Add new knowledge to the field of social psychology with my honors thesis: Yes, I did this, though it was not the knowledge that I was hoping to bring forth. I uncovered some information about how and when people think about power—being under someone else’s control versus controlling yourself versus controlling others. See the discussion section of my honors thesis for a thorough explanation.

Break my habit of scratching and picking my skin: No, I did not do this. I managed to stop for a couple months, using a cognitive-behavioral intervention, but it did not stick.

Celibacy: Yes, by my definition I was strictly celibate all year. Now, making this resolution might have made it sound like not having sex was a lifestyle change, but it wasn’t. I don’t go around having sex with people I meet and never have. I just tend to think about sex a lot, and that’s why I decided to be intentional about my normal, celibate lifestyle. I had hoped to get some specific insights out of it, which I’m sorry to say I did not get. I’d hoped that being celibate would take sex out of my mental conversation, kind of like how I stop fixating on sugar when I go off sugar. I hoped, too, that changing my mental conversation in this way would show me my own, unconscious sexism in a clear way; how might I treat women differently if there is no chance or intention of having sex? Maybe I would get to see what it was like to think of women as fellow human beings, and no more. In fact, I thought about sex significantly more while I was celibate. My celibacy acted as a trigger: Being around women reminded me that I was celibate, which reminded me of sex. Oh well.

On the other hand, I do think that being celibate was a valuable experience, just not in the ways I was expecting. I would recommend it to any single person. I don’t feel at liberty to go into those details right now, though. Ask me about it some time.

Dance every day, working on 1) musicality 2) vocabulary 3) style: Well… I danced nearly every day, and I did improve my musicality, vocabulary, and style significantly. But I did not work on those three elements as consciously or rigorously as I’d intended. I just danced a lot and got better. That said, I’m happy with my level of dancing. I can almost always have fun on the dance floor these days, and that’s satisfying.

Finish bachelor’s degree: Yep. I have a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology and graduated with honors.

Get accepted into a couples and family therapy graduate program: Yes, I got accepted to the CFT masters program at the University of Oregon—a great program, very competitive and highly regarded.

Maintain this blog: Yes, some months better than others. I love it.

Meditate every day: This I did not do. I meditated about two out of three days, on average.

Produce a record with David Waingarten: Nope. He made a movie instead of a record.

Record an EP with my band, Abandon Ship: No. We do have all the songs written, though. They just need arrangements. Coming, coming…

See healthcare provider each month until all body concerns are resolved: Yes, I did this but while it felt good to look for help, I failed to resolve any of the symptoms I was having when I wrote this goal. And I’ve added two more… but at least I spent a lot of money. I feel even more cynical about the ability of health care providers.

Set up a slick system of musical collaboration over the internet and use it regularly: No. I’m still on the verge, but I failed to get my studio up and running after my move. This is the failure I’m most sad about. I was really wanting to have my system set up by the time I started grad school, so I could just record and email a demo whenever I got an inspiration, without hassling with gear. Now I’m super busy and there are several hours of work between me and easy recording.

Shift my schedule three hours earlier for at least one term: In bed by 11 pm: Nope. I did shift my schedule two hours earlier, on average, and I did get to bed by 11 for about one term, but not in a row, which was my intention. I like the earlier schedule, though, and I’m on track for in-bed-by-11 this term so far.

Sing out every day: I did not sing every day. I sang more, but not every day. When I did sing, I sang out, like I meant it, and I think my voice has improved in some ways. So many things to do every day!

Take African dance classes: Yes. I took two or three classes and loved them. But they made my back hurt and I haven’t gone since last November. I ended up taking ballet classes instead.

Write at least one song per month: No, I did not do this. I barely wrote any music. It makes me sad. I don’t like it.

I count 7 yeses, 8 nos, 1 clear kind-of. Not too bad. And 4 of the nos weren’t complete failures. Overall I’m pleased with what I accomplished this year

With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it nothing can succeed. Consequently he who moulds public sentiment, goes deeper than he who enacts statutes or pronounces decisions. He makes statutes and decisions possible or impossible to be executed. – Abraham Lincoln

Thank you so much for helping to get Obama into office. I didn’t think you could do it and it’s a huge deal. It’s also not nearly enough, and if you stop there I will have to conclude that you just wanted a guy who looks cool in office, or maybe to assuage your White guilt, and didn’t listen to what he was saying.

The president is not a vigilante you send in to fix everything. You have to continue to represent yourself and your movements, to him and to the system he’s operating in. Yes, he represents you, but he also represents hundreds of millions of other Americans, most of whom do not share your opinions. He also has to negotiate with some very, very, very powerful organizations who do not have your best interests at heart.

Consider the current battle for health care reform. You are a stakeholder in the outcome. With you are millions of very confused and apathetic Americans. Against you are several huge, entrenched, and very politically savvy industries—insurance and pharmaceutical, off the top of my head. I say “against you” because these are made up of publicly traded corporations, legally bound to be as profitable as possible, but not legally bound to keep Americans healthy. These companies are already doing great. They don’t need or want reform. Your politicians don’t need it either. You do. So it has to be from you that the political will comes. It can’t be Obama against them. It has to be us against them.

Maybe you don’t care that much about health care. It’s understandable; you’re probably 25 and your healthcare crisis of the year will probably be a sprained ankle or a bad cold. Think about your grandparents—ask them how much of their income they spend on health care, or would if they didn’t have the veterans’ benefits that you will probably not have. Imagine yourself old and dependent. What kind of a system do you want in place then? Everyone ends up disabled eventually, everyone lucky enough to live that long. What happens now may determine your quality of life then.

Maybe you think that health care reform is like the election: The media is making it look like a close call, but Obama is unbeatable. He is not, I promise you. And I also promise you that you don’t want him to go down in flames on this. Ask anyone over 35 what bombing on health care did to Bill Clinton’s presidency, and he could lay that failure on Hillary. Civil rights and immigration reform in the 1960s did not happen because Kennedy was thoughtful, well-spoken, and charismatic. They happened because the Civil-Rights Movement was undeniably strong and insistent. Ask anyone over 60.

Or maybe you’re confused. Perhaps the pseudo-news shows shouting “socialized medicine” in irate and/or scared voices are having their intended effect on you. If so, try talking to a Canadian or, better yet, someone from Finland. They tend to love and be proud of their country’s health care in a way that is alien to someone from the US.  Believe me, Canadians are not pouring across the border to take advantage of our amazing health care system. The Canadians I know make a trip home if they need to see a doctor. Or perhaps you’ve gotten lost in the mundane details. It is a complex issue—a lot more cognitively demanding than whooping for Obama at a rally, or even making phone calls or going door to door—but you can do it! Less than ten generations after the abolition of slavery, you got an African American into the presidency of the United States. You can handle it. And if you did listen to his campaign speeches, continued interest and work is what you signed up for.

Or maybe you are angry at Obama for not taking on your pet issue first. Health care reform is not my pet issue either, so I can sympathize, but don’t believe that he has lost interest in your cause, or decide that he is abandoning his campaign platforms because you disagree with his priorities. I believe he cares about and wants to accomplish all of the ideas he talked about while campaigning, but again, the political urgency and will has to come from you and your movement, not him. And if he goes down on health care, he’ll be that much less able to back you when it’s your turn. I think your best strategy is to back him on this, if you can, and keep your movement strong and insistent.

Please, don’t give up on your man. He needs you now more than he needed you a year ago. Don’t do it because I will look down on you if you don’t—I know, fat chance—do it because Obama is more than just a beautiful, cool guy who speaks well: He is a real chance for systemic, progressive change in this country, and we really need it.

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