Happy New Year 2017

Happy New Year, all!As per tradition, I’m going to lay out my current goals for the new year in the hopes that even attaining a single one will improve the quality of my life. 

The first – and most important – is to make the transition from my current job to wherever life takes me next. Right now we’re still planning on moving to America, but as you know, that’s totally up to President Shit-Pimp Elect at this point. 

The second is to be a better family man than I am and learning to let go of the obsession I have with the idea that the major roadblock to my success in other pursuits is my children. Making more room for others in my heart and being mindful during the time we share. 

The remainder are in no particular order but:

I want to make health in its many facets a bigger and more-valued part of my life. Tai chi, meditation and proper diet, while researching and exploring deeper aspects of meditation and the mindbody connection to hopefully make a positive effect on my colitis and obsessive compulsive tendencies. Less coffee, much less alcohol, no sweets, and a replacement of those habits with tea. It would also be nice to learn the Bagua stepping method. 

I want to focus on my art in several different areas. With The Ballad of Cawnye, my friend and I aim to launch a proper website by the end of February and I hope to keep up the biweekly release schedule while improving my drawing skill as well as the logistical planning of making a comic. I plan on working towards perfecting my penmanship in both English and Japanese, learn copperplate Calligraphy, continue practicing my offhand flourishing, and deepening my skill and knowledge of Japanese Calligraphy. I also hope to improve my use of pen grips and ween myself off of anchoring my wrist to the page when writing in pen and fine brushes. Let’s cure my eagle-grip. If possible I’d like to carve a few more seals and learn some origami so I can improve my folding and handling of paper. I hope to surpass 2nd Dan in Calligraphy before leaving Japan. 

Finally, I really want to focus on deepening my view of the world through reading. I spent 2016 listening to some very life-changing books like A Short History of Nearly Everything and The Better Angels of Our Nature, and I hope to continue forming a clearer and more informed view of the world I live in. I want to sit down with the Tao Te Ching some more and really meditate on my world-views in the context of that philosophy. 

2015 and 2016 were definitely years where I think my interests and pursuits flourished and diversified uncontrollably, but I’ve spent the past half-year with that Taoist idea of “simplify your affairs” in the back of my head. Maybe it’s just a meaningless categorical difference, but I suppose I’m trying to cut things down to Family, Work, Health, and Art and begin cultivating legitimate mastery of my skills.

I still have an ever-growing list tucked away in the pages of my 2016 journal with all the things I want to learn before I die. Most people have a bucket list of one-time experiences and places to visit, but you won’t find a single one of those listed. For better or for worse, I strive for self-cultivation. While it’s difficult to accept that I may never learn piano or the guitar, how to fight with drunken boxing, how to care for bonsai, or gain a rank in shogi or even certification in kanken, I suppose I need to focus on depth versus breadth for a while, especially in light of the fact that I’ll be looking for a job soon. 

Let’s make 2017 the year of mastery: Mastery of mind, emotion, and body. 
And of course, let’s play some damn games. 

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