Back in college, I read a lot of books by dead, old, Greek guys and I was surprised by how much their search for knowledge and meaning struck a chord with me. Aristotle in particular wrote that the highest achievement a human can reach is arête. This word is often translated as “excellence” or “moral virtue,” but my Classical Political Thought professor argued that a better translation was “reaching one’s potential.” To the ancient Greeks, living a life of significance wasn’t about being perfect, but about being the best person that you were capable of being.
As I turn another year older, I’ve found myself thinking about how I am working toward my arête, my greatest potential. With that in mind, I’m channeling Aristotle today as I write my annual list of birthday resolutions. Here we go:
Live in the Balance
This past year has been insane. My wife and I bought a house, remodeled said house while living with my in-laws, traveled to eight states, drove 2,000 miles, and dealt with personal setbacks. 2018 was a year of extremes. My hope for 2019 is to find peace. There will still be projects to do and tumultuous storms to weather — there always are — but I would like to see smoother sailing this year, with fewer unexpected twists along the way. My hope is to take time to enjoy the little things and to make space for much needed rest after a year of constant activity.
Run a 5K (for real)
Last year, I finished a 5K and it felt pretty good. But I ended up walking a fair portion of the course and after the race, I stopped running. Now, months later, I’ve let the endurance I built up slip away. I’m increasingly aware that my physical fitness is well worth the investment of time and sweat. This year, I’d like to recommit to that goal with the intention of running again and this time, running the whole thing from start to finish.
Carve Out Time to Write
Two years ago, I set myself a goal to complete a novel manuscript by the time I turn 30. It’s been a difficult challenge. I spent a year not really knowing what I wanted to write, and last year, personal and professional upheavals made it impossible to create a regular writing routine. I have roughly 75,000 words to write and less than 365 days in which to get those words onto the page. This year, I need to get serious about my writing and carve out dedicated time to get the work done.
Well, there you have it, my three step process for achieving my highest potential in the coming year. What are your resolutions and how do you keep yourself on track? Sound off in the comments!
— 30 —
Jonny Eberle is a writer in Tacoma, WA. His recent short story, How to Steal Copper Wire, was recently reprinted in Grit City Magazine, Volume Two. You can find him on Twitter or hanging around with literary types in seedy libraries.