Wow. I have no idea where January went. Did someone shove me in a time machine while I wasn’t looking? Because I seriously swear it was the 14th just, like, yesterday. Obviously it wasn’t, but that’s neither here nor there.

You guys already know that I don’t really do resolutions, even though I’ve made some plans for the new year, but so far 2016 has been a lot of trying new things. And making plans to try new things. And you know what? So far, I love it. I feel like I’m a little too busy for my own good, but I’m learning so much, doing so much, and having so much fun doing it.

So as we roll on in to February (and my birthday on the 5th, yikes I am old) I decided to share some of the stuff that I’ve been up to over the past few weeks, both for the sake of showing you guys how I keep busy and also to be able to look back later in the year and see how much of this I’ve actually kept up.

New Hangout: The Library

Hi, okay, I sound like I’m six years old. Or homeless. (I know, this happens a lot.) But, look, the library is legit. I don’t know what took me so long to get a library card since moving to the city, but being able to go to the library has done so much for me. I work at home a lot, so I have a place I can go that isn’t being stuck in my house AND it doesn’t cost me anything to go (other than parking for the downtown location, but that’s whatever.) I’ve also been able to dive back into reading in a way I haven’t really been able to in the recent past; I just finished two books that I absolutely loved (The True Meaning of Smekday and Smek for President, both by Adam Rex) and having the time restraint of “I need to return this” has given me a new reason to read faster and really devour the content.

Also, like, movies. I can get so many movies from the library. Also for free. Really, I saw a tumblr post the other day that suggested libraries almost feel wrong with how much you get out of them for how much you put in, but the library is legit. Go check out your local library. It’ll be great, I promise.

New Skills: Learning Another Language

You already know that I’ve been trying to learn Romanian, but in advance of the trip I hope to take this year I decided to really buckle down and treat this like a real class I’m taking. I maybe spend only 30 minutes a day on it a few times a week, but I already can tell that I’m learning so much more and I’m learning much faster than I was when I was just putzing around on Duolingo when I had free time and listening to Romanian music. I found a pretty great textbook too that supplements the one I had sent to me from Romania, so it’s making me a lot more confident about learning the language. Also, learning new things just feels great. I feel super accomplished when I read something and immediately know what it says or how to translate it, and as far as hobbies and skills go, learning another language is incredibly useful, and I really recommend it if you’re looking to try something new with a pretty minimal investment. (Which is something I really hope to blog about in the near future!)

New Art: Making Digital Music

I’ve been a musician for a long time, even if a lot of it hasn’t been public or online in the last few years. I’ve been playing the guitar for a long time and even posted some videos on YouTube (some of which might still be out there if you’re enterprising and/or want to see ten-years-ago-me) and played a few concerts back home in North Carolina. As I’ve gotten older, though (read: and had bills to pay, I guess) I’ve had less patience for playing my guitar (as much as I love it) and have become more and more interested in making digital music, which is something I’ve picked up pretty much every time I have a free five minutes over the past few weeks. I started out messing around with Drum Pad Machine and almost immediately got bored with the lack of options it offered, so I decided to channel my old YouTube audio/video editing skills and start screwing around with the trials of some real software (Ableton, for the curious, but I might try out some others to see what’s a good fit for me) and MAN IS IT FUN. I love making music almost as much as I love listening to it, but being limited to only my guitar has been a huge hurdle for me over the years. Now that I have an entire orchestra and then some at my fingertips, I’m having so much more fun. (And maybe I’ll share some of it here once I feel confident with my creations.)

So what’s next? I’m not entirely sure. I’ve been entertaining the idea of going back to a dance class so that I can have some kind of regular group activity that I do, but we’ll see if I end up picking that back up. I’ve also been going to the gym here and there to get moving and get out of the house, and that’s been going pretty okay, but I haven’t been able to establish a regular routine yet.

Anyway, all this goes to say that sometimes trying new things doesn’t end up poorly, and it doesn’t always have to have a huge financial investment either. If you’ve tried anything new so far this year, I’d love to hear about it in the comments or via social media, and same goes if you’re into any of the things I’ve listed above. Also, if you ever want to test my really rudimentary Romanian, please feel free to message me to chat as well. 🙂

I hope everyone is having a fantastic 2016 so far, let’s see what other new stuff we can get up to in February!

If you enjoyed this blog post, please consider supporting my Patreon for as little as $1 USD, which helps me cover hosting fees along with items to review and supplies needed for the various things I write about here in Mandaland. Thank you for reading and thank you for your support!