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2019: Setting Intentions

Last year, I wrote a post about my intentions for 2018. They were exceedingly optimistic, particularly given how much work I had to do in 2018 for safety and healing, but it was a well-intentioned effort nevertheless. What I learned from it is that I need to be more specific and set more concrete plans.

So for this year's version of the post, I'm going to be more specific. Here we go.

Code more for fun

Last year I wanted to spend more time learning more skills and keeping up to date on coding. I did a pretty good job at that, and I learned a lot about data engineering and infrastructure. This year, I want to start experimenting with Julia and to write a basic app in F#.

Study Math

It's been too many years since I've taken courses for progress towards my Master's degree. For this, I want to refresh my calculus skills. I'm going to work through my copy of Stewart's Calculus, cover to cover. I also want to refresh working through Rudin's Principles of Mathematical Analysis.

Study Language

Last year my goal was to reach A1 in German. I probably am close to that just through immersion. This year, I want to formally achieve B1 competency. To accomplish that, I plan to work through the texts I already own. My goal is to spend 3 hours a week in self-study, and to sign up for a language class when I have a sense of where I might find some stability in Germany.

Also, I want to have comfort reading Thai and be able to reach roughly A1 in the language.

Keep First Vigil Going

There are still a lot of Nazi cases to track, so I want to make sure I am working on First Vigil weekly.

Furnish my Berlin Apartment

I want to get my living space into livable shape. I have a whole living room to furnish, lights to install, and a spare bedroom to equip.

Exercise More

Surgery for the last two years has set me back, and my body is suffering and I'm not getting younger. I want to ride my bike more. I want to sign up for a ballet class again, and I want to skate more. Ideally, I'll find a beer league in Berlin to play hockey.

Learn the Dulcimer

I have a dulcimer! I want to play it more and get comfortable knowing at least three songs by the summer. This is probably very doable.

Write More

I want to get better at writing, and the only way to do that is to write more. So I want to commit time to working on writing every week, and I want to keep this blog up to date by adding regular content. This will require me to set aside time every week to write and work on things. That's the point; carving out time for myself and the things I enjoy, and spend less time doing what the world demands of me.

Read more

Years and years ago, I set a goal to read the Modern Library Top 100. I managed to get about a quarter of the way through, but it's been a while since I've worked on it. And a lot in my life has changed, so I'm going to restart from scratch. I'm going to work on it in descending order, by 10s. So I'll start with #100, then move to #90, #80, and so on. My goal for the end of the year is to finish all the books ranked $0 \bmod 10$, i.e. 10 books, give or take. Not all of the entries on the list are single books; some are trilogies, etc., so it's a good amount of reading. Many of the books I plan to read this year I've already read, but it's good to re-read them with a new perspective.

In fact, here are the books I intend to read:

  • 100. The Magnificent Ambersons, Booth Tarkington.

This book is actually the second in a trilogy, preceded by The Turmoil and followed by The Midlander. I have read The Magnificent Ambersons once before, but never the trilogy. So I plan to knock out all three.

  • 90. Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie

I loved this book the first time around and cannot wait to read it again.

    1. Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh
    1. The Alexandria Quartet, Lawrence Durrell

These books blew my mind when I first read them. It'll be a joy to get back to them again. I remember my young queer self being moved by the inclusion of bisexual characters.

  • 60. The Moviegoer, Walker Percy

This was my favorite book to recommend to bratty high school students looking for a short read at the end of summer vacation when I worked at a bookstore.

  • 50. Tropic of Cancer, Henry Miller

I'll go ahead and read Tropic of Capricorn after this, too, but I remember the first 40 pages of this being absolutely bizarre and sexual.

    1. The Heart of the Matter, Graham Greene
    1. The Good Soldier, Ford Madox Ford

This took me forever to get through the first time around. Frankly, it was boring as fuck. I'll power through it again.

  • 20. Native Son, Richard Wright

This one I haven't read yet. This is such an important book and I am glad I can read it when I am more mature.

  • 10. The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck

I have read this book at least three times but I'll get through it again. It really is a spectacular novel.

Author

EG

Emily is a data scientist and activist. The opinions shared herein are her own.