Anyone who’s spent any good amount of time around me is aware that I have a distinct dislike of odd numbers and so as you can imagine, 2014 was brought in with much rejoicing. I don’t want to back track too much but as for December of 2013, I would simply describe it as an absolute blast! I spent an unreasonable amount of time celebrating my birthday and was sincerely touched by the love from the co-workers, students, and friends that have become like family here during a month that was particularly difficult to be separated from my immediate family. Better still, I was lucky enough to get to spend my time off at Christmas WITH my family in Honolulu, Hawaii. Maybe I’ll write more on my thoughts on returning to the grand ole’ U.S.A. later—in this moment, it’s crucial to move on to the present.
The first week of 2014 has flown by in a flash of fascinating and previously incomprehensible events that have proven to me just how beautifully unpredictable life can be.
Not long ago, I decided I wanted to write a list for 2014, not to bind myself to it with timelines and boxes to check, but to give myself a framework from which to view the year and to set intentions. I’m not exactly a “new year’s resolution” type of person—I’m just not that rigid about much of anything—but I do like something about the idea of bringing some ceremony into what is in actuality, just another day like any other. And while the New Year is technically only new one day of the year, I still think it deserves some sort of recognition beyond a party and a late night ending in counting backwards. So even if it is January 7th and even if I haven’t blogged in a while, I’ll reflect and I’ll write what I aim to.
I think that in 2013, I learned that if new is scary, it can equally be good. New can sometimes scare the living shit out of us. New can seem so wretchedly terrifying that the only thing you can do is decide what you’re made of. New can also change you in ways you never dreamed of expecting. I’ve learned that successful adaptation to the “new” can shock you with waves of contentment and serenity.
What is clear about life is that it is quite uncertain about itself and since it is proven to be short, I am pleased to say that I am currently doing exactly what I want with it. Besides my oft-quoted and universally relevant favorite life mantra: “Do Better”, here is my small and certainly not comprehensive list for 2014. I share it with you only to share a little bit, or as my endearing students write: “a little bet”, about some of the experiences I hope to be able to live in 2014.
- Visit all my family members in their various cities and visit a new state in the U.S.A.
- Finish my entire year contract in South Korea and to finish without allowing myself to become bitter and jaded.
- Have a conversation in Korean that doesn’t involve ordering food or getting home in a taxi.
- Visit Jeju-do island and Busan in South Korea.
- Run a 10k in a foreign country.
- Visit my new friends’ hometowns with them: NYC, Chicago, and Toronto to name only a few.
- Volunteer someplace new doing something completely different (WWOOF in Italy?)
- Visit Caitlin in L.A. and drive up the western coast of the U.S.
- Publish more than 300 blog posts.
- Re-visit Siena and visit a new Italian city.
- Sponsor a child.
- Pay more than the minimum payment on all of my student loans every single month.
- Truly make friends with my Korean co-workers.
- Make major life choices based on commitment rather than convenience.