2008: Raise. The. Bar.

Early last January, I came up with a list of things that I thought would be nice to see happen in 2007.

While I only achieved about half of my list, what I did accomplish – either through opportunity, the right circumstances, a little prayer or free will – surprised me immensely.

So, it’s that time of year again. Christmas is over. I’ve squelched the party hangover with some water and a greasy-but-good McDonald’s combo, and I’m steeling myself for the beginning of another year (and another birthday in just over three weeks’ time). 

Last year, my old personal mantra was to focus.

Three weeks ago, I got my new one.

A co-worker and I were leaving the building after work, and we were discussing the new permanent host for our show, who’s joining our team early this month. She was excited, because she thought he could bring a fresh perspective.

I was cautiously optimistic. We’d gotten used to our team of six, with the talent occasionally coming in to look things over, or to pre-tape things. How would we adapt to a new person on the scene?

But she made an interesting point. She said she liked working with people who were willing to give input into how to do things differently, or improve what was already being done … people who made the effort to raise the bar on their work, instead of sticking to the status quo. 

On the subway ride home, her words had me thinking about my own life.

So after a bit of mulling over, here’s what I would like to try and accomplish in 2008:

Look for the next job – and get it. Last year, frustrated with my job at the time, I said I needed a new job. By mid-February, I actually got one! Ten months later, and I’m once again restless. The honeymoon period was brief – and now it’s over. I feel as if I’ve spent more time being crabby than content.

I’m looking for work that inspires, that makes me want to work harder. I know adulthood is sometimes about doing things you loathe in order to get to do the things you love, but it’s getting a bit ridiculous. So, one of two things needs to happen. Either (a) I start pounding the pavement (or the carpet in this case) for my next job, or (b) I find a way to inspire myself in the job I currently have. Either way, I’m tired of feeling as if my brain’s almost completely atrophied.

Be punctual. I should’ve mastered this already, right? Well, over the past couple of years, I’ve gone from genuinely being late for things due to traffic or subway delays to being late for really no good reason. So this year I need to try and set things right – by getting to places on time.

Be neater. When I was a child, apparently I was very neat and tidy. Somewhere along the way, that went completely out the window. Now, I’m a slob – and I know it. Combined with being a packrat by heritage, it’s been sometimes frustrating keeping track of things. I’d like to try and make the effort to be a little tidier at work, and especially at home. (Hoo, boy – this could be difficult.)

Practice some moderation. For most of last year, I always joked to people that when it came to eating, I had no willpower or discipline over what I put in my mouth. And I think after a while, I believed my own hype. I know this has especially been the case in the weeks leading up to the holidays. Stuffing my mouth with cookies. Drinking way too many rum-and-cokes. And this isn’t just with food. I need to tone this down just a smidge (perhaps making the odd exception for special occasions).

Save more money. I think this goes partially hand in hand with the previous paragraph. Towards the end of the year I started making a renewed effort to do this in some areas – while letting things slide in others. Maybe if I cut down on the long cab rides home on Friday nights, and don’t buy as many Starbucks chocolate chunk cookies and Tazo Chai Lattes – or at least find slightly less expensive substitutes – I could save a bit more.

Find a place to live. After six years of commuting between my parents’ house and my workplace downtown, I’m officially tired. I’m thinking about all the time I spend commuting in a given week (as many as 15 hours), and what I could be doing with all that extra time. And it’s eating me alive. Also in the forefront of my mind: do I rent or buy? I know I’ve been adamant with myself about buying a place to live. But the way real estate prices have crept up, what are the realistic chances of me making that big purchase? And do I temporarily give up my dream of ownership, by sucking it up and renting, for the sake of my sanity? I have to seriously think this over. And when I figure out the answer that’s right for me – take action.

Keep travelling. Last year, I achieved a personal goal by finally making it to Spain – by myself. And I had loads of fun. When I returned though, I’d been bitten so hard by the travel bug, I was unbelievably crabby for weeks. This year, a friend of mine – who also visited Western Europe last year – wants to take on a bunch of cities in Central Europe. I’m pretty sure I’m going with her – why not? This will probably be my last trip to Europe for a while, so I want to get in as much as I can. Which leads me to my next “goal” …

Visit some of my friends. Last year, I said I should really visit my friends who are outside of Toronto. I failed in this respect. Miserably. Which means a LOT of friends both near and far are holding IOUs in my name. I’m not sure how many people I’ll be able to see, but I’m definitely going to give it a try. I’ll start with some of my friends in Ontario, and work my way out.

Read more. This may be a combination of being a commuter and my line of work, but I can’t seem to focus on one thing for a long period of time. I’ll start reading a book, then put it down and not look at it for weeks, even if I’m carrying it around with me when I’m travelling on the subway, bus, or streetcar. I’ll sometimes start reading something, and then be overcome with sleepiness within 10 minutes, so I have to put the thing down. And I’m in a field that requires you to be well-read – and I know I don’t read as much as I should. Not just books – magazines, newspapers, etc. Maybe I should also purchase an MP3 player that works so I can download some podcasts and feed my mind.

Be more lady, less girl. Beyond the basic tenets of everyday hygiene, I’m unbelieveably lazy when it comes to taking care of how I look. If I’m dressed, I achieve the main goal. I don’t really wear makeup; if I do, it’s the bare minimum. I wear pants – mainly jeans – almost everywhere I go. Let’s face it – I spend most of my workday at a desk. The time I don’t spend at said desk, I’m running around. And because I commute, I lug so much stuff with me on any given day, by the time I get to work, I’m practically sweating anyway.  I want to be comfortable and practical.

But sometimes on social outings with friends (depending on which set), I feel a bit mismatched. No, I’m not trying to fit with a specific type of clique. But I guess now that I’m getting older, I should try and clean myself up a bit. (Besides, I’ve had this secret fantasy for months now about doing a photo shoot where I dress up – just for kicks … don’t ask, don’t judge.) In any case, I need to lady it up this year. Or at least try.

So there you have it. Will I sail over the bar I’ve set for myself, or knock it down in the attempt?

Only time will tell.

Happy New Year, folks.

3 thoughts on “2008: Raise. The. Bar.

  1. Tanya O says:

    Great list Dee. I have yet to make mine. Too scared to even get started. I’ll just wing it this year. Oh, and… hint, hint… I live in Ontario…

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