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January 13, 2006. Friday the 13th

New Year's resolutions are great for introspection. The New Year celebration reminds us on an annual basis to check the fluids of our lives. Are we running smoothly? Some friends of mine used to go so far as to graph their personal satisfaction over time for the whole year, which, done year after year, can show seasonal trends in personal happiness. Useful stuff, but a bit nerdy for most and who can remember the monthly or even daily ups and downs with any great degree of accuracy without consulting a journal or something? I kept a journal until I read Lolita and saw how it can be used against you and then gave the practice up. I've had some friends get burned that way too.

Back to the resolutions, I like to start simple, was this year better than the last? Yes, it was. Financially I am more stable, my career is in a better place, my romantic relationships improved, I have more cool stuff; in total I'd say it was a very good year. I don't have as many friends geographically close to me now as I did last year and the year before I had even more so it's a two year trend of seperation from friends and that sucks, but still I have to say life has been improved overall.

The resolutions I made focus on self-improvement as they most often do. I'd like to take piano lessons for all of 2006, but I haven't started that yet. I'd like to get in shape and swim more, but I haven't started this yet either. My philosophy about resolutions is that there are soft ones, like the latter of my two above, that basically are dreams without a proper plan of action, and there hard ones, like the former, that have definitive plans and goals. You gotta meet your goals!

So I should rewrite my second goal to say something like I'll lose 20 pounds, or I'll go swimming 100 times, but I found out how much the gym costs so I'll just change it altogether and say I plan to buy a house. I do plan to buy a house; I put down a couple bids last summer, but Anna and I were very unstable and I wasn't as willing to take the necessary risks, plus we've gotten a down payment and had a year to think about where we want to be long term. This year we have less debt, more cash flow, a larger down payment and some experience to draw from.

Where we want to be long term is actually a matter of much debate lately. With my grandmother's house hitting the market at bargain basement prices, I'm tempted to purchase it and start the remodeling process over the next couple years to raise the value. It would mean leaving or working remotely for my job, and having Anna transfer, which isn't a big deal since since her Cornell acceptance allows her to go to basically any school for the first two years so long as her GPA stays high enough and she takes the necessary courses. Still, I am undecided.

Dallas is a hard pill to swallow any way you look at it. It's huge and glamorous and the air is bad, but as many a country artist has found, the reasons to do something are often more compelling than the reasons not to:

     And the Reasons to quit don't out number all the reasons why
     So we keep smokin and we keep drinkin, havin fun and never thinkin
     laughin at the price tags that we pay
     rollin down the fast lane like two young men feeling no pain
     and the reasons for quitin's gettin bigger every day.

Today, Dallas calls out to me, but the reality is that I don't know how my family will react or what will become of the house I grew up in, but it seems a tragedy to let it slip away since Dallas means I'll be close to friends and family again.

Chime in if you have an opinion, I'd love to hear from you.