Almost since the time I first started blogging, I’ve made a habit of kicking off each new year with a post about goals. I would look at how I did in meeting or making progress towards my goals for the previous year, and then I would look ahead and set some goals for the new year.
I’m not doing that this year.
You see, the past year (and the last few months in particular) have given me a lot of time to think about goals. And I think I’ve come to the conclusion that not just setting them, but also sharing them and assessing myself publicly is a recipe for disaster for me.
I know the new year doesn’t really mean anything – changing the year from 2020 to 2021 won’t magically make all of our problems go away. I gotta say though, it is nice to hang up a new calendar on the wall, to start a new bullet journal, and at least symbolically put the last year behind us.
I don’t want to diminish the hardships and tragedies that everyone endured this past year, of course, but I think there’s something to be said for the good things that happened this year. We can all grieve and still remember the moments that made us smile, too.
So, as is tradition, here is my Year in Review for 2020!
By now, I’ve lived at my new place for about two weeks, and I’ve managed to not set anything on fire or break any appliances, so all things considered I’m doing pretty great! It’s been so nice to have my own space, and now that I’m 99% settled in, I wanted to share some photos and maybe talk a little bit about it.
Every cloud has a silver lining, as the saying goes. It’s supposed to mean that even the worst circumstances have some aspect of good about them. It’s just that though; an aspect. Yes, every cloud has a silver lining, but that doesn’t negate the fact that there’s still a big cloud looming overhead.
Maybe that’s cynical of me. It’s just that when I’ve often heard this idiom used, the speaker is trying to ignore the presence of the “cloud.” That doesn’t help anyone. Pretending everything is okay when it clearly is not doesn’t solve any problems.
All this to say, I’m in a rather cloudy season right now. (I usually hate when people talk about “seasons” of life but since I’m already using weather metaphors I’ll let it slide.) I am trying to find the silver linings, but the fact is that I am still sad, angry, and discouraged.
I’ve been going back and forth about writing this post for almost two weeks now. I don’t want to just be another voice on the internet throwing a pity party because life is terrible right now, but at the same time, I’ve always found writing to be one of the things that brings comfort. As for publishing it for all the world to see – well, I don’t know. Perhaps we’ll learn something along the way (but I make no promises).
I like setting goals for myself if for no other reason than the fact that I like the illusion of accomplishment. We can debate whether or not reading a certain number of books is actually making a difference in the grand scheme of things, but hey, at least I actually did something. If nothing else, I think goal-setting helps us prioritize, and they teach us patience and perseverance.
There’s nothing really special about the first day of the year – it’s just another day, so what? But for whatever reason, when humans made calendars, they designated this specific day as the beginning of a “new year.” And we like new things. They’re scary sometimes, sure, but they also feel full of opportunity. So yes, setting goals for a year is somewhat arbitrary, but I think it’s good to capitalize on that optimism and use it to make changes that will go beyond the next twelve months.
All that being said, today I’m going to review my goals from 2019 and rate myself on how well I did, and then look ahead to what I want to do in 2020.
It’s the end of another year, and also the end of another decade. If you’re worried that I’m going to make you endure a ten-year retrospective like every other content creator on the internet seems to be doing, let me put your fears to rest: I’m not. I can barely remember what I did ten days ago, let alone ten years ago. And while you might be entertained by a cringeworthy look back at my pre-teen years, that’s a trip down memory lane I’m gonna pass on.
As is tradition though, I am going to wrap up 2019 with a look back at my favorites from the year. I promise you I’ll keep it concise, so without further ado, on to the lists!
And we’re back! Thanks for sticking with me the last few weeks everyone – I promise this will be worth the wait!
In case you missed it, I spent the last three weeks on a “cross-cultural” trip with my school – basically, a three-week term in another country with the goal of providing a more hands-on learning experience. Our trip took us to Strasbourg, France, located in the eastern region of Alsace (practically sitting on the German border). Most of our trip was spent in Strasbourg and the surrounding area, with a final three days in Paris.
When I was a kid, I was terrified of flying in airplanes. Not because I didn’t like heights, or because I thought we would all crash and die or anything. I knew that was highly unlikely – my dad used to explain to me how planes had a gazillion safety features, and how they could land anywhere, even in the water, if they needed too. So, in the event of a bizarre aircraft malfunction, I knew that I would probably be fine.
No, what I was terrified of more than anything was losing my favorite stuffed animal in the event that our hypothetical flight had to make an emergency water landing. I was incredibly distraught when I learned that luggage usually did not make it out of situations like that. So I, at whatever young age I was, resolved to never, ever fly in an airplane, especially over water.
I am pleased to report that I did eventually overcome this (perhaps irrational) fear. I actually took my first flight when I was in middle school for a class-related trip, and it was without my parents if you can even believe it. I survived. And I’ve taken plenty of flights since then, the Florida, California, Arizona, and Montana. Now, I’ve learned that of all the things to complain about on a flight, safety is usually not one of them. You can complain about the cramped seats and you can complain about the food, but ultimately, safety is not usually one of the main concerns. And I’m glad about that, because of all the things that I have to be terrified about for this upcoming trip, I’m glad that flying is not one of them.
I had different post planned for this week, and then my body decided we were due for another cold. I spent most of the weekend sleeping and chugging DayQuil, and I didn’t really feel up to writing what I’d originally intended.
But since International Women’s Day was this past Friday (March 8), I thought it would be nice to write a little thank you note of sorts: