“I am gonna make it through this year if it kills me” – My New Year’s Resolutions

The Mountain Goats performing onstage at Austin City Limits Live. The stage lights are blue and purple, and John Darnielle is playing a black acoustic guitar.

Goodbye summer, hello back-to-school, and happy new year! I love this new year’s season – I have personally found September to be a much better time for new beginnings and fresh starts than January. Luckily for me, Rosh Hashanah happens right around this time of year, which gives me a chance to reflect on my life and make new year’s resolutions during a time where I am motivated and emotionally and spiritually ready to make life changes.

For me, this new year is looking especially promising for resolutions and growth because I’m already in a period of major transition: I’ll be moving from California to Washington in less than a week! I also had a phenomenal end-of-the-year vacation this weekend – my partner and I went to Austin, Texas to eat lots of good food and see The Mountain Goats (!!) in concert. This trip was such a satisfying end to my year and really made me feel like I was starting the new year on a very, very high note. All of that being said, here are the 6 resolutions that I’m making for this sweet new year! Shana Tova!

1) Do more of what I love that I haven’t had the energy to do during the past few years

Recently I’ve done a lot of personal growth which has left me feeling mentally rejuvenated and energized. As a result, I’ve been able to dedicate more of my time and energy towards and old hobby that I let fall by the wayside during the past few years: language learning! I’ve gotten back into studying French and Spanish, and several other languages have piqued my interest during the past few weeks (Russian, Hebrew, Tagalog, and Afrikaans to name a few). I’m excited about learning and practicing again, and I’m looking forward to continue learning my languages as a part of this new year’s resolution!

In addition to language learning, I’m resolving to make more time to read in Washington, and I am going to look into taking ballet again! Ballet was a hobby of mine for years before I had to stop for health reasons. Now that I’m healthy and moving to an area with a much larger ballet scene, I’m ready to get back into my slippers and onto the floor! Additionally, getting back into ballet will be a fun way for me to incorporate more movement and art into my self care routine.

2) Maintain the work that I’ve done on myself

I’ve alluded to personal growth a few times on this blog already, so it should not come as a surprise that one of my resolutions revolves entirely around my personal growth and development. Because I’m in a time of transition, I know that the next few months are going to bring many stressors and challenges. This means that it is going to be especially important for me to work on practicing self care as an act of self preservation when I arrive in Washington – I want to make sure I don’t revert back to old habits or toxic ways of thinking in the new year! So, rather than resolving to grow even more during the upcoming year, I think it’s important for me to focus on maintaining my current level of personal development during this uncertain time. Once I get settled in, I can think about shifting my focus from personal and emotional maintenance to continued growth and development.

3) Build community

This year I am resolving to build community in three areas: in my new home, at my new workplace, and through a new volunteer opportunity. Building community in all of these areas will involve me going out of my comfort zone to meet new people, practicing my listening skills, and intentionally making connections with people who have had vastly different life experiences than I have. My work and any volunteer roles I pursue will give me opportunities to pursue boots-on-the-ground community building, including interpersonal advocacy and relationship building.

Finding a long-term volunteer opportunity in Washington is especially important to me as I believe volunteering allows you to integrate into new communities, connect with others, and resolve issues in ways that full-time paid positions cannot. I’m hoping to find a volunteer opportunity that I can stay with for a year or longer – I want to be engaged and committed to building community at an agency and with a population in a sustainable way. Currently, the volunteer opportunities that I’m looking into are teaching ESL (English as a Second Language) for immigrants and refugees and providing personal support and advocacy for people in recovery and members of the disability community. I’ll keep everyone posted when I find the volunteer opportunity that is the best fit for me!

4) Go to at least 1 place that I’ve never been to before

This resolution is pretty simple – everyone knows that travel expands horizons and can be a whole lot of fun. Some places on my list of potential travel spots are Montana (I’d love to hike in Glacier National Park) and anywhere on the East Coast! We’ll see where I end up!

5) Further explore sustainability

Moving to an area with a robust public transportation system is going to open up a world of opportunities for sustainable living! In addition to riding the bus and walking more, I’m going to focus on buying fewer items and reusing items as much as possible in order to cut down on my personal consumption and waste production.

6) Learn as much as possible

Moving to a new area will be an experience of a lifetime for me. I am resolving to keep my mind open so that I can learn everything that this transition and the people I meet along the way have to teach me about my new home, my new community, and myself.