As I sit in my apartment, on my beloved couch on this peacefully quiet New Year’s Day, I’m thinking of the year to come and what I want out of it. I have chosen a word to encompass all that I want out of 2012: Balance.

Thank the heavens above that 2011 is over. If it had gone on much longer, I’d become entirely rotund and completely angry and ultimately explode in a stressful attack of rage. So here’s to 2012 and less rotundness, less anger, less stress, less pain and lots of new things. Mostly, I want a better year than 2011. And the only person who can make it better is me.

So, with that in mind I have decided to pursue a personal project this year, similar to my self-portrait project last year. The self-portrait project (I know, I know, I still haven’t posted the results) brought a lot of lessons, just as I’d hoped. It caused me to look for the tiny moments and meaning in each day and thus both notice and appreciate them; I have a fully documented year in the life, day by day; I learned how to look good in a picture and to appreciate myself, flaws and all. And I learned that I’m good with projects and the structure they provide. So, cue drum roll, this year I will, each month, do something I’ve never done before. I hope to learn new things, experience new things, push myself, and use my personal time wisely. I think I’ll end up with plenty to write about and achieve more of a balance between work and personal life.

Because, ultimately, that’s what it’s about. Balance. I need to learn how to balance my personal life with my professional responsibilities. For that matter, I need to re-learn how to have a personal life! I need to balance healthful choices and indulgences. Rest and activity. My budget.

Below is a list of things I’ve never done before. Ideas for my New Things project, in no particular order. I’m not looking for huge expenses and massive undertakings. Or to push boundaries by terrifying myself. I’m on a budget and don’t need something like skydiving or Far East travel to help me find balance.

  1. Fire a gun/ Go to a shooting range
  2. Martial arts
  3. Learn to meditate
  4. Make home-made pasta
  5. Make my own pickles
  6. Go to a state I’ve never been to
  7. Dancing classes
  8. Bowling league
  9. Enter a skill contest (cooking, writing, etc)
  10. Hike a portion of the Appalachian trail
  11. Mets game
  12. Hockey game
  13. Top of the Empire State Building
  14. Play handball
  15. Knit something
  16. Volunteer in a soup kitchen
  17. Build a cat shelter in my backyard
  18. Pastry class
  19. Take a Continuing Education art course

I think first on my list for January’s New Thing will be either going to the shooting range or building the cat shelter in my backyard (after all, this one is a time sensitive matter that needs to happen before winter hits us hard).

I welcome suggestions of things to do. And would love company doing them. So, please let me know if you have any ideas or want to do any of these items with me.

Happy New Year! And may it be a peaceful and fun year full of balance and firsts!