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To learn and to make mistakes

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I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.

Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.

So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.

Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.

Make your mistakes, next year and forever.

Neil Gaiman dispensed this piece of advice a few years back, and somehow I have a feeling this is the way 2014 is going for me. A year of challenges ahead of me, and one which I must embrace or I may end up being pulled in all directions yet glued to the spot without advancing anywhere.

F and I are certainly on track when it comes to making (unexpected) mistakes. We were too excited at the prospect of an apparently suitable and furnished apartment without exhausting every question possible about its conditions. After discussion, we decided to press for remedies from the lessor and finally things seem to be back on track again. The move will be slightly delayed but otherwise, we’re good to go and fingers crossed for not more hitches.

In the mean time, I’m entertain thoughts on other actually interesting challenges for the year. In lieu of new year resolutions, a theme shall converge these challenges and dominate the year. If you recall, towards the end of 2013, I’ve refocused on a path of learning, academically (albeit through online portal) and physically. The more I reflect back on that, the more I would like to hone learning further.

I’m making 2014 the year to learn.

What do I hope to learn and improve on? And how to measure the “success”?
– Coding: complete the lessons of Code Academy and take up a new language
– French: DALF certification and full fluency
– Knitting: complete at least 2 knitting projects
– Photography: understanding of dSLR settings using 40mm/50mm fixed lenses
– Italian: work through Italian for Dummies
– Swimming: continuous swim of 500m

Of course, we learn continuously. That’s part of our daily lives. When I said this is the year to learn, I mean specific learning that requires certain concentration and motivation, in significant doses, and with a lot of deliberate practice. Mistakes will surely follow as I stumble into often unfamiliar territories, and from here I earn the right to learn how to not repeat the same mistakes.

The photography learning meshes well with Project 365, and I finally made a decision too on what I’ll photograph this year. Each week, there will be a theme, based on a word that I’ll grab from my French-English dictionary at the start of the week. This would be a big encouragement for me to interpret the word accordingly through photography.

With all these activities taking place, the time will have to come from somewhere. Shaving off time for leisure reading is likely to be the biggest exchange – not a decision made lightly but makes most practical sense.. I am slightly disappointed that in 2013, for the first time in four years, I failed to make my reading target. To stay realistic, I am going to set a more modest goal for 2014 in this matter: 25 books.

What about you? Do you make new year resolutions? Or do you have a theme you’d like to work on for 2014?

Category: Musing

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2 scribbles & notes

  1. med says:

    Wow…hats off to u lil ;) all the best with your 6 items….knowing u…should not be an issue hehehe
    no specific new year resolutions for me…just try to be as healthy as possible (meaning lose the tummy and dont be fat hoohoo)

    • Lil says:

      thanks for the vouch of confidence! fingers crossed it’ll all come along nicely through the year :)

      hehehe, our (F and I) new year eating-related aim: eat out less but try a new gourmet-end restaurant each month – so, a shift of budget towards more refined dining ;)

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