Happy New Year! Should I still be saying this, seeing as it is already mid January?
I like making to do lists and although I don’t want my life to be a checklist, I can’t help it. If life life were an adventure at sea, some people are happy just drifting with the wind, going wherever it takes them. While I like to drift, I want to know that I’m drifting towards a particular destination. So that’s why I’ve made a list of my goals this year. I want to live every day as an unknown adventure but in reality my days are predictably mundane (yawn). Anyway, by the time it’s Christmas this year, I hope I will experience adventures undreamed of and in addition, I will have achieved the following:
- Move to Tokyo
Since I moved to Japan in October of 2014, I have been living in a rural town called Nomi in Ishikawa Prefecture. Life is quiet and idyllic, perfect for doing a PhD or raising a kid, for example. But from April this year, I will start a new job in Tokyo (which I hope to excel at) and while I have visited the city several times for days at a time, I have never actually lived there. I need to find an affordable apartment in a good neighbourhood not far from work, a school for Jeremy as he will be starting elementary school and an after school program for him (because I’m not going to be back from work by 3 or 4 p.m. when school ends).
2. Make a travel calendar and hopefully stick to it
I really want to travel abroad (out of Japan I mean) this year and I have a somewhat flexible schedule at the moment, but I don’t have any money for travel. From April when I start working, I hope to make some money, but I am not sure I will have the time. However, I still hope to travel abroad 4 times this year:
- Golden Week – there is an entire week of public holidays this year because in addition to the golden week holidays starting in the first week of May, there is also 2 public holidays for the new emperor’s coronation. The current emperor is stepping down and his son will take over from May, 2019. The Heisei era is over. The only problem is that flights at this time are at their most expensive as literally everyone in Japan will be on the road. So I think we (J and I or should I say I and J?) can only afford to go somewhere nearby, like Taiwan.
- Summer Break – kids have like a 2 month summer break and I hope we can travel abroad with J if I can take 5 days of leave from work. I’m hoping to go to London or Paris.
- Autumn Break – if I take 2 days of leave and combine it with a long weekend, I can travel somewhere in East Asia, like Vietnam or Thailand, for 4 or 5 days.
- Christmas and New Year Break – I hope to spend this period in Kenya meeting up with my family and catching up with my friends.
3. Take the JLPT N1 in December
While I have mastered most of the grammar, I need to learn like 1,000 new Kanjis and the corresponding vocabulary in order to pass the JLPT N1. I have about 10 months to study if I can put in the effort.
4. Writing Goals
I’ve always had this dream of becoming a creative fiction writer. I know I have it in me but I am either lacking in inspiration, discipline, time or all three. Anyway I hope by the end of the year I will have done the following when it comes to writing:
- 1 blogpost a week for this blog
- Start on my first novel, I haven’t decided what it will be about¯\_(ツ)_/¯
- Write 2 short stories and submit to short story competitions. I have 2 ideas for the stories.
I also want to submit a journal paper that I am working on during this postdoc period.
5. Reading Goals
Read 13 books, 12 in English, 1 in Japanese.
Thus far I have read “When Breath Becomes Air” by Paul Kalanithi.
6. Sort out my finances
I am no longer a student and no longer in my 20s. It’s finally time I started thinking of my personal finances in terms of:
- savings and pension – I should have savings for emergency cases and I should have a solid pension plan, not just what the company will recommend/offer.
- Investment – I should have an investment plan. It’s not enough to just have money in the bank, you need to grow the money by investing it.
- J’s future – while Japanese schools are free until high school, there are a lot of costs unrelated to tuition that keep on increasing. I should also save for his university tuition. I am not even sure how much longer we will be in Japan, but I should still save for his future schooling expenses.
7. Take Care of J
Although these 2019 goals are numbered, they are not exactly in order of importance. Taking care of Jeremy is the first priority in my life. He’s growing up quite fast. He’s fluent in Japanese but I do need to teach him reading and writing English, and Swahili too hopefully.
8. Take care of myself
You know, eat healthy, exercise, read, and buy myself a Kindle for my birthday. I am tired of lugging around my books. This year, I want to be more kind to others, help others as much as I can.
What do you hope for in 2019?