Not Quite Resolutions: Goals for 2013

I had half of this post typed up in my iPhone but it disappeared. Let's see how it goes when I do it again...

As far as my life goes, 2012 was amazing. I took a huge leap - all the way across the Pacific Ocean, starting a new life in a new country full of new experiences. Surprisingly, I went through very little culture shock, probably because I like a lot of what current Japanese culture is about.
I traveled to Hiroshima, Kyushu, Taiwan, Korea, and dozens of places around the greater Tokyo/Chiba/Yokohama area. I took thousands of pictures, tried plenty of new food, and made a bunch of friends.

As I approach my one-year anniversary of touchdown, it's time for my goals for year two.

God, has it been a year? On January 10, I touched down in Tokyo. Most of that first week or so of training was a blur, but there are still a bunch of distinct memories. But that was a world away.
For 2013, I want to see more of Japan. I spent most of my weekends last year traveling around Tokyo, but this time I want to reach out further. So my first goal is to take a trip every month. Most months, I'll probably go on a one-day trip or spend the night for the weekend. But I'm hoping to take a four-day weekend in Osaka in March, spend summer vacation in Sapporo, and create my own five-day tour of Kyoto and Kobe. If all goes to plan, I'll see pretty much everything but Okinawa and Shikoku. (Did you know that Shikoku has its own independent baseball league? I didn't until now! I might have to make a trip there eventually...)
I want to continue trying more Japanese food. I haven't been too good at this, though when someone has put something in front of me I've tried it. I have had a couple pieces of sushi, but still no real meal. Conveyor belt, here I come!
Speaking of food, I want to cook more meals at home. Bentos are fantastic - under 500 yen, filling, and easy - just microwave them (or have the store clerks do it for you). But I'm sure I can eat a little healthier and possibly a little cheaper if I cook at home during the week. I lost some weight (20-30 pounds, I think) this year, and I'd like to lose more; eating healthier foods by cooking them myself and using smaller portions will help. I'd really like to lose my belly by this time next year.
I want to write more posts this year for this blog. Last year, I went silent for months at a time. Those were pretty dark times, actually - I was tired, stressed, frustrated, or anxious for some of that time. Once I got into a groove in writing these past couple months, I've felt a lot better. I know most of my posts are about travel, but that's what I came to Japan for. So it only makes sense that I write about my travels! That said, if you have any suggestions for other post ideas ("Hey Ryan, what is the deal with the subway system in Tokyo?" "Have you ever gone to karaoke?" "What are your students like?" etc) then leave a comment or send an email. I'm always looking for inspiration for other ideas, though I've been going ahead with the travel posts. I'm so far behind my travel posts (I just finished my May trip to Kyushu) that I have plenty of material there...
I need to decide in about six months what 2014 will be like, as it will be time for contract renewal again. I really love my teaching job, mainly because of the students. But teaching for an eikaiwa means very little vacation time and not much spending money. There are so many choices: stay where I am, look for a promotion of sorts (emergency teaching, head office position, etc), find a school position in Japan, or even look for a job in Europe or Australia. I'm sure I'm not ready to move back home yet, and actually Japan feels like home. I may not speak the language, but so much of it fits so well. But there's much more to the world out there, and I want to explore more of it.
A big part of that decision will rest on my relationship status. I'm not sure what'll happen in the next couple of months, but if I'm no longer flying solo my choices will narrow a good bit. I'd like to say I have a goal of getting into another serious relationship, but I can't look at things that way. I've learned that trying to plan my life makes things more difficult when options come up. So I'll just say, "We'll see."

I guess that is a good reason why I don't have many goals. Every time I've set long-term goals, they've blown up in my face. I'm not upset about that, in many ways. But I've found that planning for the best case and being flexible when things differently has been beneficial.
So maybe my one and only resolution for 2013 should be: be more flexible. I've received comments at work that I've been extremely flexible when schedules change or problems come up, so I guess it's something I'm doing already. But I want to be better. I dunno.

I feel like I've got some weak goals and a weak resolution. But I can't think of anything better that I could be sure I'd be able to follow through on. Thoughts?

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