23 and Resolutions for 2012

So, my birthday week is almost over. Every year, I think of my birthday (January 15, for those of you who don’t know) as a sort of New Year for me. I make New Year’s resolutions and, usually, celebrate with my parents and grandmother. This year, because my housemates were throwing a party, I couldn’t do my traditional dinner with Mom, Dad, and Grandma, but my best friend and old college roommate, Rebecca, came down from Milwaulkee to celebrate with me and Hannah, who is like a cousin and best friend all rolled into one, came too. It was great getting to celebrate with them. Then, yesterday, I celebrated with my community by going out for cupcakes.

At any rate, it’s been a long, busy, filled New Year so far. 2012 seems to be just as busy, if not busier, than 2011. Starting the new year sick from my gallbladder and tired from travel might not have been the smartest way, but the traveling was fun and the gallbladder will be taken care of eventually.

So, my resolutions? Well, to explain the first, I want to share a statistic I read in the December/January issue of Natural Health: “According to the National Endowment for the Arts, the average American only spends 12 minutes a day reading.” (It goes on to say that studies show that regular readers are more likely than non readers to engage in positive civic and individual activities.) This made me think back to the good old days of Mrs. Meusch’s reading class at St. Pats and the 30 minutes a night we were required to read (or 30 pages, since she assumed we could all read at least a page a minute—I mean, it’s not like we were reading Proust). I also thought back to the number of books I successfully completed reading last semester outside of class: 1. It was a book Fr. Jeff asked me to read because the freshmen were reading it and it took me almost the whole semester (as in, I started in August and finished in December) to read it. I mean, sure, I reread five chapters of Henry Adams, intermittently read Pride and Prejudice and The Marble Faun (neither of which have I finished), and read a ton of magazine articles (hence the article mentioned above), but I didn’t actually read books. Now, some of you might not be shocked to hear this, but I was shocked to realize it. For those of you who remember the girl who plowed through fifty to sixty books each semester in Mrs. Meusch’s class, you can see the problem. And I have felt myself getting less and less grammatically correct (truly, I feel myself growing less intelligent by the second sometimes). So, therefore, I need to read books. So my first resolution is to read 100 books in 2012. To help me in this venture, my dear community mate, Patrick, gave me a poster for my birthday that I can record books on as soon as I finish. Currently, 3 weeks into the year, I have one book on it: The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells (which I read on accident, by the way. I meant to read Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, which is on one of my “greatest book” lists, but I downloaded it onto my ipod as a audiobook and then listened to it on the way to Texas, no realizing it was the wrong one. It was a great book, though!). So, I have a lot of reading to do. I’m supposed to be reading 2 books a week, and I’m already 3 books behind (this week isn’t over yet, and I’m almost done with The Things They Carried). Oh well, I’ll catch up. I have quite the pile of books to read and more on lists, but if you have a recommendation, please let me know. Short books that are easy to read are appreciated until I catch up (again, no Proust).

My second resolution is to read the Bible through during 2012, and I started with the Gospels (I started at Advent). I made a schedule, which of course I’m a week behind on. But it’s the thought that counts. And, I’ll catch up eventually when I have time off, or an extreme desire to read the Bible.

My third resolution is to learn how to ride a bicycle. My father bought me one for Christmas (and a bike rack for my car as an early birthday gift) and now my community is going to teach me how to ride it. So far, I’ve determined that I have horrible balance and I’ve managed to fall and bruise myself once (falling off a bike is a little harder on a 23 year old than a 10 year old, I think. I should have learned as a kid, but I didn’t).

I have other resolutions, mostly projects I want to finish (typing my travel journal from Rome, finishing my t-shirt quilt, making a cookbook from my grandmother's recipes). I also want to finally finish memorizing the speech from Henry V (Once more to the breach, dear friends, once more) which I can get halfway though before I get muddled. Unlike the first two, they probably will get done before 2012 is over, but I’m going to need help and encouragement to finish the Bible and read 100 books (by the way, I’m not counting books of the Bible as books… I will count the Old Testament and the New Testament as books).

Let’s see how it goes!