Tag Archives: New Year’s resolutions

An abandoned New Year’s resolution

Kevin Roose apologizes to Codecademy:

Dear Codecademy,

When we first met, just after New Year’s last year, I was inspired. You told me that I could learn how to program in just 365 days through your free “Code Year” lessons, and I believed you. After all, if Mayor Bloomberg was doing it, why couldn’t I? I eagerly signed up, and waited for the day that I, too, would be churning out C++ code like a pro.

That day never came.

Instead, your e-mails piled up, unread, in my in-box, while I attended to more pressing concerns. At first, you came bearing offers of specific lessons:

Code Year Week 4: Primitives in JavaScript

Code Year Week 5: Objects in JavaScript

Code Year Week 7: Loops in JavaScript

Then, as winter turned into spring — and my schedule kept not making room for coding lessons — your e-mails took on the tone of a more general pep talk. Hopeful exclamation points abounded:

Still want to learn to code? We’ll help you catch up!

Get ready for programming good times!

Programming begins here!

You must have known, Codecademy, that by the time July 4th came around, I was a goner. New Year’s resolutions rarely stick, and New Year’s resolutions that suddenly kick in after a six-month delay never do. Still, despite the fact that I had never once logged in to your website, you persisted in your hopes that I would get off my ass, clear my calendar, and make time for you.

Meet ‘n’ greet

I’m not a big fan of New Year’s Resolutions. I don’t have anything against them per se, but more often than not they end in utter failure. Of these failures, perhaps none is greater than the fact that even these annual self-betrayals are insufficient to convince us not to stake our hopes on such flimsy, quixotic fantasies the following year. And so the cycle endures. It is for this reason that, heading into 2010, I had yet to resolve anything on New Year’s Eve. I may not be a dreamer, this is true, but I’d yet to disappoint myself either.

In this sense, then, New Year’s Day 2010 represented a bit of an anomaly. For in the waning hours of December 31st (or was it the first hour of January 1st? I can’t remember), while carousing atop a Hong Kong mall directly under the celebratory pyrotechnics, I made a resolution. (Actually, I made several, but the other ones are neither appropriate nor relevant to this space.)

I resolved to read fifty books this year. Now, I have no idea how many books I read last year. My guess is it’s somewhere in the thirties, counting assignments for school. But this year, thought I, it was time to up the ante, to stretch myself to hitherto unimagined heights, to set my literary gaze aloft to dance with the stars.

OK, so this is not true. I have no such literary pretensions; in fact, my frustration with an inability to grasp even basic themes and motifs in literature is one of the major reasons I resolved to read fifty books this year in the first place. And I decided to blog about it in large part as a safeguard against giving up in my quest. (Objectively speaking, a blog may not be the best safeguard either, as I’ve rarely been able to maintain one for longer than a week. But no matter.)

So yes, I am blogging about the books I read and, if I’m lucky, I’ll be able to capture a little bit of the excitement of the journey as well as the thrill of the books’ content itself. I aim to read both novels and non-fiction, and I am very open to suggestions at any time for what to read next. (I never own more than a few books ahead of the current one I’m reading.) My only rule is no paperbacks with glossy color photos and the author’s name printed in slightly raised lettering. Other than that, please feel free to leave comments (as many as you would like), suggestions, etc. If reading is a journey, let’s make it a road trip. Because everyone knows road trips are a lot more fun when you don’t do them yourself.