2015 was a pretty great year overall, despite some hard times. I’ll be posting some “end-of-year” recaps sometime soon, including the list of my favorite products from the past year and some photos of my travels. But today I want to talk about the upcoming year.
I have high hopes for 2016, such high hopes and big dreams. I am also absolutely terrified of it. This is the year of my final school graduation (at least for the foreseeable future). The year that I will hopefully find and start my first job, and therefore the year that I finally need to figure out what I want to do and where I want to live (at least for the time being). The year that I will have my last great opportunity for long-term travel (at least for a while), since starting employees rarely receive more than 2 weeks vacation. And all of this is so scary in my eyes, like a leap into the great unknown that I would really prefer not to take just yet.
That said, this is the year that I will finally leave school behind (as much as I love it) and have more control over my free time. The year that I will hopefully start work with a company and in a role that I love. The year that I will get to travel long-term, as long as I find a job before graduation and plan my summer right. My fear is of the ifs. There are so many “ifs” in my life right now. Usually I love possibility, but at this point it’s less possibility and more feeling a little left behind — I’m the one who doesn’t know where I going and feels a bit like a rudderless ship, while it seems like everyone else has chosen a course to sail that they’re happy with.
So, I’m taking control of what I can. For 2016 I’ve made a few (okay, more than just a few) new year’s resolutions. Some of them are things I want to remember to do on a daily or weekly basis until they become habit. Some of them are goals I want to work towards achieving. Some of them are milestones I want to reach.
1. Strive for better eating. This means eating reliably (no more skipping dinner because I’m busy!), eating enough vegetables (preferably with every meal), and testing out new healthy recipes.
2. Exercise in place to get in shape. The “in place” part is there to remind me that I don’t need to go outside or even get dressed to work on this resolution. Right now my goal is to do some form of exercise 3x per week (ex: dancing, yoga, running) and do stretching and/or strength exercises at least 4x per week.
3. Read! I know I should associate more specific goals with this, but right now it’s just a general injunction to read whenever and wherever I can, because it is something that I derive such pleasure from. I want to tackle some classic books that have been on my to-read list for years, as well as some of the best new works of fiction and fantasy.
4. One “French immersion” day per month. I have been speaking French since kindergarten, but in the past year and a half I have barely spoken the language at all. I don’t want to lose it, and I find that the best way of refreshing a language is to dive in headfirst. So one day per month (ish), I want to immerse myself in the French language. All of the media I consume, the conversations I have (within reason) and any writing I do will be in French.
5. Dedicate time to my long-distance relationships. So many of my friends graduated last year and moved away to start jobs in new cities, and I’ve been lousy at keeping in touch with them. I’ll be distant from even more friends after graduation this year. I don’t talk to my parents as often as I should, and I want to change that. I want to call my grandmother more. I also may be in a long-distance relationship after graduation which I will have to devote communication to.
I also want to continue keeping my journal on an almost-daily basis, but I don’t think I need a resolution to remind myself of this.
6. Figure out the tools I need to stay organized. I am an inherently organization-loving person who longs for a put-together life but usually ends up leading one that is much more last-minute and stressful and disorganized than I like. This year I want to find the tools I need to be more on top of things, whether it’s an app or an email system or a new way of laying out my desk, so they don’t keep slipping through the cracks like so many other missed opportunities.
7. Utilize my photography. I take so many photos, and almost all of them end up sitting hidden away on my laptop harddrive. Even the ones I’m really proud of. This year I want to do a better job of sharing and appreciating these photos. Post them to Facebook. Print some out and mail them to my grandmother. Make a scrapbook. Curate them into a Flickr photo album that actually contains a reasonable number of photos, instead of 1000 from a single day.
8. Cultivate responsibility. Work towards being a more mature and on-top-of-things adult. Take responsibility for my actions, and be honest in doing so. Practice punctuality. Keep my promises. Don’t let perfection be the enemy of timeliness, especially when opportunity knocks. To me, this is the most important resolution I’m making this year.
9. Open a credit card and start investing. I want to learn more about finance and make my savings work for me. I love saving and calculating monetary amounts (it makes me feel a bit like Smaug with his heap of gold sometimes), and it bugs me to know that the money I’ve saved could be earning more but isn’t because I haven’t been proactive about this yet.
10. Go on a trip post-graduation. This is my last chance to take a big trip before I start work, and I need to take full advantage of it. My current ideal is to go on a backpacking trip around Europe via train for ~2 months, but we’ll see how it goes. At the very least, even if I’m US-bound or end up being short on time because my job starts earlier than anticipated, I want to do something exciting like hiking solo through a National Park or visiting a state that I’ve never been to before.
That’s it for today; happy 2016! Writing out resolutions is really helpful to me because it makes me think about what I want from life for the upcoming year and how I can achieve that. What are some of your new year’s resolutions (if you’ve made any)? What are you most looking forward to or scared of in 2016?
And to end with some Neil Gaiman…