I would like to do a myriad of things with my free time this year. But actions and practice are ultimately what counts. For a desire to be real it must be real and relevant in the moment; not just in the hazy dreams of the new year’s birth, remembered at arms-length.
So this post is a snappy summation of some of what I now feel I would like to do with my free time this year, to serve as a reference when I am at liberty to indulge my whims and fancies. A shopping list of inspiration and treats to be indulged in, rather than a list of chores or resolutions to which I must adhere, lest I be unhappy or a failure.
I feel no compulsion to go through the stress of marking out what I must do in the coming year, and then binding myself to it for the rest of 2012, successfully or unsuccessfully. Rather, my priorities and desires will flourish in the present – indeed, that is their only home – and we shall dispassionately see which threads appeal most in the only moment that matters.
The below list is designed to serve as inspiration, and reflects my expectations about what I might enjoy doing this year. But 2012 will not necessarily be a failure if I consciously and willingly decide to not partake in any of the below in my free time. That would simply suggest that I’ve found some other things that I enjoy doing even more. 2012 will be a failure if I misallocate my free time and waste it on things I don’t actually want to do, or which don’t stand much chance of making me happy.
In short: here’s a list of stuff I think I’d like to do this year. I resolve to be mindful of this list when deciding what to do with any unit of free time. Let’s see what I actually want to do most!
1) Playing guitar – probably with a focus on rhythm guitar technique and learning to play some specific tracks by artists I like.
2) Recording and creating music.
4) Learning about coding and computer science. I would like to improve my shallow and patchy knowledge and understanding of computers; to obtain some agency over them.
4) Learning about philosophy: I know practically nothing about the discipline. Presumably it will help me understand – or at least think about – myself, my actions, and other people, and how I might live better.
5) Reading fiction.
6) Reading non-fiction and academic prose.
7) Playing the best computer games.
8) Consuming quality broadcast media.
9) Attending cultural productions.
10) Listening to music and expanding my aural horizons.
11) Spending proper, dedicated time with my friends. Meeting up for a drink or a meal, rather than hurriedly half-interacting online.
12) Volunteering – using my skills and abilities to make some sort of positive difference outside of my work.
A desire to learn, encounter and discover runs through this list.
There are two other intentions to note, which I will not mark as resolutions, and do not conceive of as part of the other list:
What will their fate be this year? Will their survival depend upon marriage to at least one item from the above list?
My resolutions for 2012 are therefore:
1) To map out, as faithfully as I can, the full range of what I would like to do with my spare time.
2) To update this list with any further desires that seem relevant.
3) To mindfully choose how to spend my spare time. To choose from this list and to choose in a real attempt to maximise my own happiness.
I don’t want to waste time agonizing about priorities. Having roughly mapped out the terrain in which I expect to enjoy myself, it’s time to get going. Happy 2012 everyone.