Fall Projects

The summer has floated by and with a rush, fall is beckoning. The start of the school year always gives me a renewed sense of purpose. It seems that, even though I no longer should be on an academic calendar, I can’t help but fall into its rhythms.

I loved getting fresh school supplies and a new agenda at the start of the school year. I still get really excited when I go into an Office Depot or other chain store with lots of school supplies on display. Each notebook seems to hold the next Pulitzer prize winner and every pencil is destined to solve complex theorems that will one day surmount to a brilliant thesis. Of course, judging the way most of my school supplies went, it’s a far more modest journey, but in September, you can dream.

The weather is beginning to cool. The light is beginning to fade earlier in the day. Soon I’ll be sipping warm tea at night and hopefully feeling as productive then as I feel now about the whole fall-is-a-great-time-to-embark-on-productive-things.

So, here are a few Fall projects I’d like to make progress on (and DO hold me accountable, friends!):

1. Studying Japanese

It will soon officially be more than a year since I lived in Japan and studied the language. I’m beginning to lose my recall of basic words and hiragana. I’ve always believed being monolingual is a weakness, and I’d really like to strive to learn Japanese better, just as many of my Japanese friends are striving to learn English better.

A student’s drawing of me from an art class in Japan

2. Tutoring

I want to interact with students again. Again, soon it will be more than a year since I taught in Japan as an assistant language teacher and I really, really miss it. I’m participating in a program at work where I’ll remotely be in contact with a student once a week to help them with reading and I am beyond excited for it! (and nervous!)

Tateyama Mountain Range

3. Scrapbooking/ Japan Travel Journal

I kept telling myself I’d print some of my best and most memorable moments from Japan and put them into a scrapbook before my sharp memory of that time started to fade. I’m worried some specifics will already be lost to time, but the longer I wait, the more I fear it’ll just never get done. I’ve got to go through the thousands of photos and select just a few to print, arrange, and write about.

4. Letter writing

I’ve severely fallen behind on writing letters since I started my new job. I really believe there’s something special about keeping in touch through mail. I have so many friends, all over the world, and I know at least one thing we all have in common is joy at receiving a personal note in the mail. One of my resolutions this year was to write more letters. Every month from September onwards, it’s my goal to post at least one letter.

5. Run

It’s embarrassing to think that at one time in my life, I could run three miles in 22 minutes and now I can barely run one mile in that time. As you get older you need more training, and more intelligent training at that. Yet it’s also always seeming that you have less and less time. One of my resolutions was to run a marathon by the end of 2016, which is laughable now. But, gosh darn it, I will run at least a 5k! (December 31st-self, you better have made good on this word!)

6. Digital Sticker Pack

This has been on my to-do list since last year. I told my friends in Japan that I would design and make a sticker pack for Line for them to use. I haven’t gotten more than a few sketches in…yet. This fall will be different.

What are your fall projects? Do you have any techniques for keeping manageable goal-setting? What do you do when a project hits a stalling-point and hasn’t moved forward for awhile?

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