I just turned 32 less than a month ago and my life is significantly different than it was this time last year.

Personal relationships represent the biggest changes, those connections we maintain by choice outside of work — acquaintances, best friends, significant others.

For the first time since my move to Texas in 2010, I find myself without a social circle, in a brand new land called Oshawa, Ontario, some 1,600 km away from my safety net in Nova Scotia. My everyday friends are no longer everyday. Contact with my parents, who still live in Nova Scotia, is waning. Even though I'm surrounded by more people in Ontario, I'm definitely alone — more alone than I was at home.

Another side effect of the move is my newfound singledom — even though Jennifer moved here, too. We'd probably still be together had it not been for the move, but neither of us would've been happy. This is for the best, though I'm still coming to terms with it some four months later.

In place of my friends, family, and Jennifer sits a blank canvas with which I can do whatever I want.

For the first time in many years, I have my own living space to do with as I please. I can leave a half-empty (half-full?) glass on my desk to the point where becomes a science experiment and not worry about reprisal. (Though, to be honest, I'd probably beat myself up over it.)

Additionally, if jumping careers from information technology to automotive journalism has taught me anything, I can basically achieve any endeavour I set my mind to if I allot myself enough time and effort.

So, now I need something to do. More specifically, I need to find a lot of things to do. That's not to say I'm not already incredibly busy with the day-to-day operations of The Truth About Cars, my primary home on the web, but I definitely need to find another focus for my time that doesn't involve swiping Tinder like a zombie.

At the risk of making a New Year's Resolution list, here are some of the projects I want to pour my heart and soul into this year to grow myself personally and professionally.

  • Quit smoking: Self explanatory.
  • Get in shape and be generally healthy: Oh shit, this is turning into a New Year's Resolution list.
  • Learn to code again: It's been so long since I did any nuts-and-bolts coding. I want to learn how to create a WordPress theme and develop neat-o features from scratch. (Hrm, this website looks like a good place to start.)
  • Read more: Many moons ago, I used to pick up a book every single night before going to sleep. I need to do that again.
  • Write more: I want to write about everything, not just about cars. (Though, if I'm honest with myself, I need to write more about cars, too.) I want to open up my life completely to new experiences and share them with the world — the good, the bad, the ugly. No instasugarcoating. Just raw shit. Life shouldn't be presented through a filter.
  • Learn to effectively manage my time: Yes, I realize I've just wasted a bunch of time writing this post and forgotten to eat even though I'm hungry. So what? Priorities!
  • Be more involved: I have a tendency to not involve myself in things where I don't see an immediately tangible benefit for myself. I don't do volunteer work. I rarely take time out of my day to help others. That needs to change.
  • Get uncomfortable: Comfortability is the bane of exploring something new. If I'm to find a social circle outside of work and the greater automotive industry, I need to start putting myself in situations I never would have in the past. A slight level of personal anxiety and depression has made getting uncomfortable difficult, but it's something I need to overcome. That means going to bars — alone. I've never gone to a bar alone unless it was a regular watering hole. Gumption traps, be gone.
  • Do a team sport: This spring, I need to find a beer league of some sort. It could be competitive chicken fighting for all I care. I just need to do something.

That's it for now

Posted by Mark Stevenson

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