I'm sitting here, at my desk, sipping (carefully, it's hot) a grande Americano, surrounded by artifacts of my life here in Edinburgh. To my right: a few pens and a tape dispenser, a couple of books on Celtic Art, a notebook, and half-full mug of tea from last night. To my left: my mobile phone, a pair of keys, a heavily edited first draft of an essay, another book about Scottish art, another notebook, and a couple of letters from people back at home awaiting replies. A lot of these things have been on my desk for weeks, if not months now. If it's not this book, it'll be that book. If it's not this essay, it will be a presentation outline or another essay. Things just keep on keeping on.
And that brings me to the New Year. 2014 is so close I can practically taste it! Or I could, if this coffee wasn't so yummy. I've started to notice a number of annual resolution lists going up and I thought I would contribute one of my own. Now, I'm a big fan of always working to improve myself, and trying to be the 'best me I can be.' I know, I know. But the thing is, I feel like I try to make these improvements or changes in a small way, very gradually, every day. It has never been helpful to lay out one or two, let alone an entire list of things that I resolve to do in the New Year. I've done the cliche gym membership fail, and the diet fail, and the shop-less-save-money fail, and the eat-less-chocolate fail, and the... You get the idea.
The thing is, I'm pretty happy right now. 2013 was a rockin' year! I spent a ton of time with my family and friends at home. My sisters and I totally road-tripped to Glacier National Park. I had a sweet apartment and have an awesome cat. And then I moved to Scotland (hellooo). Life ain't too shabs. There are things I would like to change, or to see happen in 2014, but jotting them down on a list and putting on the pressure isn't going to help me... So instead, I'm rolling out the 5 Things to Do Exactly the Same as Last Year for 2014.
Of course, you could say that by making a list of anything, even non-resolutions, I'm still resolving. Well, that answer is yes, yes I am.
9 Things to Do Exactly the Same as Last Year
(or: 9 Reasons I Resolve to Do Nothing Different) in 2014
(How's that for a title?)
1. Make challenging decisions.The move to Scotland was one of the biggest changes I've ever made. Obviously the opportunity for this sort of thing doesn't necessarily come along every year, but 2014 will see a lot of decision-making going down, and I want to see it through to the best possible outcome for me.
2. Drink gallons of coffee.I love coffee. If anything, I'll drink more of it. Coffee coffee coffee.
3. Blog!I started this bloggy blog back in May and have been enjoying it thoroughly. I look forward to figuring out where I want to go with it.
4. Do what I want (no matter what).I feel like this should go without saying, but sometimes I have to remember to do what I want. Whether it's something temporal like a school project or long-term like, well, my entire future, it's important to remember that it comes down to what I enjoy and how I think I can succeed on my own terms. It's good to bounce ideas off people, but it's not so good to allow other people to steer you in a direction you don't really want to go, just because they think it's the best. That's them. You're you. Or me. Yeah.
5. Surround myself with awesome people.I have been so fortunate to have made some amazing friends and met some of the coolest people over the years, and 2013 was no exception. I see this as a benefit of figuring out who I am as a person and the type of people who are good to be around, so I'd like to continue down that road.
6. Explore new places.Travel. Oooobviously. I heart it, so it will happen.
7. Write a lot, be creative.I've been doing a lot of writing the last few months, much of it for academic purposes. But I have also kept fiction always on the back-burner, and it occasionally comes back up. I love to write, and I think that's why I enjoy blogging so much as well. I don't necessarily need to write more in 2014, but I want to always be writing.
8. Be cheerful.Being cheerful is actually a skill I've learned. Cheer? A skill? Why, yes. And it took (takes!) practice. It takes more muscles to frown than to smile (so they say), so why does it seem so hard to smile sometimes? Surrounding myself with amazing people is important, but also acting happy. Fake it 'til you make (or become) it! It makes a world of difference to sound happy when you're checking out at the grocery store, even if the cashier is unfazed. It's wonderful to receive a smile in return from a stranger you pass on the sidewalk. If they don't smile back, it's their loss. Because in the moments when your good mood bounces off another person who is a) in a good mood already or b) in need of some cheer, it's the best feeling in the world.
9. Be inspired.This goes along with travel, with school, with meeting new people, trying new things. It's about art, and food, and stories, and technology, and nature... it's everything. I never want to lose my curiosity, or my imagination. (Life would be so dull!) Whether in the big things or the little things, I want to continue to find what amazes me.
See? I'm not anti-resolution! Do you have any big resolutions for 2014? Or maybe a teensy tiny one? Or none at all? Share below! I'd love to hear 'em.