It’s once again that time of year when people take stock of their lives and reevaluate. While the beginning of the new year is really an arbitrary construct for reflection, I do like that it is an opportunity for people to think about what they would like to improve about their lives, even if those goals don’t always come to total fruition. In my, the simple act of reflection is what’s important; it’s why I also like the idea of Thanksgiving, which is a different kind of assessment. I also think that it’s important to make different kinds of resolutions – the big life changing ones that we all typically make (eat better, lose weight, exercise more, and quit smoking) as well as the ones that just make our lives more enjoyable. For the latter, I’m all about finding ways to do more of what I enjoy and making that a priority. To me, there is no point in taking steps to live a longer life if you don’t also enjoy your life. I’m lucky that I live pretty close to the life that I want to live, but there is always room for improvement. So for 2017, I’m making the following pop culture resolutions.
Read 20 books this year
I lost my love for reading when I was in grad school, since I was regularly reading three books a week for class. It destroyed my ability to read just for enjoyment; I was skimming to get the gist rather than just reading for the sake of enjoyment. I’d still read occasionally, but I used to be a much more prolific reader. Now I mainly read when I’m on vacation. Toward the end of last year I started reading more just for fun and I really fell back in love with it. It helped that all the library books that I requested came in at once and I didn’t have time to put it off – I just had to sit down and read. I find that I do better when I set concrete goals and while 20 books isn’t all that much, that seems obtainable given all the other stuff on my plate. I’m already working on book #1 for the year.
Take better advantage of downtime
It’s probably not surprising if you have been reading the blog for a while, but I want to consume everything. If there’s a new TV show or podcast that’s getting some buzz, I want in on it. That’s great, but there are only 24 hours in a day and I often feel like I never get through all that I want to. So for 2017, I’m going to start using some of my time more efficiently. My commute to work isn’t long – maybe 20 minutes – but that’s time I could be spending listening to new podcast rather than constantly changing radio stations trying to avoid commercials or morning show chatter. I generally listen to podcasts during long car rides or on the train, but 40 minutes a day on the way to work and back could get me through an episode a day. That will go a long way in keeping me current, since I seem to find new podcast to try on the regular. I rarely take a real lunch break and instead eat at my desk; for 2017 I’m resolved to not only take proper breaks, but to use that time to catch up on some TV shows that I want to watch. Now that Netflix allows offline viewing, I can download episodes to my phone and watch them during my hour lunch. This will help me burn through the very long list of shows that I want to watch, but never seem to have the time for. These few tweaks will help increase my pop culture productivity.
Seek out more new music
If I have a significant pop culture weak spot, it’s music. Back in the day I used to be up on all the new artists and popular songs, but I’m not as good at that now. I do try to seek out new music, but I’m also just as likely to listen to the same albums over and over again. I fall into musical ruts. There’s nothing wrong with listening to old standbys, but there is also something to be said for discovering new tunes as well. I am especially behind on my hip hop knowledge, which bums me out. So in 2017, I plan to take better advantage of my Spotify account and try to listen to at least one new album a week. I tend to bookmark artists that I see on late night that I enjoy, but I don’t always follow through on that. In 2017, I want to be better about following leads and giving all sorts of new music a chance. I may not like everything I try, but I may find something new and exciting.
Go to NYC more
I know, I know….I’m already there a lot. But there is just so much to do in NYC and I feel like I only take advantage of a tiny slice of it. I am especially keen to explore more of Brooklyn; we went on a food tour for my birthday and I had the best time exploring the borough that I’m probably spent the least amount of time in (other than Staten Island, which I refuse to even acknowledge). One of the things I love about the city is that there is always something to do and I hope in 2017 that I fully take advantage of that. There are a ton of Broadway shows opening that I’m keen to see and the list of restaurants that I want to try is a mile long. I especially want 2017 to be the year that I finally visit Coney Island and ride the Cyclone. I have no idea why I am obsessed with this, but I totally am. Maybe I’ve seen The Warriors way too many times.
Be a better blogger
I kind of fell off the blogging wagon in 2016; it started to feel more like work and less like fun and I was discouraged that people didn’t seem to enjoy my posts as much as they had in the past. But in 2017 I hope to get back in the swing of things and post more regularly. I’m not promising that we’re going back to my initial five days a week schedule – that’s unlikely to ever happen again as long as I’m doing this for free in my spare time – but I do hope to rediscover my love of writing and want to do it more regularly. But I’m also not going to put as much pressure on myself to crank out posts or to churn them out as quickly. If a movie review goes up a week after I’ve seen a movie, that’s fine.
Now it’s your turn….what are your pop culture resolutions for 2017? Any recommendations for me on my resolutions – books to read or music to try? Sound off in the comments.