It’s 2017! Happy New Year! Here’s to new beginnings, and all that!
You know, speaking of new beginnings, I’ve never been someone who cared too much for New Years’ resolutions. It’s actually become a bit of a yearly tradition for me to completely ignore any ideas of self-improvement for the coming year, at least right up until someone inevitably asks me that perennial New Years’ Day question: “So, what is your New Years’ Resolution?” My response was usually something vague and unimaginative, such as “lose weight” or “be a better person”. But this year, for whatever reason, I’ve been doing more thinking than usual on the topic, and along with the expected self-improvement goals for the new year, I’ve thought of a few resolutions related to my blogging and anime viewing habits that I figured I’d share.
Ani-Resolution #1: Blog Two Times a Month
I’ve been saying for a while that I want to post more on my blog and broaden the types of posts I write to include topics related to anime, but since I started up last summer, I’ve made zero headway on any of that. (Okay, technically, I moved backward with regard to the quantity of posts, but part of that was due to my failure to pace myself starting out, resulting in burnout.) Over the fall and winter months, other circumstances conspired to sap my will to write, which led to several extended droughts where I wasn’t writing at all. In recent weeks I’ve started to move past some of those circumstances, but I still need to establish the discipline to write even when I don’t really feel like doing so. For now, two quality posts every month seems like a reasonable goal. Ideally I’ll post a lot more than that, but as a bare minimum, it seems like a good place to start.
Ani-Resolution #2: Do Some Academic Reading About Anime
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking since my last post about how exactly to approach anime as an art form. As I talked about then, the realization that appreciation of anime is a highly subjective thing was quite a freeing revelation to me. But ironically, as I continued to think about my own perspective on anime, no longer held back by irrational fear of getting my analysis “wrong”, the idea of critical analysis of anime as a medium started to become more appealing to me. Basically, as I began to realize that my appreciation for anime and my opinions about individual shows weren’t somehow deficient without critical analysis to “legitimize” them, the stress my mind placed on learning about the medium of anime from an academic or critical perspective vanished. Ironically, as a result, I now feel free to pursue academic reading on the subject of anime and related topics at my leisure–not because I feel like I have to, but because I want to learn how to discern the craftsmanship that goes into this medium I love so that I can better appreciate it, and better express that appreciation when I share it with the world in my blog. I’ve still got a long ways to go in formulating my own ideas about how artistic expression and appreciation works, but perhaps I’ll read something this year that will help me find the answers I’m looking for.
Ani-Resolution #3: Watch My Friends’ Favorites That I’ve Missed So Far
I’m a stickler about spoilers, so given how long it’s been since I’ve received some of my friends’ strongest anime recommendations, it’s a wonder (and a credit to their patience) that they’ve managed to avoid spoiling them in my presence. These are shows that I’ve intended to watch for years, which for various reasons got relegated to the backburner, never to return. This list includes shows like Code Geass, Gundam Wing, Hellsing and Hellsing Ultimate, and Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex (probably among others, as I am almost certainly forgetting something). I’ll make sure to verify the final list with my friends, and I’ll probably write something on each of them as I watch them over the course of 2017. In fact, the first show on the list, Code Geass, should be arriving from RightStuf any day now…
Ani-Resolution #4: Prepare to Visit Japan in 2018
I don’t fully know what the nature of my visit to Japan in 2018 will be. If possible, I’d like to visit for at least two weeks, possibly three weeks work-permitting, and spend a good portion of that time exploring the northern islands and seeing the more rural, scenic side of Japan. Ultimately, if possible I’d like to make connections while I’m over there that could eventually lead to me living and working in Japan for a period of time. But there are a few things I want/need to do first. First, I need to obtain a passport, which should be just a matter of paying for it and waiting a few weeks. Secondly, I need to save up the money I’ll need for travel and living expenses while I am in Japan. Finally, I want to begin learning the language; specifically, I want to be able to read kana and speak/understand some basic conversational Japanese, at least enough so that I can get by without inconveniencing too many people. I figure, if I’m going to go to the trouble of visiting a foreign nation, the least I can do is try to learn some of the language ahead of time.
So those are my anime-related resolutions for the year 2017! I’m interested to hear if any of your New Years’ resolutions involve anime–if so, leave them in the comments below!
Also, before I close, I do want to say that I know 2016 was a really bad year for a lot of people, both personally and otherwise. World events have seemingly spiraled out of control, a number of beloved childhood heroes from the big screen have passed, and a controversial US election has left many people worrying about what the future may hold for them and their loved ones. For others, 2016’s positives far outweighed its negatives, and for still others, the past year has been a mixed bag, as most years are for most people. To be honest, 2016 was a pretty bad year for me, not for the reasons stated above, but for more personal reasons. My life spiraled into depression for extended periods of time; my relationships with close friends and my performance at work suffered greatly; and my thoughts were constantly marked by feelings of loneliness and that awful combination of self-pity and self-loathing that brings your spirits down to the dumps and holds them hostage there. Looking back on it over the past couple weeks, I’ve begun to realize that some (not all, but some!) of that internal turmoil was exacerbated by my own messed-up priorities. Somewhere along the way I’d lost sight of the things that are truly important and started seeking fulfillment in places I knew I’d never find it. I’m not out of the woods yet, not by a long shot, but I’m going into the new year with a new perspective on what exactly it is that I’ve been missing for so long.
Whatever your circumstances may be, though, if you’re reading this, I want to encourage you to seek out the truth in 2017. Decide for yourself what is truly important in your life, what it is that you are here for, and pursue it with all your heart. And if you find that your heart is empty and you feel like you have no hope, don’t give up! Revisit your priorities and keep searching for the truth until you find it, because I believe it does exist, and it will set you free.
I sincerely want to wish all of you a warm, happy, joyful, and safe new year, full of new and exciting opportunities, and of course, plenty of wonderful anime to enjoy. God bless.