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!
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!
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.
resolutions goals have you made for this new year?