must have been when I was in second grade, because I don’t even really remember what the story was about, and I don’t remember winning the award. I only know about it because my mom saved the award in one of her infamous junk boxes along with other random odds and ends from my elementary days (remember that notebook paper with the dotted line in the middle of the lines to help you learn to form your letters?) My mom is maybe a little bit of a hoarder, but it’s sort of endearing that she saves all that stuff because I think she thinks that someday when I’m a famous author she’ll be able to sell it on eBay and make a bundle. “You’ll want that someday when you publish a book!” she tells me when I try to convince her that all the faded, dotted-line notebook sheets should go in the “trash” pile.
I don’t want to fall down that slippery slope of lamenting how I’m not living up to the life I expected myself to have, because it’s almost the new year and I don’t want to start it on a negative note. I’m starting to make myself sick with how negative I seem to always be these days, and my only real resolution for the new year is to stop that. In 2011, I just want to be happy. I want to be able to appreciate the good things in my life without letting the bad things overshadow everything else. I want to have goals, and I want to have hope that I can live up to them. The more time that I’ve spent thinking about how much I don’t like the way things are in my life right now, the more I’ve realized that my biggest problem is that I don’t even know what I want as an alternative. I know that I want to be working a different job and living in a different place, but doing what and where? I have no idea. I couldn’t begin to tell you. So instead of feeling sorry for myself about how things haven’t fallen into place the way I always thought they would, maybe I should actually make an effort to figure out what I want for myself and for my life.
A few goals that I’ve drafted for myself, to be pursued in 2011 or at least sometime in the sort-of-near future:
1. Publish an article in a scholarly journal.
2. Do some sort of service project in another country.
3. Read all the books that I own that I’ve never read.
4. Take a road trip across the country and write about it. Preferably all the way to the west coast, to visit Nate.
5. Study a foreign language.
6. Go for six months without having a single cigarette. (While my doctor would say that this goal should probably be to NEVER have another cigarette again, in the interest of making it more feasible and quantifiable since “never” is sort of ambiguous, I’m shooting for six months. It’s been two so far.)
7. Get a tattoo.
8. Lose twenty pounds (ish). More because I want to get into the habit of working out regularly so that I can be healthy, not because I really care that much about my weight. I don’t even know how much I weigh. I’d rather not know.
9. Practice cooking, and start building a collection of my favorite recipes. (a physical collection, and not just a favorites list on foodgawker.com)
10. Interview my parents about when they were younger and write a story about a story they tell me.
11. Move out of my mom’s house. Duh.
12. Carpe diem.