Ready or not, here comes 2013!

I’m not one who usually takes time at the end of the year to do serious reflection or self-evaluation. I always get so caught up in the time off work/school, the festivities, food, and family, that I feel more carefree during Christmas than anything. And I really don’t like all of the pressure to create a New Year’s resolution. I don’t like how people flippantly announce what they plan to do in the coming year, and then a few months later they are given a free pass to give up on it just by saying, “Well…who ever REALLY carries out their New Year’s resolutions? Har har…” But despite all that, this year I have been reflecting on how my life has changed in the past year, and what goals I would like to accomplish during 2013–let’s just not call them “resolutions,” please! 🙂

In 2012, I accomplished things I never would have thought possible. I took a tour of Asia (China, South Korea, Japan, and Hong Kong), which included adventures that were never on the planned itinerary, such as getting lost during a bicycle ride through the Guilin countryside, nearly getting trampled by a stray bull on a dirt road, hitchhiking to the Longji Rice Paddies in a minivan, and surviving a 26-hour train ride that was standing room only. For a self-professed picky eater, I took on dishes way outside of my culinary comfort zone–and was pleasantly surprised by some of them. I found out that I actually enjoy eating eggplant without all of the breading, fungi of all sorts, pickled jellyfish, and freshwater snails, just to name a few. Live shrimp were not much to my liking, but I was a good sport and I tried them anyways. If you had told me a year ago that I would end up doing all of these things, I never would have believed it!

Chinese food

Chinese food

That's me on the bike!

That’s me on the bike!


In 2012, I also made the decision to finally go back to school to get my grad degree. It hasn’t been easy–and I haven’t even started yet! I didn’t want to blog about all of the problems that I’ve been having with grad school, because I wasn’t exactly sure how it would all work out. At one point, I thought maybe I wouldn’t end up going to University of Pittsburgh after all. There were financial issues (charging me for out of state tuition even though I permanently live in Pittsburgh), prerequisite issues (forcing me to take extra classes on teaching reading even though I already majored in English Education for my undergrad), and timing issues (“Sorry, that prerequisite you need won’t be offered until fall of 2013!”), but when all is said and done, I managed to enroll in the classes I need at Pitt for spring 2013. I start next week! I’m nervous and excited!

Sure, this may LOOK like an innocent bronze panther statue. But come midnight, when the full moon peeks out from behind those clouds, you'd better WATCH OUT!

Sure, this may LOOK like an innocent bronze panther statue. But come midnight, when the full moon peeks out from behind those clouds, you’d better WATCH OUT!

Finally, in 2012, I decided that I want to try to get a book published about the adventures that I had while I was living in China. My original goal was to read through a couple of books on how to write a book proposal, and have that proposal sent out to a bunch of different literary agents by the time the year was over (before I was set to start school). However, after reading up A LOT on how to write a proposal and grab the attention of an agent, I realized that it was not something that I should rush. The books I’ve read claim that you can get a book deal for a non-fiction narrative without having actually written the story, but then many of the real-life success stories that I’ve read contradict that theory. In any case, there are a lot of things that I should try to do before I send out that proposal, such as get some articles published in a magazine or newspaper, and perhaps gain more followers to my blog to prove that my topic is interesting and my writing is popular. I need to have some solid statistics and accomplishments to prove to an agent that I’m worth investing in, so my 2012 goal has become a 2013 goal. I’m not giving up on it–I’m just putting it off for awhile and giving myself some more time. After all, if I’m going to do this, I want to do it RIGHT! 🙂

In 2013, I need to make more friends! This is something that I actually read a book about last year (NERD ALERT!), and I have made a few good friends at our new church–a couple of them are also new to Pittsburgh, which is a plus! We already have something major in common. However, I have yet to make any real work friends. I’m friendly with a lot of different girls, but I haven’t actually gotten the courage to say, “Hey, let’s hang out OUTSIDE of work sometime.” That’s a scary step to make! And it’s difficult to make friends in a workplace where we are pushed to talk  and sell to the customers and discouraged from standing around socializing with each other. I always feel like the Victoria’s Secret girls are so much cooler than me, and “out of my league” somehow, but I know I need to get over that. That’s a childish, middle-school-student mentality, and I shouldn’t let that dictate my actions. However, I am starting grad school soon, and I hope that I can make some friends/study partners there. I am one of those students who usually sits at the front of the room, taking notes and keeping to myself, but this year I am going to really push myself to be more social with my classmates. One of the classes I’ve enrolled in only has EIGHT other students–if I can’t make friends in that tiny class, then I am just hopeless!


In 2013, I made a vow that I will start going to the University of Pittsburgh gym. I don’t need to pay anything additional for a membership, so I can try it out for free. I have tried several different times in the past to become a regular gym visitor, and I seem to eventually fail every time. However, the difference is that THIS TIME, I decided to do this with one of my new Pittsburgh friends who is also a grad student. We want to visit the gym at least twice a week, and we will hold each other accountable when the other one doesn’t feel like going. I think if I have a gym buddy, my chances of actually following through will be much more likely.

What resolutions goals have you made for this new year?

Categories: Christian Living, Pittsburgh, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “Ready or not, here comes 2013!

  1. I’m with you on not liking how NYR end up being flippantly discarded by March. I like the idea of having goals, though! I hope the book stuff goes well! My mom actually kept a journal while we lived in China and would send out weekly reports to family and friends back home (back in the days before blogs were really popular). Anyway, she printed it all out and bound it and gave it as a book to some of our closest friends. I think she donated it to a library here in town, but she never tried to actually get it published. I think you should definitely keep going with this! You’ll do great! 🙂

    And grad school will be wonderful for you! Glad everything finally worked out. And Rachel, those other VS girls aren’t out of your league! If you guys are already friendly together at work then I’m sure they’d love to hang out sometime. Surely there’s a coffee place somewhere close by where you could invite someone just to hang out for a bit after work one day? 🙂

  2. It’s cool that your mom kept a journal while you were in China! I was going to do the same thing, and then I figured I would just write a blog so that everyone could read it. If I never end up being able to have a book published, there is a website that I may use ( that I can submit my blog to and pay to have it turned into a coffee-table style book with full color pages for my photos and everything. Thanks for all of your encouragement, Rach! 🙂

  3. Happy New Year, I hope 2013 is all you want it to be!

  4. Thanks, Victoria! 🙂

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