For the next few weeks, I’ll be reflecting on 2017: the ups, downs, lefts, rights, and off-road adventures. 2017 was by far the most dynamic year of my almost seventeen years of existence, and it was a very important year of personal growth. I accomplished many of my goals, but I also pushed the limits of my physical and mental capabilities.
In light of all that I learned in 2017, my theme word for 2018 is BALANCE.
The picture featured above was taken during our family trip to Taiwan this past Thanksgiving break, and the water streaming down the mountain was truly a breathtaking and humbling sight. This picture reminds me of traditional Chinese landscape paintings, which are among some of my favorite art pieces. I think it’s a perfect representation of the beauty and calm that can be found despite the seemingly chaotic currents of life.
I’ll be posting recaps of the highlights, lowlights, and lessons of 2017, but, in the meantime, I’d like to share some of my goals for 2018.
Make time for self-care.
2017 was a whirlwind year full of exciting opportunities and new experiences, but it was also an incredibly physically and emotionally draining year. I’ve found outlets for my various passions, and, although cliché, my endeavors don’t feel like “work.” I’m genuinely so in love with and inspired by each of the initiatives in which I have the privilege of being involved.
This past year exceeded my hopes, and I’m so proud of the work I’ve helped accomplish, but I’m also very, very exhausted.
This exhaustion is most likely due to a combination of outdated time management skills and my complicated relationship with impostor syndrome, not to mention my sub-par immune system. (Whoever said being a breastfed child makes you healthier needs to chat with me ASAP please!) The first half of this school year was a seemingly never-ending cycle of my becoming ill and playing catch-up and then falling ill again from the demands of catching-up as my perpetual struggle with saying “no” added more and more responsibilities.
I don’t want to become a slave to this overbearing machine of my to-do list, so I’m going to make time for self-care, which might entail spending more time with loved ones or doing something I love that’s just for me and no one else.
Be mindful of physical health.
I got sick a lot in 2017, so, while the above goal has to do more with mental health, I want to be more mindful of my physical health as well. This overarching goal includes focusing on hydration, sleep, and exercise. Getting only 4-5 hours of sleep almost every weeknight is really not sustainable, so I hope my forthcoming attempts to de-clutter and streamline my activities will enable me to both make more time for fitness and consistently go to bed at a more reasonable time.
Update my planner daily.
Time management was a struggle in 2017. I definitely neglected my planner too often, so I’m switching to a mobile planner to eliminate any excuse of inconvenience to not update my planner. Juggling an intense senior year course load, nineteen college and many scholarship applications, an internship, leadership roles in various school extracurriculars, community initiatives like Young Asian Leaders of America and Louisville Girls Leadership, and this blog has certainly been an immense feat for this first semester. Quite honestly, I’m a bit overwhelmed.
I’ve slowly come to the realization that there really are only 24 hours in a day and that my physical capabilities are limited. Even so, especially because I will finish the last of my college and scholarship applications this week, I’m optimistic about second semester as I learn to better manage my stress and time. I hope this goal to update my planner daily helps me better compartmentalize my schedule and plan commitments accordingly so that I can maintain a healthy level of stress and make time for things like self-care and hobbies.
Post consistent content on TCL (at least once every two weeks).
Producing content for this more creative outlet brings me such joy, and I’d like to set aside time each week to just sit down and write about my shower thoughts or something I’m itching to discuss. The last post I made on here was October 31, but I’ve been active through other facets of my blog like Facebook and Twitter. To be honest, I have a lot of content that I haven’t published simply because my perfectionist tendencies make me hesitant to upload something for everyone to see. However, this blog is just as much for me as it for those whom I hope to impact, and I’m going to work on letting go of these often unnecessary worries.
Study a new language! (or two or three!)
I haven’t decided which new language I would like to study yet (likely either Russian or Arabic), but I neglected this language learning “hobby” a lot in 2017, and I’m looking forward to rekindling those flames! I also plan on self-studying Chinese characters to become literate. My mother is super happy about this, and, thanks to her teaching background, I have a plethora of resources to get started!
Read at least one book a month. Just for me, not for school.
The growth I achieved in 2017 has also made me crave a return to my roots, and one of the cornerstones of my childhood was a love for reading. There’s this castle in one of our local public libraries where my mom would always take me and my sister to read and play every week. That castle used to seem so magical and big, and my perception of that castle is a tangible metric of just how much I’ve, quite literally, grown.
Visiting that library now makes me nostalgic and reminds me of the pure joy literature once brought me. I’d be lying if I said enjoyed each of the books my English teachers have chosen for our study, but I do always appreciate the questions and issues to which I am exposed. Although I don’t have an interest in joining a book club, I want to read at least one book of my own choosing each month.
Please comment on this post or send me book recommendations! They can be non-fiction, fantasy, self-help, poetry, etc–any genre is welcome! The first book on my list is The Power of Habit–thanks to Jaime for the recommendation!
So that’s it: my goals for 2018. I’ve never actually set yearly goals before, so this will be truly be a test of my resolve. Here’s to a year of balance during this great transition to life as a true young adult. I look forward to more stories, memories, and experiences in 2018, and I’ll hope you join me as I continue to develop my own culture lens and navigate this wild adventure that is life.