Happy New Year!

Generally I write my posts ahead of time and schedule them to launch at midnight of the day in question, but since I’m up at midnight, I figured I’d write one in real time for publishing immediately.

This was an exciting New Year’s Eve. I’m trying to build on my current foreign language skills and pick up Vietnamese, so I spent most of the day working on that. On New Year’s Eve, I did eight Duolingo lessons, three each of Vietnamese and Mandarin Rosetta Stone lessons and read two chapters in Kiêu Hãnh và Định Kiến (Pride & Prejudice in Vietnamese).

I also have started doing the lessons at Codecademy. I don’t know if I’ll learn enough coding there to become employable eventually, but it’s worth a shot.

I can hear the amateur fireworks of my neighbors going off in the distance and hear Ricky Martin singing “Livin’ La Vida Loca” on television as I write this and think about things we can do to make the world (and the United States) a better place  in 2017.

Navy Pier fireworks August 10, 2016
Not my neighbors’ fireworks.

First, be kind. What’s that saying about how everyone is fighting a battle that you know nothing about? It looks like it was originally said by John Watson, under his pen name of Ian MacLaren, according to the Quote Investigator. So, yeah, do that.

Second, learn something this year. It doesn’t matter what. While I’ve loved my time in school, some of my favorite people are self-educated, and thanks to things like MIT’s OpenCourseWare, there is really no limit to the number of things you can learn for free, or at least for the cost of a textbook. I also love the mission of the University of the People. The University of the People is an accredited university with no tuition fees. Students pay a $60 fee to apply and $100 for every final exam they take. A bachelor’s degree takes around $4000, payable as students finish each class. Even spread out over a long period, $4,000 is a lot of money for some people, so there are also scholarship programs. And since it’s a distance learning school, they have students from all of the world taking classes together.

Third, support serious journalism. There’s so much emphasis on not taking sides in journalism today that people are getting the impression that nothing they do matters. And that’s just not true. There are serious journalists out there not taking sides. Support them. (If someone had told me ten years ago that I would someday subscribe to Vanity Fair magazine to support serious journalism, I would have asked what they were smoking).

Beyond that, be well. Exercise, and eat better than you did in 2016 and take some time off to have fun. Engage in your hobbies and pet the cats (or dogs or lizards or whatever).

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