In some areas of my life, I am ridiculously punctual and I hate hate HATE being late. After two years in Africa, however, my punctuality and stress related to being on time relaxed… a LOT… just in time for me to get back to America where everyone is running around stressed all the time and that things happen WHEN they are supposed to happen and deadlines actually MEAN something and the to-do list is getting longer and… it’s all quite overwhelming. Something tells me it will take me quite a while to return to full-on American mentality. I’d rather have breakfast take an hour and just stare off into space when I feel like it.
I can’t believe it’s a new year… and that we are already more than a week into it. I rang in the new year in my old stomping ground of Los Angeles, where I got to enjoy some nice weather, eat some delicious food, and, MOST importantly, see some of my closest friends. More on that later! The first week of 2011 has seen me gallivanting all over CA without much time to breathe or reflect, which is something I love to do, so I am taking the time to do that now.
For me, 2010 was definitely an interesting and exciting year. I was living in Mozambique, being constantly stretched and challenged, and also having some really crazy experiences—traveling to the World Cup in South Africa, seeing Swaziland, going on Safari, and then spending a full month backpacking in Southeast Asia (posts to come–yes, I fail as a blogger) only to return HOME to America after my 27-month stint. Exciting. Stimulating. Incredible.
But with that being said… I don’t think 2010 was a good year. Don’t get me wrong, I had some amazing opportunities that I know I was very blessed to have. But I wasn’t truly happy. I survived in Moz, but I didn’t thrive there. I loved it, but I also missed my friends and family. I felt lonely, and most importantly, I wasn’t happy with myself. It’s crazy how no matter what your circumstances are in life—whether you’re rich or poor, fat or thin, black or white, living in Africa in a hut or living in an affluent California suburb—life happiness and satisfaction usually comes down to your relationships with others and your relationship with yourself. And for me, in that respect, 2010 was a hard year.
On 10-10-10, I recapped how my 10 goals for 2010 were going. There were some that I did pretty well with my tangible goals (starting a blog, doing well on the GRE, applying to grad school from Africa, Traveling—8 countries!, and standing up straighter, or at least a small improvement. Baby steps.) But the less tangible, more important ones, like putting God back at the center of my life and stop selling myself short, were a big fat fail. As I get older and become more self-aware, I recognize more what needs to change in my life and how circumstances are not the most important thing. What matters most is what is going on inside.
2011 is going to be one of the most defining and formative and challenging years of my life. It’s the first time I need to make a life for myself—I went straight from college to Peace Corps, which, while challenging in other ways, means not having to work hard to make friends, find a job or worry about many menial real-world things like bills and insurance and paying rent. This year, I have to figure this whole life thing out. I’m a little scared.
I have a million goals for 2011 but I don’t know if I have a resolution (besides the aforementioned pescatarian project). I HOPE to find a great job. I HOPE to make a good grad school decision. I HOPE to make new friends and reconnect with old ones. I HOPE to be able to run a marathon. But I think my “resolution” for this year is, in a way, to know myself, love myself, and challenge myself.
I competed in a duathlon last weekend by myself. It was a free race sponsored by Total Body Fitness (2 mile trail run, 7 mile hilly bike, 2 mile trail run) and fundraiser for Girls on the Run. I went alone. I was freezing. I was slow. I don’t think I passed a single person the whole race. I got discouraged at points. I felt awkward and out of shape and bad about myself because of how everyone else was doing. I realized I was losing sight of the point: that I am strong. Stronger than I think. Maybe I’m slow and all the overweight dads and their seven year old sons are creaming me, but that doesn’t matter. What matters more is how I see myself—believing that I am ABLE and that I am worth it—and forgetting the rest.
Here’s to 2011.
How’s the new year going so far? Do you have any “intangible” goals for the year?