Not completely unrelated to the new year, I’ve been thinking about what I can do to improve my hindsight impression on 2008 over 2007. There are a few things I’d like to simply list out and see if I can make them happen. Some are kind of mundane, and others are more big-picture, but they’re all something I think I can work on if I keep them in mind over the coming year.

Do more stuff with the kids - I want to create a separate list of things I can do with the kids that we’ll both enjoy. Most of the time I think I am not as close to them as I could be, and as much as I desperately want them to like me, I don’t know what to do to make that happen. A concerted effort is necessary. Begin today.

Get a regular schedule - The last quarter of 07 was a wasteland of early mornings, late nights, little sleep, zombie-like behavior and a miasma of unmemorable days. To affect this change, I need to get back into a healthy mental routine that I enforce on myself. Sure, it’s ok to slack here and there as I can afford it, but silly things like shaving every morning make a subtle but additive impact. Keeping a reasonably regular schedule should help make time during the day for the rest of the stuff in this list, and make more days seem memorable and significant.

Read more - I think I’m becoming an idiot. No, really. I was pretty smart in high school, and then coasted along in college. And when all of my regular friends started to drift away, I really didn’t have anyone to keep that edge sharp. With Pat and Brian’s visit over the holiday, I realize how much I miss intelligent, quick-witted conversation with real, in-the-flesh humans. And the only way I see to sharpen the edge required for that type of chat is to read everything I can get my hands on.

Be more friendly with more people - It seems like I’ve been working on this one forever, and perhaps I should set a more specific goal. I need to make friends to have those witty conversations with if I ever expect that kind of interaction. Finding people that qualify is an extra difficulty on top of meeting people generally. There must be a way that doesn’t involve church.

Throw the BBQ - Have I mentioned that I celebrate my birthday in June? Did I tell you that I have a barbecue that weekend and invite everyone I know? If not, then either I’m totally failing this item, or consider yourself currently informed. I will do this thing this summer if it kills me, and it almost has in years past. There will be food and entertainment, even for kids. I hope you can make it. Telling you it’s going to happen makes it a lot harder to get out of it.

Fix the scooter - The scooter in the garage needs work, and I’m not qualified. I would really like to ride it in the spring, take my training course, and get my motorcycle license. I’ve been considering adding “being green” to this list, which I have never been in support of, but I think this is a reasonable start. Compared to driving my car everywhere, this should be both frugal and conservative.

Enjoy things more - It’s funny putting this on the list because it seems like all I’m ever doing (as I perceive myself through other people) is gratifying myself. But it’s like I’m looking for a high I can’t get, and now I think I need to be more simple and enjoy simpler things more than I have. Being outside, enjoying someone’s company, having a meal out - this is a very excerpt from the list of things that maybe I don’t appreciate as much as I could.

Be better - I’ve found that I’m pretty good at some things. This is really no excuse to rest on those laurels. This is a chance to excel; to be above and beyond what people even expect of my prior abilities. I’ll stop learning when I’m dead.

Get myself more involved - I did a presentation last year on PHP frameworks for the local PHP meetup that I think went pretty well. I’m not saying that I’m a natural public speaker, but it’s something that I think I could find pleasure in - both the act of speaking in front of an audience and the ability to convey what expertise I have on the topic of discussion. I would like to be more involved in events like these. I would like to run a panel. I would like to present again. Bigger audiences, bigger venues, get my name in lights and take over the world. Megalomania aside, I think this year is a year to get that rolling and make a name.

Ah, this list is too short. With more time I could probably triple it. I’ve had so many ideas for this list over the past couple of weeks; ideas that start, “When I get the chance, I’d like to…” Well, guess what? The time is now. There is no other time, otherwise I’ll keep pushing it off. So it’s time to get started.