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A Really Long Short Year

I’m quite a fan of how 2014 rolled out for me. If there is fate, and fate is a person (or god, or alien, depending on which novels you have read more of), then fate would’ve nudged his/her/its buddy and said, “Hey Shai, check out this life plan I just made. Yeah, look at the 2014! I know right, that’s gonna be fun to watch. Yeah, let’s see how he handles that.” Yeah, one of those years. Here at Gradifying, we’ve been reflecting on 2014 and calibrating our focus for 2015. I’m hitting cleanup, and here are a couple of my thoughts.

Ever get that feeling that there are so many options that it’s hard to pick which ones to choose? That has been my whole 2000’s, but I’ve just recently caught onto how this choice overload can be paralyzing. It’s like when you have the choice of 24 types of jams – various flavours by various brands, each touting various different life-extending claims – and spending so much time trying to process it that you end up just grabbing the one that’s closest to your hand at the moment you become fed up. (See Barry Schwartz’s Paradox of Choice TedTalk, or Sharday Mosurinjohn’s ground-breaking dissertation on choice overload and boredom in August in an internet near you!)

For me, I end up reaching for the thing that screams the loudest (the squeaky wheel gets the grease). When time is at a premium (I’m sure my fellow grad student comrades out there can understand this concept) that thing turns out to rarely be the thing I want to do the most, and then it drags out until I end up passing up on too many great opportunities that I do want to do. I guess what I’m saying is: priorities get a little jumbled without some deliberate pre-planning, and I really came onto this idea on 2014. I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy the things I did in 2014. I’m just saying I want to enjoy even more in 2015.

My research (grumbling with friends and strangers) has informed me that I’m in good company. Unlike my approach in 2014 (head down, all the way in the sand), I’ve got a plan. The plan is to plan, then tell someone the plan, and then tell that someone at the end of the day how well I did, every day.

Willy Wonka gets smart, both in the facetious I've-got-your-back ways.

Willy Wonka gets smart, both in the facetious I’ve-got-your-back ways.

Sounds easy, and I think it probably is. It sounds effective, and I know it is. But habits are funny beasts. Sometimes they work for you, and sometimes they are insubordinate. Has anyone out there tried to asphyxiate the non-planning habit? Tell me about it (see empty box at the bottom of your screen that reads “Comment”), because we’re well into January and this habit is still making me jump through hoops.

Despite the commonly cited cliché that “life is short,” I believe life is long. Try holding your breath for 80 to 90 years; it’s a long time. We live our lives in a certain way, and when we realize it’s time for a change, whether big or small, we’ve got the rest of our lives to enjoy our new way of living. That sounds worth the effort. So, maybe you don’t believe in making New Year’s resolutions. Maybe you don’t buy into that kind of hype. That’s fine. Choose some landmark occasion that’s meaningful to you and that you’ll regularly remember to prepare for. Take an hour to reflect on that last period of time, make a plan to be that person you want to be more of, make that change whether it’s big or small, and enjoy yourself more in 2015.

Hoping this is your 2015!

Hoping this is your 2015!

This was fun. Good chat. We should do this again sometime…

Posted in General, New Students, Student Perspective Tagged with: , , ,

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