This year I: started a new job, moved in with a pretty cool guy, finished my 9+1, ate a lot of ice cream, and closed the curtain on the food blog I’d been writing for 3.5 years. I loved this year. So much change, and most of it good. So now that it’s almost over, here are 3 things that made it great.
- Instapaper. I’ve said it before and I’ll keep on evangelizing about this app: it seriously changed my life, by changing the way I read online (and off). 90% of the reading that sparked my creativity, challenged my misconceptions, taught me awesome things, and/or made me want to put good into the world this year, I read (and usually discovered in the first place) through Instapaper. In a world of supposedly shortening attention spans and never-ending busyness, it delivers probably the most valuable thing you could ask for from an app: the feeling of having more time. Don’t have time to follow that thread of links down the rabbit hole but desperately want to? Save that intellectual expedition for your subway ride. I balked at the $4.99 price tag at first, but knowing what I know now, I would gladly pay $20. [Not a bad use of your commute: making your way through The Paris Review's huge collection of interviews.]
- Running Classes. I took a weekly running class with the New York Road Runners from May through October. Signing up was a totally last minute decision that turned out to be an awesome one. When I started, I was struggling to get my mile under 8:25. After five months, I ran a 6:48 Fifth Avenue Mile. I’m not a natural runner and have to work really hard to improve—and these classes are by no means a shortcut. The workouts are tough. But I never would have gained so much (so fast) on my own. My two hours every Tuesday night ended up being the highlight of my week because they left me feeling so gosh darn accomplished.
- Writing Workshop. My stellar running class experience set me off on a class kick, so the next thing I signed up for was a 10-week writing workshop. I quickly discovered that the payoff was nowhere near as immediate. Progress in writing is much more difficult to measure than progress in running, and I had to put a lot more time in outside of class. I ended up having to miss one class because of work and showing up to another with nothing to share. But that was okay. The point was to get me writing regularly again, to get into that mindset where anything and everything might make a great first line. And that happened. Plus I met some really cool people. Success.
2011, for me, was about mind opening. Learning things, learning about ways to learn things, finding more things I want to learn. Next up: a Skillshare class or two, a knife skills class with this awesome dude, and actually learning how to code.
I’m thinking that 2012 is going to be kind of dynamite.