As the new year comes, it is time to make some promises to myself. I’m not one who believes in making resolutions on January 1st, simply because I believe that trying to better oneself is a life long process that can be started whenever and restarted as often as necessary.
Here are some things I’d like to start to better about myself…and some “anti”-resolutions…some things I’d like to stop to better myself.
- Pray more. I could always use a little more reflective prayer, prayer in gratitude, and just a little more Jesus in general. Having surrounded myself by people that have faith and spirituality, I am continually inspired to work on my own relationship with God and how that looks and what that means for me.
- Write more letters. I’d like to take some time to sit down and put pen to paper and tell people that I appreciate them. Writing things down is powerful for me and handwriting to people I care about is one way I show love. I’d like to connect more on paper and send some kind words or a simple “hello” on their way.
- Write more. This means blogging, creative writing, journaling…pretty much any form of personal writing that brings me peace and helps me reflect. As I move on to my next adventure, I believe I’ll find myself alone more and so verbal processing with those around me won’t be the same as it was in 2017. Journaling and blogging help with that…as for creative writing, well…that’s always a fun addition.
- Stick to the Budget. Whether that mean travel less or save more, my goal is to work harder on meeting my financial goals I have set for myself (within reason). Also, starting a retirement fund and all that adult jazz.
- Be present. Take less pictures to post, save only quality ones. I need to get better at being as present in my current situation as I am with those at a distance. I always want to share my experience, share my time, and sometimes I let that drive my actions. I need to get better at appreciating and living first and sharing with those at a distance second.
- Read more. Okay…so this year I read 115 books and will start the 116th tomorrow (probably not to finish in time)…What I mean by read more is just that I need to read more diverse books. (Also 120 would be a nice solid number next year). I would like to add more nonfiction, more mystery, more crime, more diverse characters in all forms of identification/race/gender/culture. Of course, I’ll also still be reading my go-tos.
- Be kind to my body. My body has always been good about telling me what it does and doesn’t like. I’ve always been good at ignoring it. This year I’d like to be better at eating the things that make me feel good and leaving behind the delicious things that always make me feel off and woozy. After a trip to the hospital this past year and some travel eating advice, its time I took some of that into every day practice.
- Give more compliments. Give more hugs. I love hugs and although I don’t receive compliments well, I love the way they hang in my head long after the conversation ends. Hugs were a part of my daily life in Brazil, well that and a kiss on the cheek. As culture provides I would love that to continue…and sometimes a hug is all we need. As for compliments, I think it is best we tell people nice things when they pop into our head and are genuine because we can never know how often they get to know that someone likes their choice of outfit, their singing voice, or their haircut. (Not limited to merely those). It doesn’t hurt to wish someone a good day and remind them why you appreciate them in your life. I need to do that more.
- Get outside. EXPLORE. The past year, I spent very little time out in nature and a lot of time surrounded by concrete on my way to and from work or around the city. I loved the small moments near the lake and yearned for more time in the mountains nearby. This year I’d like to remind myself to get outside more and appreciate the nature around me. I always yearn to…but I need to make it happen.
- Dance in the rain. Literally and metaphorically. Dancing has always brought me joy, as do most forms of precipitation. Although rain can seem to ruin things (hair, books, berkinstocks) and although in excess it floods and kills (crops, people, dreams), as it passes it cleanses and brings new life. Even when it seems old and oppressive, calm and healthy is on the other side. I need to remember this and be patient…and bring joy to my life…perhaps through dance itself.
- Take next steps. While walking on the beach with a friend, I was asked “What’s next?” and to be honest it struck me that I had never thought about that before. I had made up my mind about where I wanted to be, but never considered how to get there. I need to work harder on making lists and working out practical steps to work towards the goal.
- Work on trying to like people that I don’t know why I dislike. You know those people that you don’t like but you don’t know why? It isn’t fair to them and I know it, but sometimes I can’t get over it. I need to try to work extra hard this year to not let those inexplicable emotions cloud how I treat them. I need to be better about accepting the people that are important to those around me.
- Keep in touch. Over the next year, I expect almost all of my relationships to be long distance. If all goes as planned, I’ll be on to a new adventure far from anyone I’ve ever known before. Although I’m sure I’ll make ties to new places, I need to work better on small ways of keeping in touch. I know this may be the same as writing letters, but I wanted a separate one…one that included those brunches when I’m in town, a long phone call to catch up with someone, a weekend trip to visit someone just because, and a small text just to wish someone a good day.
- Ask more questions. Government, educational policy, truths & lies, plot lines…we can’t learn if we accept everything the way it is presented. We can’t grow away from ignorance if we don’t seek more information, question sources, or check ourselves. It is also important to ask myself about my own discomforts, prejudices, and why I believe that I feel the way I do.
- Get both sides of the story. We live in little bubbles and surround ourselves with people that think and live like we do. Without stepping outside of our comfort zone and actually trying to value others’ opinions and lifestyles (and I mean really value, not just laugh and criticize because it sounds “stupid”), we are aiding to our own division and thus fear and hatred. There is more than one side to every story and it doesn’t hurt to seek it out.
In summary…be a better, less bitter human who communicates more, questions everything, and takes action.