Editor Column: Resolutions for 2016
We made it. We made it through the holiday season.
This should be cause for celebration, but after Christmas and New Year’s Eve, who has the capacity to stomach another celebration? I do find it funny how we close out this string of festive occasions by making resolutions to, theoretically, better ourselves in the new year.
I’ve never made one of these promises to myself, or if I did then I clearly did not keep it because I cannot remember it.
So this year, I decided to make some resolutions that I’m sure I will regret making, and definitely regret publishing. No, going to the gym more often, or ever, is not on the list. Same goes for eating healthier.
Both of those seem to be popular choices with people, and both are things that I routinely tell myself throughout the year regardless of some resolution. I also routinely fail at both. (Why else would I tell myself that I need to do those tasks if I were already doing them?)
In 2016, I will work to:
Get out more
To a degree, I’ve always been somewhat of a loner. But in the past year I’ve put too much value in my alone time — I’ve become somewhat of a hermit. For the first several months here in Rifle, Friday evenings denoted the time when I would retreat to my apartment for the weekend. I’d head out for a hike on Saturday — alone — and maybe make a trip or two to City Market between stints out on the back deck, where I would read, relax and work a little.
Now, Friday is the time I either prepare to travel to Salida for the weekend to be with my wonderful girlfriend, or I prepare for her to arrive here in Rifle. (That reminds me, I need to be more open and commutative in my relationship.)
Even with this new person in my life, I tend to cling to my reclusive ways, which I justify in several ways. The first being my job. Making a living talking to people, which really is what journalism is all about, serves as a perfect excuse to retreat during the hours not spent working.
The other excuse is money. Who can afford to go out and do things? Not I. This brings me to my second resolution:
Manage my money better
Telling myself that I can’t go out because I don’t have money is not a lie — it’s very real. But where the hell did it all go?
Nearly a quarter of a decade into life, I’m in an honestly good place. Going through college with the expectation of making less than $20,000 per year (several friends who graduated and started working at local community papers informed me that their starting salary was less than $20,000) I’d say that I’m doing alright; not great, but with no children or student loans, I’m in a much better place than a good number of people my age.
You would think that my savings account looks pretty good, right? Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.
I do pay off my credit card each month, and stay on top of my bills — for the most part — but the balance in my savings is pretty pathetic. So again, where the hell is it going?
The truly scary part is that I have no idea. I know some of my regular expenses: groceries, entertainment, rent and utilities.
I don’t have cable, but I do have three online newspaper subscriptions, Internet service, a Netflix account and a Hulu account (mostly because I’m too lazy to cancel it).
My rent is not “too damn high,” and my utility bills are manageable.
So in 2016, I will do a better job of tracking my spending and setting some aside for the inevitable rainy day. Speaking of rain, I need to:
Learn more about water law
Many of you are probably familiar with the old saying: “Whiskey is for drinking, water is for fighting.” I was not aware of this adage before moving to Colorado. In Ohio, water is not the intense issue that it is here and all over the West.
The other thing I’ve learned is that the water issue is as complicated as it is important. It’s no coincidence that the two newspapers I’ve worked for have a special person dedicated to covering water issues.
The laws and issue are complicated, but in 2016 I hope to wrap my head around some of this. It’s something I’ve been meaning to do for the past year, but I’ve been unable to:
More times than not, my average week begins with a 12-15 hour day on Monday, followed by a marathon stretching from early Tuesday morning into Wednesday afternoon. This is largely due to the basic schedule of the job. The paper comes out Thursday, which means it needs to be ready and sent to the printing press no later than 3 p.m. Wednesday.
Often, content comes in late or a story develops in the short time between Monday and finishing the paper.
However, there are somethings I could get in front of prior to the start of the week that would make things less hectic. To a degree, I already do some of this over the weekend, but I’ve fallen back heavily on my old tendency of saying, “I’ll get to it latter.”
In nearly every case, there is no reason why I can’t have this column wrapped up a week or more in advance, but most of the time I start and finish writing it the Tuesday before publication. But no more, and seeing as how I’m writing this on New Year’s Eve (instead of partying) I’d say I’m off to a good start on this one.
I could go on, and on, but I’d only be digging myself into a deeper hole. For now I’d say this — along with struggling to remember to write 2016 and not 2015 — is enough.
Oh, one more thing: I resolve to continue the effort of improving the quality of our content and the paper each week. Help me do so by contacting me with your thoughts, suggestions, criticisms, etc. Let’s make 2016 better than 2015.
Ryan Hoffman regrets publicly making these resolutions. You can reach him at 970-685-2103 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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