I feel like I’ve written this post a dozen times. The post where I reintroduce everything, the post where I promise myself and all of you what I’m gonna try and do for the next twelve months or longer. Well, that’s not ever how it works out is it? It’s okay. I don’t think it has to be that way. I think it might be fine to make a bunch of resolutions in the cold months, and fail to deliver on them when things warm up and I’ve redirected my energy to things that seem more important in the moment.
But I’m gonna try anyway, right? I’m gonna come up with a plan, a list, some goals, and maybe, hopefully, next year, at this time, I’ll be able to look back and see where I stand, where I’ve gone, and what I’ve actually done.
So here it is. My plan for 2017. But first, let’s look back a little. Everyone keeps talking about how awful 2016 was. Lots of celebrities died, lots of political upheaval stuff going on in the world, lots of pain and suffering, but it hasn’t been all bad. In fact, from my personal point of view, 2016 was quite good. I got engaged to my best friend, I turned 40, I traveled to new places, and I got a promotion at work. I also watched a lot of excellent television, ate lots of very good food, spent time with my family and friends and got much, much better at bowling. I also read a ton of good books, and got back into writing and photography in a more serious way. 2016 was a growth year for me, and I am just now starting to understand how the things I’ve done this past year are starting to set things up for the year to come.
2017 is gonna be bananas
There is a pretty awful movie out there called “Flashback” starring Kiefer Sutherland and Dennis Hopper. Don’t bother. Despite it being so bad, it contains one of my favorite lines in a movie when Hopper says “The 90’s are going to make the 60’s look like the 50’s.” I don’t know why, but I always think about that line. It’s true about so many points in time, so many movements through history. We all think there are good times and there are bad times, but I think you can also look at it like, every year is better than the last, or maybe more like Dickens–it’s always the best and always the worst, always. At any rate, I think 2017 is going to be filled with surprises, love, heartache, pain, and lots of joy. It’s going to be the best, it’s going to be the worst, but it’s going to make 2016 look like 2013, right?
I do have a number of goals for 2017, and one of them has to do with this website, this blog, this thing, wherever you are reading this. In a nut, I am making a plan to write a LOT more than I did in 2016. In fact, in my notes, in my planning to plan, I figured I should aim for a blog post once a week. I can’t, and won’t promise that it will actually happen, but I’m gonna make an effort. I tried to do this in June of 2016 and it lasted a few weeks before something came up and I just forgot to keep it going. But this time I’ve decided to make a schedule and work on the posts a little ahead of time and, maybe even edit them a bit before I hit the publish button. This post not included.
So, I’m going to write more, publish more blog posts, and talk more openly about all of the things. It’s something I feel I haven’t done a good enough job at, and something I’d really like to work on in 2017.
But it’s not all about blog posts. I’ve actually, secretly, been writing much more than you know about. In fact, this past November I participated in NaNoWriMo for the first time. If you don’t know, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month, and takes place each November. The challenge is to write a 50,000 word novel in one month. I tried to do it. It was very difficult. In the end I wound up writing about 25,000 words, most of which I wrote in the first two weeks of November, and none of which I am comfortable sharing in any shape or form. In fact, towards the end of the month I just started on an entirely new story, and I think I like that one much better. So, I didn’t “win” NaNoWriMo, but I did realize that I really love to write, and that I can actually write fiction, which is something I’ve never really tried to do in any serious way. In 2017, I’m going to write a bunch more fiction. I’ll likely start writing a few short stories and see where it takes me. I may even share them with you, but I also might burn them or fire them out of a potato gun. We’ll just have to wait and see.
2016 was filled with lots of great reads. I’ve really rediscovered my love of reading. I read on my Kindle, I listen to audiobooks, and I read printed books. The books I read range in genre pretty greatly, but I tend to gravitate towards SciFi, literary classics, and even crime novels. In 2017 I am going to read the entire “In Search of Lost Time” by Marcel Proust. Well, that’s my goal. I have a good feeling I will read the first few chapters and give up, but like everything else…we shall see.
What I love most about reading is that I’ve started to discover some really great authors I never knew about. In the SciFi world especially, there are some really interesting networks of authors who I’ve started to read, and follow. I’ve been very interested in their personal takes on the publishing industry and how they’ve managed to do things their own way. It’s a theme I’ve noticed in a lot of the authors I’ve been reading and something I find incredibly interesting. Print ain’t dead, but publishing might need a reboot.
I’ve always been a photographer, and I always will be. I’ve done it professionally, and as a hobby. I’ve studied it academically, scientifically, and artistically. And, despite the bit about how everyone thinks photography is over, now that everyone in the world is a photographer, I tend to think just the opposite. I think photography is just getting started. So, this last year I bought a professional digital camera (I hadn’t had one for a really long time!) and started to think more critically about my own photography. I’ve been taking steps to build my “Penultimate Photo Archive” which I will talk about in a future post, and I’ve been just trying to be more prolific with my photo taking and photo publishing. I’ve also set up a section of this website called “photos” which is just a stream of the photos I am thinking about. It will continue to grow and eventually I will do some work to organize them, but for now, it’s my own personal Flickr style photostream.
In 2017, I am keen to process a ton of film I have had sitting around. Some of it is from the 90’s, some of it is more current, but it’s all just sitting there, waiting to be developed. This is the giant digitization project of 2017. It’s not going to be easy, and it won’t be done in a day. Again, we shall see.
If you’ve been following me this holiday season you may have noticed, I’m a big nerd and I like to write about setting up home servers and wiring up internal networks in my apartment. It’s true, I think this kind of stuff is cool, and I’ll continue to write about it in 2017. My apartment technology will continue to grow in 2017, and you can bet I’ll keep sharing it with you all.
I’m also going to be writing a lot more about technology where I work, and in the cultural sector. I’m not trying to solve some big issue we are all facing, I’m just trying to work through the problems, and writing about them has always proven to be a good way through.
Public speaking is another thing I’m gonna aim to improve upon in 2017. I’ve got a few talks lined up already for 2017, which I’ll post about soon. I can’t decide if I really love public speaking or not. I feel like I do when I get asked to present, but when it comes time to actually do it, I find it incredibly stressful. I’d like to get better at it, and maybe try and enjoy it a little more.
You’ve likely heard something about my upcoming wedding! It feels like it’s been all I’ve been talking about for the past 9 months or so since I got engaged. I apologize if that’s annoying, but I’m very excited, and in May, you can probably bet there will be loads of photos and cute-posts of the happy couple.
But on the resolution and self-improvement end of things, I’ve decided to focus a bit more on my health in 2017. To tackle this, I decided to give my Apple Watch another try and hooked up a bunch of apps to the Health Tracking system built into my iPhone. I basically just downloaded the top apps in each category. I don’t love them all, but they each have a few useful features so far. I am using the built in Activity feature on the Apple Watch to track my basic movements throughout the day and have been trying to stand more, which seems to creep out my colleagues a little, but I think it very helpful in terms of my flexibility and general energy level. I’ve also been using Lifesum to try and track my eating and drinking habits. Turns out, this is incredibly difficult to do. I also installed Pillow to track my sleep (also hard to do and make sense of the results) and an app called Headspace which is basically a guided 10 minute meditation. I’ve only done it three times so far, but each time I’ve enjoyed it and so I will hopefully get back to it and turn it into a new habit for 2017.
The final step is to get out and do some actual exercise. I used to be pretty good at this sort of thing, but recently its proven to be a major challenge to just go for a quick run or do a few push ups. I gotta fix that. I have everything I need to fix that, easily. I just gotta do it.
Watch this space in 2017
I know, I know, I’ve flip-flopped back and forth between this website, medium and plenty of other places to publish things. So, I’m gonna treat this site as the “canonical” site, and will soon be importing all my old posts, posts from other sites, and lots and lots of photos and old things. Hopefully it will become some kind of archive. We shall see… In parallel, I’ll continue to cross-post to Medium and other places where people seem to enjoy reading my words. The internet is a vast and endless ocean. This website will be my corner until it. As usual, you can sign up and get these posts in your inbox. Just pop over to https://micahwalter.com/signup and I’ll send you a weekly email.
Lastly, I just wanted to say, 2017, 2016, 2020–whatever year you are living in right now, this world is something wonderful, and we can spend our time here being pissed and angry, or we can spend it being happy and excited just to be here. It’s entirely up to you. I guess that’s my big resolution for 2017–this life, this world, this year–it’s entirely up to you.