One Year Later

It’s been a while. Almost a year since my last blog post, and exactly one year since my post on New Year’s resolutions for 2018-19.

A lot has happened in the past year, which is part of the reason why I did not make time to blog about my life. I completed my AmeriCorps term of service, I applied to and was accepted into (!!!) graduate school, I had two surgeries, and my partner and I moved into our first real apartment together. My work kept me extremely busy – like 60 hours/week busy – and I navigated several stressful situations with as much grace as I could. I rekindled old friendships and met new people. I made it through the year. I also saw The Mountain Goats three times in concert (on three nights in a row!), so that’s something.

Grad school starts in two weeks, a fact that is looming over my weeks off at all times. In spite of this, I’ve been reflecting a lot on gratitude and how I want to move into next year. As a part of this effort, I want to revisit my goals from last year and see both how I did and how my priorities have changed over the past months.

1) Do more of what I love that I haven’t had the energy to do during the past few years – Over the past year, I did successfully jump back into a hobby – language learning. Recently, I’ve been intensively studying Russian several hours per day. I’m hoping to apply to a language immersion program next summer so that I can keep improving and get my Russian to the level (or beyond the level) of my French.

Not all things with this have been peachy. I have been running into one major issue with Russian: it is SO HARD. Just look into Russian’s six grammatical cases and you’ll understand what I’ve been going through! Otherwise, I have the motivation, and I’ve been keeping up with my studies even when I’m feeling a little burnt out.I was unfortunately unable to start dancing again because, let’s be honest, ballet is expensive. I am, however, continuing to look into opportunities in the hopes that I’ll have some disposable income in the upcoming months.

2) Maintain the work that I’ve done on myself – Check! The past year was rough, and I had several bad mental health days, but overall I think that I’ve maintained the work that I’ve done on myself, if not slightly improved in my overall health and mental health.

3) Build community – Volunteering fell through the cracks for me this year, though not for lack of trying! I did establish a relationship with a great nonprofit in Seattle, but after a while, my job (which is a type of volunteering in and of itself) became too demanding for me to continue routinely volunteering at other organizations. I have a feeling that volunteering will not be high on my list of priorities while I am back in school because I’ll be working 28-36 hours per week as well as attending classes. Oh well.

I have continued making friends and building community through continued dedication to my interpersonal relationships, so in that regard, this goal was a success!

4) Go to at least 1 place that I’ve never been to before – Last year, I listed off Glacier National Park and anywhere on the East Coast as potential travel destinations. Though neither of those have been crossed off my bucket list, my partner and I did travel to Denver recently! We visited with my partner’s brother and his partner, and we explored the amazing beauty and delicious food of the area. Although I experienced altitude sickness the entire weekend, I would love to go back!

As for the upcoming year, I would still love to see Glacier or the East Coast. As for a wild card guess, I’m going to throw out New Orleans as a possible travel destination as I’ve ALWAYS wanted to go and I know my partner would be very excited to eat gumbo and beignets!

5) Further explore sustainability – If I failed at any goal over the past year, it was this one. I did wind up utilizing some public transit; however, the area in which I was living for a large part of the year did not lend itself well to bus travel. Over the past few months, I took the bus to work when I did not have other appointments in areas that would be difficult to reach by bus. I do fully intend on taking public transit during grad school though because the Seattle Metro Area has AMAZING transit. There’s a bus that stops within a few minutes drive of my apartment that will take me right to the university with only one stop in between!

Another type of sustainability that I let fall through the cracks: buying fewer items. I brought a pretty small wardrobe with me up to Seattle, and when the rain and snow came this winter, I very much regretted it. I had to buy actual winter coats, and I would up having to supplement a lot of my wardrobe to make it more “professional” for my job. As it turns out, California has a very different idea of what is considered “business casual” and “business appropriate” fashion! I’m not saying that I was constantly underdressed, but I did wind up needing to buy several specific pieces to up the overall quality of my wardrobe.

As I continue looking for clothes (I’m going to be honest, I just love shopping for clothes), I’m going to as many thrift stores as possible. It’s a super fun way to shop, and Seattle has some amazing thrift finds – last weekend, I found a 100% cashmere sweater in my size for $5! I’ll still buy some new clothes (some things are just difficult to find secondhand), but I’m trying to be as ethical as possible with every purchase.

6) Learn as much as possible – I think I accomplished this goal. I could have read more books maybe, but for how busy I was with work and for how focused I was on foreign languages in my free time, I’m not sweating this one. I learned a lot about emergency management, disaster response, and general public administration over the last year, and I consider that a success.

What’s next?? – As for the future, I definitely want to continue with these six resolutions. I would have to add some pragmatic, quantitative goals: get A’s in my grad school classes, go into less than $5,000 of student loan debt, and get my Russian to an A2/very low B1 level.

I can’t promise I’ll have any time to blog over the next year, but I will try if only for my own peace of mind. I know no one reads this blog, but I personally find it cathartic to post about these parts of my life somewhere on the internet that doesn’t have a character limit or want me to look at the world through rose-colored glasses.

Until next time.

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