Though the change of the calendar to a new year is fairly arbitrary, it’s a great opportunity to end bad habits and start new, good ones. Special times with family, new geeky traditions, and certain events await you in 2015. Here are some ideas of how to get ready for the turn of the calendar page.
1. Get ready for Back to the Future Day. It was to 2015 that Marty McFly traveled in the second Back to the Future movie. It was the land of hoverboards, flying cars, and self-drying clothing. We’re not too far off from some of these inventions. But also imagine 30 more years into the future. What will life be like then? (And if you want to feel old, remember that 1955 was as far away from 1985 as we almost are from 1985 today.)
2. Also get ready for a very special Pi Day. In 2015, Pi Day will be on 3/14/15. Perhaps have your party at 9:26am? It is on a Saturday, so make it a whole day affair. Bake lots of pie, of course, but also have pi recitation contests, Greek alphabet trivia, and learn plenty of math using circles. See if someone who has a round table will host the party, and then calculate pi using the table measurements. There is no end of fun to be had at a Pi Day party.
3. Star Wars: Episode VII. Oh yes. Sure, I was one of the many who were disappointed by Episodes I, II, and III. But I’m willing to give VII a chance. Because what if it’s as awesome as we hope it is? I want to be there and be a part of it. Prepare for this moment by making sure your kids have seen Episodes IV, V, and VI, at least twice each. If they can recite them word for word, all the better.
4. Clear out some room on your bookshelves. Running out of room on bookshelves is a common experience among geeks. We own a lot of reference materials, acquire many new interesting books each year, and generally just read a lot. Even the roomiest of houses can run out of room for more bookcases, however. Now, I’m not suggesting that books aren’t important. They are wonderful things to own, to use as decoration, and to share with others. But sometimes it helps to pare down.
Go through your kids’ books (with them or without them—you know your kids best regarding which method would create the fewest tantrums) and share or donate the ones that have been outgrown. Look through your own computer manuals. Likely many are out of date. And perhaps there are some books that you’ve read that you’ll never read again.
Some of these books can be sold secondhand, and you can make some money or store credit for the acquisition of new books in 2015. Some can go to libraries or other places that take book donations. But in the end, you’ll hopefully be left with a shelf or two just waiting for your 2015 discoveries.
5. Commit to taking good care of yourself. Some of you might be receiving gifts this season such as a FitBit or Microsoft Band. If you do, commit to using it. Not only do they create loads of data to peruse in list or graph form, but being active and eating healthy foods will give you more energy to pursue your other interests, such as underwater basket weaving, full contact D&D, or, of course, playing with your kids.
6. Plan to have a regular family game night in 2015. Whether you have time for a weekly game night, or just a monthly one, make a date with your family to play games together on a regular basis. Share the opportunity to choose which games you play, too. Sometimes you should get to pick, sometimes your partner, sometimes your kids. Make sure everyone is included. The point is to spend time together as a family, not for someone to always get their way. Game night is an excellent opportunity to teach good sportsmanship as well. It’s not about winning. It’s about having fun along the way.
7. Be ready to chronicle your year. Some people love to snap selfies. Others prefer writing in journals. Still others record video of exciting moments. You don’t have to be one of those incredibly disciplined people who takes a photo of themselves every day of the year, but try to record, in some way, both important and mundane moments in 2015. You will have recorded your kids growing for another year, and made notes on your own life. I’m already one year into my One Line a Day journal and can’t wait to start year two, looking back at what happened “a year ago today.” Such journals don’t take long to keep. They are really just meant to capture the highlights, a snapshot of your day or life at that time.
8. Create new traditions. A certain GeekDad I know bakes cakes with his kids every weekend. My aunt and uncle have taken their annual family photo in the same way for decades, and still do it now that their kids are grown with families of their own when the kids come to visit. Other people might write good memories down and put them in a jar of moments. If you don’t have anything like this yet in your family, consider starting a new tradition. If you keep it up even for a little while, your kids will remember it for years to come, and inspire them to create their own traditions when they have a family.
9. For history or war buffs, prepare to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, on August 14, 2015. There are only a handful of veterans left who fought in that war, so celebrate with them, and be grateful for what you have.
10. Last but not least, make a commitment to yourself to do something for yourself this year. Whether it’s being more active, finally writing that book, learning a foreign language, taking a class, or saving up the money to go on that trip you’ve always wanted, don’t forget that you deserve to enjoy your life. You’ll also be setting a good example for your kids. Showing them that you, too, can achieve anything you set your mind to shows them that they can do the same. It also shows them that sometimes you have to focus your attention on other things, because a happier and more fulfilled parent is a better parent.
Happy holidays to everyone out there, and I hope your 2015 is a wonderful year!