Happy New Year!

Another year, another time to make plans. If I have learned nothing else the past few years, it’s that I can accomplish quite a lot, but I need to have a plan. It doesn’t need to be very detailed in that I work this hard for this long, but I do like to have a solid plan of what I’m trying to do. I rarely set arbitrary time limits. I have learned to be patient enough to take as much time as is needed. I know that I generally like to work in the mornings to early afternoon and then I’m done. I’m not one of those people who will dedicate a weekend to a big job and then work 16 hours on each day. A few hours here and a few hours there and it’ll get done eventually.

So, 2015…what’s the plan?

Amazingly, for the first time in years, working on different things in the house is not the main focus of the year. Yes there are still things that need to be done, but I’m nowhere near as desperate as I’ve been in the past.

  • Dining room table – I’ve hosted a few parties now and have used two plastic foldable tables from my cousin Janet. They’ve worked ok, but I’d like to have a real dining room table. Ideally it should seat eight regularly, three on each side and two on the ends. However, when for parties, I need it to be expandable to seat 12 or more. I have an idea for a design. I want the table top to be made out of the lathe I pulled down from the walls. After thinking about it, I’d like to make the legs out of steel. Which leads to …
  • Welding – I have wanted to learn how to weld for years, pretty much since I bought the house. I took the one-day welding class and that was a good taste. But, let’s face it, to do anything I need to get a welder and start welding. I’ll make a lot of mistakes and that’s how I’ll get better.
  • Back porch – My back porch is full of a lot of crap. I need to throw most of it out and make it a better storage space until I decide what I’m going to do back there.
  • Being Active – Last year was good and I’d like to keep that up this year. This winter I’d like to do more ice skating. Fortunately, Chicago’s parks have plenty of rinks to use. I want to keep riding my bike a lot, especially on trips out of town. And I’d like to keep running, though I want to keep up continued use of my knees. So I may limit the amount of running that I do.
  • Health – One drawback of not having a kitchen for so long is that I ate out a lot. This lead me to gain a bit of weight that I now need to lose. I weigh myself everyday, so I know exactly where I am now and where I want to be. By the end of the year, I’d like to be 25 lbs. lighter
  • Travel – Keep up with last year. Trips to cities where I also take my bike tend to be the most enjoyable for me. Lots of cities have great bike paths. I’d like to go back to Indianapolis and ride those paths again. Also see what else is out there in other cities. Part of me would still like to take a multi-day bike trip somewhere. I’ll have to do some more research on that.
  • Build stuff – Making the press I used for Xmas gifts was possibly the most fun I’ve had in a long time. I’d like to do more of that. I want to set up my workshop in the basement and see what other crazy ideas I can come up with. One that seems like it would be a lot of fun is to make a marimba. I’ll definitely be looking into that. And if I could learn to make furniture, I’d be really happy.
  • Make a dent in the mortgage – I just refinanced my house to a new 10-year mortgage. I’d like to make some extra payments to reduce the term by as much as I can. In my utopian dream, it’s paid off by my 50th birthday. A more realistic possibility would be a few years after that. But current me has to do it so that future me can enjoy it.
  • Hang out more with my friends – I’ve always been really bad about this. Once again, I’m going to try to see these people more often.
  • Volunteer – I’ve been pretty good about donating money to charity, but really lousy about donating my time. I’d like to find a volunteering gig where I could help out on a regular basis.
  • Drive less – I’ve been driving a ridiculous amount of late. Mostly that’s due to the fact that I got a new car that I still love. However, I need to knock if off. Specifically, I need to bike to work more because there’s really no excuse for driving all the time. I guess anytime that I’m driving by myself and not getting on the expressway to go a decent distance, I should be questioning whether I should be driving at all. To remind myself of this, I’m going to hang my new biking calendar and put a smiley face on any day where I don’t use the car at all. I’ll put a frown on days when I do drive. I’ll want to see a lot of smiley faces, so I’m hoping this will inspire me to think twice before taking the car out.

There are other things that I’d like to do, but I think if I do all of these, I’ll have a happy and successful 2015. One thing to note about this list is that there really isn’t much about work on here. I think I’m doing pretty well there and I’d like to focus more on my life away from work.