This will be the first January I spend out of school. Not only university, which I just finished, but any type of school. I started kindergarten in the 90s and have been in some sort of education institution ever since.
In a way, I’m hopeful. My life has been defined by grades and schooling—the classes I took and excelled in; the grades I received, whether I worked for them or deserved them; the people I spent time with. The framing device of my life-long narrative, up until this point, has been broken.
In another way, I’m terrified. I don’t have the guiding restriction of primary school, high school, or university… and that’s odd.
But I’m taking this new freedom and running with it.
Each quarter this year (because I am not going to be able to hard-plan my entire year right now) has a few different goals I’d like to accomplish.
January, February, March
- finish writing The Pilgrimage
- edit The Pilgrimage and send it to beta readers
- open an Etsy shop for my art
- redesign my blog with a custom-coded theme
- rebrand my personal identity online
Q1 of 2017 is really the only solid plan I have. Everything else is tentative until I see how I’m doing by the end of March. I’m new to having deadlines that aren’t set by school, so I see the first three months as a trial and training run.
I’m starting to hate my online alias (“coryldork” and “Coryl o’Reilly”) and I want to change them this quarter. My last name is not “o’Reilly” but I won’t be using my real last name when I change it. I’m still so unsure about how I want to present myself to the world, both personally and professionally.
April, May, June
- query The Pilgrimage to agents
- start a second writing project
- code WordPress themes for sale
- consider freelance design, and a related portfolio
Q2 of 2017 has looked like an artsy and lucrative space. I want to get back into front-end design and graphic design. Since last summer, I’ve realised that my skills in Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign are incredibly valuable and useful. I want to work on them.
However, this part of the year will be hectic. My lease ends on July 31, so I’ll need to consider if I’m staying in Windsor. But I have time to think on that.
July, August, September
- finish draft 1 of the new writing project
- possibly move
Q3 is the true grey area and where the shrugging begins. It’s also the time of the year where I feel the most anxiety right now. It’s what people have been asking me once I tell them I’m staying in Windsor until my lease ends. They ask, “And then what?” Boi, I don’t even know either, so stop asking.
October, November, December
- apply to teach English in Japan
Because of how Q3 looks, I’m not sure what else I’m planning for Q4. My living space and my subsequent connections and resources will be affected by what I decide—and what’s available—for the end of the year. The program I’m considering for ESL in Japan holds their applications in November, but if I’m accepted, I wouldn’t be leaving until the middle of 2018. Of course, throughout the year I’ll be looking into learning Japanese. I recently found out that my grandfather still has some knowledge in it, and he lives in Alberta (along with my brother)… so I have options there.
That’s what I’m looking at for 2017. Throughout the year, I’ll check in and see how my goals are shaping for the future, and how well I’ve achieved the ones I’ve set here.
My resolution this year is to persevere. I’m prone to giving up, and I have no excuses for it. The only way for me to live, as well as achieve my dreams, is to keep going. No matter how much I want to end something, like my projects or my goals or my life, my desire to stop is not a good enough reason to stop. I will keep going. I will persevere.