This is part of an ongoing series of monthly self-experiments; see the full list.
Update from Last Month (September 2020)
This will be a short one. I’m in transition mode, between jobs: I left Israel on September 12 (just escaping their new COVID lockdown!) and will arrive in Japan on November 12. Needless to say, I haven’t had much of a routine lately and have not blogged much. Also, I don’t expect this to change in the coming month.
In the past three weeks (since saying goodbye to Tel Aviv), I’ve spent time with family and friends in the Midwest of the US. I’m planning a trip to the East coast (near DC) and another to the West (Arizona, Colorado, and so on). It’s a great time for seeing people, and it’s technically a vacation, but I’m trying to not fall totally behind on research tasks and I’m trying to get connected with my future colleagues in Japan.
Anyway, I’m trying not to be too ambitious with my commitments and just enjoy this time. Here’s me with my girlfriend at the Gateway Arch in St. Louis.
In blog news, I still have several half-written and half-baked posts upcoming. I’m too much of a perfectionist about this, and should probably take the advice of other bloggers to just write and not worry about it being exactly correct all the time; the point of this is to figure things out by writing them, not to figure things out and then write them. In lieu of full posts, I started another 100-day writing challenge on Twitter, which I’ve neglected for two weeks but am restarting today. A return to normal blogging coming soon, I hope.
Last Month’s Resolution
I tried to keep it simple last month, committing only to learning to whistle. And… it basically worked! I practiced a little each day (or nearly so), and can now make noises where before I could not. That’s a success! I thought I’d need to look up some tutorials, but it was enough just to mess around a lot with my lips and tongue until things started to happen. Trial and error are sometimes preferable to top-down learning.
The final goal was to be able to whistle a whole song, e.g. Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. And… I sort of can. It doesn’t sound good and I have to move the pitch around to get the note (I eventually get there though). Still, considering my inability to make whistle sounds at all a month ago, I’m taking what I can get. If I spend another month doing this, I’m sure I’ll have a full, decent sounding song at the end. And if I don’t, I’ll at least be able to make a sound to draw my friends out of a crowd.
Results (+/- relative to my expectation, which corresponds to 0): +4/5
Likelihood to do it again the following month: 3/5
Can you believe that this month marks one year of NMRs? I started this project on Yom Kippur 2019, and have done 11 (and a half) resolutions; this month will be 12 full resolutions. What to do in commemoration?
Yom Kippur, which inspired this project last year, is the Jewish holiday of atonement, of repentance, and also of new beginnings. It’s a time of year for looking back at what has been done before, acknowledging our ever-present failures and shortcomings, and use them to learn the appropriate lessons and make the future better than the past. So this month my resolution is merely to reflect on the past 12 months, and figure out how I can make the project better next year.
The focus of this blog, and the whole project of NMRs, seems to fit the theme. This blog is about bringing things from the Meta Level and applying the lessons to the Real World: this month’s Real World resolution is to see what my resolutions look like on the Meta Level. And this blog is about learning life lessons from unconventional places: I’m not Jewish, yet I’m taking lessons from a high Jewish holiday.
Next month In November sometime I will discuss the previous year, how the resolutions have changed and how they changed me, and finally, on reflection, what improvements I’m making to the project.
Starting October 1, I will reflect on the project of New Month Resolutions, in an attempt to make the project more successful in the coming year.
Results and new Resolution will be given on or around November 1, 2020 January 1, 2021.