A young Czech couple kisses as a layer of empty bottles and beer cans covers the Old Town Square in Prague after the end of the millennium celebrations on Saturday, January 1, 2000.

Rich Geib's Y2K New Year's Resolutions!

It is a new century, but it is the same ol' Rich Geib! What should I do? Where to go? How to live?

We human beings are ideally rational creatures who can influence our fortunes by planning and then building our futures. Unfortunately, it seems in the maelstrom of wrestling with the challenges of life often we tend to drift and lose sight of the bigger picture -- and I am no exception! Consequently, I take New Year's Resolutions somewhat seriously as a means towards taking a good look at myself, deciding where I want to go, and figuring out what needs to happen to get there. Hence this business of making lists of resolutions -- which I have done every New Year's Day for some ten years now -- and forcing myself to spell everything out and to be kept accountable by making them public.

"Life is formed from the inside out. What I am inside determines the issues in the battle of life."
Dr. William Hornaday

"The road to happiness lies in two simple principles: find what interests you and that you can do well, and put your whole soul into it - every bit of energy and ambition and natural ability you have."
John D. Rockefeller III

"Life is a grindstone. But whether it grinds us down or polishes us up depends on us."
L. Thomas Holdcraft

YEAR OF 2000

  • Expand from rudimentary menu of meals you can/do cook.
    Excellent start last year, but expand repertoire to include new and adventuresome meals. Don't be afraid to experiment! DO keep up the healthy trends with respect to vegetables and vitamins started last year. Remember: the kitchen can be a place to explore and play! And remember how cooking for others can be so enjoyable and rewarding for you.

    Consequences of not achieving resolution: I will remain a beginning chef. I shall drive myself nuts with the same meals over and over again.

  • Fulfil social obligations.
    Kauffman's wedding in February; Meg's wedding in March; Wang's and Phil's weddings in September. The whole world is getting married!

    Consequences of not achieving resolution: Be a COMPLETE loser and POOR friend and cousin.

  • Work-out goals.
    Last year was stellar in the aerobic realm, but there needs to be work done in a couple of areas. You need to keep up the same high intensity of exercise, but you need to exercise more intelligently and diversely. Your short-twitch major muscle groups should be as well conditioned as your heart and lungs.

    • Move more into the gym. Drop reps from 12 to 10 and work towards failure at the end of sets. Bomb your muscles until they burn and are ready to seize up; rather than endurance muscle, aim for explosive power. Stagger your workouts and allow for proper rest, but really push for harder anaerobic workouts in the gym.
    • Keep up the swimming! It feels good afterwards, but it does not feel natural at the time. But the more you do it, the easier it will become. As the spring arrives and the weather gets warmer, swim often in the ocean after bike rides.

    Consequences of not achieving resolution: Unbalanced aerobic-anaerobic exercise life. Failure to move to next level of work-out regimen.

  • Weekend road-trips.
    Weekend biking trips along un-populated sections of California coast. On Saturday bike from downtown Ventura to around Lake Casitas, then back along the coastline from Carpenteria, swim in the ocean afterwards to cool down, grab dinner and movie in town, and then sleep on the beach on Saturday. Repeat in Santa Barbara and Santa Ynez Valley on Sunday with a lazy dinner at State St. afterwards. In short, do the following: Soak up the sun, enjoy the ocean, and drink in with your eyes hundreds of miles of beautiful SoCal scenery -- all in one weekend.

    Moreover, on a three-day weekend a couple of times in the year 2000, make the bike trip from L.A. to San Diego and take the train back.

    Lastly, try to make at least one visit and bike ride with Joe Hubbell all the way up in San Luis Obispo.

    Consequences of not achieving resolution: Failure to enjoy the year 2000 as much as possible. Failure to suck the marrow out of life.

  • Summer 2000.
    One week in Atlanta with John, then bike to North Carolina and one week with Brent, then bike to Virginia Beach and one week with Tonya, then bike to D.C. and meet up with (hopefully) all of them for a day or two. Then fly to Oregon for quality time with pops and "Hamlet" in Ashland Shakespeare Festival. Bike home from Oregon?

    The languid hours of summer 2000 by day should be spent sweating and taking in the land as I bike all around the East Coast; afterwards, evenings should mean talking and laughing with old friends and family over good wine, good food, and good music at night. Friendships over on the East Coast need some attention; it is time to spend some serious time there. Enough said.

    And, lastly, since you read all of Herodotus last summer, it is now time for Thucydides. Put a copy in your backpack before you get on the plane. Read it entire over that next month or two. Just do it.

    Consequences of not achieving resolution: Failure to spend extended amounts of time with good friends re-located to other side of North America. Boredom during vacation.

  • Re-adjust the balance between the vita contemplativa and vita activa.
    Last year was very "active" -- and that was long overdue after a long period of overly-bookish living. Now move back into music and books and try to find an ideal balance. Remember that it is essentially a question of emotional commitment, concentration, and intensity of effort. You need to engage seriously and at length that difficult piece of music or literature and bend your mind to understand and encompass it! It won't happen off-handedly or casually -- as you well know. Don't get lazy and allow for mediocrity in this part of your life.

    Consequences of not achieving resolution: How long has it been since you listened to a Handel chorus or anthem written by Purcell and it raised you up so high you looked DOWN on heaven? When did you last read a book of poetry or philosophy that changed your life? Enough said.

  • Goals for music and literature by June of 2000.
    In addition to wading through the books you got for Christmas, buy and read the following: "Patriotic Gore: Studies in the Literature of the Civil War" by Edmund Wilson, "God and the American Writer" by Alfred Kazin, One Nation, Two Cultures" by Gertrude Himmelfarb. Attend the following concerts (with or without your father): Mozart Piano Concerto No. 23 (Orange County) on January 19, Chopin Piano Concerto No. 2 (UCLA) on January 21, Beethoven Symphony No. 7 (LAPHIL) on February 24, Bach's Goldberg Variations (Santa Monica) on February 26, Mozart Piano Concerto in D Minor (Orange County) on March 23, Mozart Piano Concerto No. 22 (LAPHIL) on April 20 and 22, Mozart Piano Concerto No. 17 (UCLA) on April 21, Mozart Piano Concerto No. 24 (Los Angeles) on April 27, Bach's Concerto in C Minor for violin and oboe, BMV 1060 (LAPHIL) April 28, Beethoven's Kreutzer Sonata (LAMozartOrch) on April 30, Beethoven Piano Trio in C Minor (Los Angeles) on May 3, Mozart's Symphony No. 33 (LAMozartOrch) on May 13, Mozart's "Don Giovanni" (San Francisco) on June 3.

    Consequences of not achieving resolution: Through pure laziness fail to rise to the occasion and challenge serious musical and literary ideas and therein process and make them part of your experience and understanding.

  • Make my bed before I leave for work every morning.
    Tend to the garden on your home and hearth better! It takes only a few seconds, but the act will symbolically set the tenor for the rest of the day. Make home a place you enjoy to be rather than a location in which merely to park your clothes, store a bit of food in the fridge, check your e-mail, read books in bed, and then sleep at night.

    Consequences of not achieving resolution: Continue to let daily life grind you down rather than taking it head on and mastering it. Continue to live like an uncivilized bachelor-barbarian.

  • Escape from Los Angeles.
    11 years in the "City of the Angeles" is more than enough! You are sick to your stomach of this place, and a good job is not reason enough to stick it out. You have thought a lot about this. Now do it. Finally.

    Consequences of not achieving resolution: Spend yet another year stuck sitting in pernicious L.A. freeway traffic surrounded by strangers (re. your neighbors) sitting in shiny new BMW automobiles talking on their carphones oblivious to the rest of the world.

  • A question to be answered.
    What is the main thing you would like to do or have at this minute? Be honest: teach Advanced Placement humanities classes in a suburban high school with a good pool, weight room, and athletic program (and maybe coach a sport?). Be able to ride my bike through desert valleys and foothills without getting run over or bogged down in urban sprawl. Be able to go swimming in the ocean without having to climb over twenty other people every two-hundred yards. Live a quieter, simpler life on my own terms in a community that supports you as work your fingers to the bone trying to teach their children to grow up to become decent, educated persons.

    Consequences of not achieving resolution: Same as previous resolution: Pass another year living life around rush-hour traffic and escaping most weekends for better, less populated climes. Why continue to live in a major city when you no longer appreciate its advantages and after the disadvantages have long since driven you to distraction?

  • Set up some hunting trips.
    You have all the required licenses, tags, and training. So plan a trip (Idaho? Montana?) and enjoy the beauties of nature with your father.

    Consequences of not achieving resolution: Quality time with father not taken advantage of.

  • Speak more Spanish.
    You no longer live nor work in the barrio, so people don't speak to you in Spanish anymore on a daily basis. Remember that it gets harder ever month you spend speaking it less and less; if you don't you use it, you lose it: you need to practice if you want to remain fluent. But think how good it feels when you can finally speak freely for an hour or two in Spanish and exercise that part of your brain!

    Consequences of not achieving resolution: Spanish-language skills continue to deteriorate. Spanish will eventually begin to look like a foreign language.

  • Take the Graduate Record Exam.
    If you want to ever want even to contemplate returning to graduate school, this is one hurdle to be crossed. Just do it.

    Consequences of not achieving resolution: Option to attend graduate school unavailable.

  • Begin to contemplate perhaps buying a house or condominium.
    Not the most enjoyable activity in the world perhaps, but worth it in the long-run. Begin to think about it.

    Consequences of not achieving resolution: Remain a renter for ever and ever and ever, flushing cash down the toilet into perpetuity without any equity built up. Not a pretty sight.


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