I will strive for openness and authenticity whenever possible.
- When Sam and I first started this blog, it was something we clung tightly to ourselves and hid from the world – well, obviously not the entire world, because we put it online, but our world. Our home world. We hid ourselves away if we were working on posts together. We made up excuses as to why we were photographing each step of what we cooked. As we started mentioning it to people, we discussed ahead of time just how exactly we would bring it up, and we would brush past the announcement as casually as we could, as if our blogging was a nothing-habit, as passive an online pass-time as watching viral videos and browsing through pinterest. I can’t quite explain the hesitation to talk about it, other than that having a blog felt like something that people might judge me for, and so I didn’t want it to be part of my “public image.” My family could know. Sam (obviously) could know. But my other friends? Please, and let them think we think our writing deserves to be shared? AS IF! As I have nurtured my creative life throughout 2016, I have grown more and more weary of concealing that creativity beneath my conventional econ-student veneer. My creative self is the self which I feel most comfortable being, and yet it is the self that I have trouble showing to the world. Throughout this year, as I continue to expand my creative ventures, I want to strive to be honest and free with my self-presentation. So what if people realize I’m a little strange? A little strange has got to be better than a little fake.
I will do something creative every day.
- If there is anything I have learned in 2016, it is that nothing makes me feel more alive than creating. Whether it be writing, editing a video, taking photos, trying a new knitting pattern, or churning out a new recipe, I want to do something, anything, that gets that part of my brain going every damn day.
I will take more control of my finances.
- I have always been frugal, often to a point of anxiety over every single purchase, coupled with periodic, reckless spending. This is followed, of course, by guilt. As I prepare for the transition into what I’m thinking of as pro-adulthood (post-grad life) I want to recognize that to live is to spend money and that I cannot and should not feel guilty every single time I do, but that I should always be spending my money thoughtfully. I have always employed a strategy of minimization, without creating a true budget and then allowing myself to spend within that budget, but it is high time to grow up, plan, and eliminate unnecessary guilt.
I will map out my deadlines.
- School has always evoked an insidious anxiousness in me, but I finally, finally found a strategy that worked in my FINAL YEAR OF MY EDUCATION! It’s okay, I’m not bitter about it (because we left bitterness behind in 2016, right?) Simply taking an hour at the beginning of the semester to comb through every syllabus and write a master list of every single deadline to keep up on my desktop, and then to transfer those deadlines to my planner to see how my timing would map out with other activities, trips, and visits worked wonders on my time management and stress levels. Duh, duh, duh everyone in the world ever is saying, but I think I know why I was finally able to give this no-brainer strategy a try in Hong Kong: I never wrote out all of my deadlines like this ahead of time because it stressed me out to look at them (of course, not writing them out like this caused more anxiety in the long-run, but anxiety is annoying like that). In Hong Kong I was not nearly as stressed about my academics (three cheers for Pass/Fail study abroad classes!) and so I had fewer problems with this kind of planning, and now that I know how well it worked, I’m hoping that when I return to my classes where the grades all count, I can carry it over.
I will check my email every day.
- Again with the anxiety-ridden avoidant behaviors…. Let’s leave those behind.
I will continue to manage my health and wellness through a functionality approach.
- 2016 was truly a year of getting in touch with myself – mind and body. I have always struggled with rational eating and exercise, as a classic binge/restricter for years. Slowly, slowly, slowly I have come to recognize that I need to cater what I eat and my physical activity to how my body feels and what I want it to be able to do, and not how I want it to look. This lesson knocked me over entirely when I compared two hikes up Hong Kong’s Victoria Peak. The first was in early September, after a summer of sitting at a desk and drinking a few too many beers. I was huffing and puffing and chugging water as I leaked sweat by the gallon. The second was about a month later, after returning to the gym for regular, light workouts, and switching to vodka sodas 😏 . I remember I was “feeling fat” that day, and yet I glided up the mountain, waiting for the climb to get difficult. As I looked out over the breathtaking Hong Kong scenery – lush jungle, gleaming skyscrapers, and glittering harbor – I remember realizing that I was on this earth to have as many beautiful experiences like this one as I could, and that I really do need to love the body I’m in for allowing me to do so. I felt so good, and I remember making the decision to make myself feel that good as often as possible, and from that decision onward, I have been trying to truly listen to my body. I enjoyed plenty of dim sum dinners and late night ice creams after that, but I just as often ate eggs and vegetables cooked in a balsamic vinaigrette reduction that could knock your socks off, and let me tell you: balance feels so good.
I will vastly improve my comfort with French.
- Duolingo, French class, Au Pairing in France… By this time next year, my French will be significantly improved. I am determined.
So here’s to 2017: another year of adventure and growth and improvement.