As I sit looking toward the future, welcoming 2011 can’t be done without a thoughtful glance back at 2010. Years are milestones, we measure our lives by them, and such an important thing should be reflected upon with care. A tradition that, if unheeded, nearly feels sacrilegious. Why this need to justify our deeds and convince ourselves we are making progress? A year is a long passage of time and would feel wasted if I didn’t make something out of it, right? Perhaps that is why at the end of each year I seem to mentally “check-in” with my personal goals to see where I’ve ended up. But no matter how much I seemed to have done that year, it isn’t the deeds but the people who are important to me every time. The season seems right for sentimentality, we just had Thanksgiving where we made sure nothing is taken for granted, and then came Christmas, where we reunite with family and friends from near and far. That is probably the most seminal event of my year, when I meet up with some dear friends I haven’t seen since the same time the year before.
This year was the first time I had truly been away from home, family, and friends for an entire year- a year in which each of my friends had truly gone their separate ways all over the country to pursue very different but equally remarkable goals. The end of this year was the time when everyone returned from their exotic and far away places to cozy up at home, and reunions abounded. With everything changing around you in so short a time, it is easy to feel uprooted, and I feel lucky that I have such amazing friends who anchor me, not to a physical place, but a heart of hearts. A collective nostalgia of memories that form a lovely slice of life that has become such a part of me, but only reassembles when we do, a family of friends. It was probably all these people, with their differing views and experiences, that truly helped me get into gear for the next year-motivating me to pursue my dreams and reminding me of what I have done. My greatest tendencies, to trivialize my accomplishments and imagine worst case scenarios, have been put in even more perspective this year. As the 2011 opens as the year of the rabbit, I feel as if it is my time to do those things I have been putting off, to overcome my fears, to muster the courage to succeed, and put the past behind me.
My resolutions for this year include several potentially unrealistic items…but I’m going to try nonetheless.
1. Participate in Six Items or Less: January 10th to February 10th, and during this time buy no new clothing items.
2. Get a Massachusetts Driver’s License
3. Regularly attend the gym
4. Study for, and re-take the GRE
5. Apply to PhD Programs
6. Save money to travel to Europe
And while I don’t expect everything to work out as I plan, I do know that I’m in a better spot this year then the chaos of last year. Feeling more capable is half the battle, and the last two years I spent more time struggling with my confidence and my direction then putting energy into going anywhere in particular. Hopefully I now have enough gusto to attack my goals with confidence, and never give up. With my optimistic outlook for the new year, I hope to make this one special!