Six months in. Six months into a chapter after the hardest year in recent memory. How are you feeling? How are your nerves? Are they in shock? Numb still? Or perhaps you're just reveling in the simple joy of grabbing a meal at your favorite restaurant? Maybe with a few (vaccinated) friends in tow, nervously laughing off the frantic energy of last year? Personally, I'm a bit of everything at the moment. Relief, joy, exhaustion and my fair share of anxiety. As someone who loves working toward goals each year (personal and professional), I think my anxiety has doubled down here in 2021, because I have this extra pressure on myself to make up for last year, to make up for the lost time as the world stopped spinning. The rational side of my brain keeps telling me that this expectation is simply not fair or vaguely realistic. But the emotional side of me begs to differ. And hence, the two have a stand off, which is largely why I think I failed at writing down any goals at the beginning of 2021. It felt altogether too daunting to commit to anything.
Now, six months have gone by relatively quickly and I don't feel nearly as confronted by verbalizing my goals. Moreover, I don't feel nearly the same pressure to do and be everything to make up for last year. I'm embracing a slower pace when it comes to "picking up where we left off" so to speak and I fully intend to show myself that grace when it comes to personal expectations and projects. I guess what I'm trying to say, 2020 made me realize how much I don't need the "hustle and grind" attitude that my 20s and early 30s thrived on. Instead, I'd much rather prioritize living intentionally at a pace that feels enriching, not draining. I want to breath deeply. Not constantly feel out of breath.
But let's cut my rambling here — there are just too many great goals you all shared with me that I want to get to, so I'll briefly kick us off here with mine: an assortment of big and small to-dos I'd love to see myself accomplish or start before the end of the year.
- Maintain a consistent running regimen (possibly for half marathon next year)
- Drink a gallon of water every day
- Find a new dermatologist here in the city to address my melasma/hyperpigmentation concerns
- Help my mom sell her house and explore a few new cities she'd like to move to (through encouragement and providing resources)
- Finally wrap my head around the idea of writing a book (!!!!)
- Define myself outside of the scope of social media (this is likely a blog post topic for another day)
- Be kinder to myself
And now, without further adieu, here are your goals you shared with me...
1. "Declutter our home now that we are part-time empty nesters! Kids went back to college in January but they are now home for summer. It's a slow progress but progress nonetheless!
Also signed up for a half and full marathon this fall. First races since the pandemic hit. A little scared! But I've got this and I have friends to train with!"
2. "I'm a 61-year-old recent retiree, who wants to finish the college degree program that I left 41 years ago. I suffered from depression/anxiety, but of course at the time, I didn't know where to get help so I quit the thing that I thought would solve the issue. Little did I know that I'd suffer from anxiety to this day. So my goal is to start small, i.e. reach out to an advisor at the University of Texas at Austin to see what my options are, process for enrolling, etc."
3. "Save $5,000."
4. "Finish my post grad program at the University of Texas. I think I may have mentioned being in school (again). I started at the community college but I felt my academic pedigree was not going to make sense with an associates when I have a masters. Plus I wasn't learning anything. The program is brand new and needs more work resources poured into it to make it viable. I moved to IT and certificate program is in Artificial Intelligence — Machine Learning. I had to learn to code and still in that process. I had to level up to get the money I need to make."
5. "I want to start working out. I miss the gym!"
6. "It's been almost a year I've been single, probably the longest in my adult life, and I've experienced a lot of personal growth during this time. I'm starting to become interested in dating again, as things open up and my goal is to not settle for less than I am worth. I want to be loved so badly. I tend to become codependent, or chase the first person who shows interest in me. I've heard it phrased, "I do not chase, I attract," and I'm working on slowing myself down. I am in the thick of a major crush right now, and the person I'm developing feelings for has been busy and overwhelmed and not spending as much time with me. We haven't had a phone call in almost three weeks And while we text all the time, I have to hold myself back from continuing to message and message just to grab their attention. I'm worthy of someone who makes time for me. So that's my goal. To be comfortable enough in myself and my value not to compromise myself and my value."
7. "I'm trying to do a '100 Days of Exercise' challenge right now. I started it two weeks ago and hope to successfully finish it before my birthday in October. This is an extremely new thing for me. I have never been an active person my entire life, never working out regularly and I feel like I don't have enough discipline to go through life, so I decided to do this challenge to introduce myself to both. I haven't told a lot of people about this but it feels good to share."
8. "I would like to meet some new people so that I can find and create some friendships. Like many others, my partner and I moved overseas during Covid and meeting new people had been almost impossible with restrictions. Yes, we've kept up with people from Australia, but it would be naive to suggest these can sustain our lives in Luxembourg."
"I'm a 61-year-old recent retiree, who wants to finish the college degree program that I left 41 years ago. I suffered from depression/anxiety, but of course at the time, I didn't know where to get help so I quit the thing that I thought would solve the issue. Little did I know that I'd suffer from anxiety to this day. So my goal is to start small, i.e. reach out to an advisor at the University of Texas at Austin to see what my options are, process for enrolling, etc.'"
9. "For me, it's finally setting up a fold up table with my poster board sign asking people in Washington Square Park a question. A question about childhood and if they stop, having the ability to then ask follow up questions and interview them. To research for no other reason than I'm so curious how some people end up so, so free to be as an adult and others don't. I don't know what I'll do with all that's collected but I know I have to at some point this year, go set up my table and not be afraid to ask. And also, coincidentally I would like to finally bring a boom box to Washington Square Park on my birthday this year and have a dance party by the fountain."
10. "Dog! I want a dog."
11. "Find a Rabbi so I can continue my conversion to Judaism."
12. "I look around me at all the 'stuff' I've accumulated as an adult. I'm determined, each week, to clear out/downsize areas of my home. I'll donate, offer to family members, use consumables. The past year has made me realize I don't need anymore stuff. I need less."
13. "My goal is to write down my dreams and say them out loud to someone I trust. It's to sit comfortably with the good things that are happening and not dismiss them as ordinary. It's to recognize that I can work toward opportunities and not simply be grateful for the goodness that falls into my path."
14. "I'm working on...sharing my work. I started learning calligraphy during quarantine and I love it so much. But whenever I get to the 'sharing' part of projects, I freeze! Trying to move past that this year.'"
15. "I just graduated from USC with my doctorate in Policy, Planning and Development. My big goal is to network to find the path where I can deliver value in the field of Global Health Diplomacy and US Foreign Policy. I've started looking for an Entrepreneur-in-Residence. My small goals are: to use time efficiently, to pause and engage with nature/outdoors, to improve my cooking skills. Most importantly, family and extended family are front and center."
16. "My goal is to sink into this new era of New York. It's quite easy for me to romanticize the old New York, so much so that I can miss what's happening right in front of me. This year, I'm committing to reveling in what we have right now and what we can all create together."
17. "My main goal for this year was to get my first apartment as I have been living with family. To be honest, the idea felt a little outlandish considering what this year has been like for me. But here I am, one Google search and a few formalities later, set to move into my very first apartment by July! Terrified but hopeful and grateful for new beginnings."
18. "Quit smoking."
19. "I always shoot for more than I can chew. My professional goal is to finally launch my product (pandemic has delayed it since forever). My physical goal is to lose the last 5 pounds and get my front splits. Other goal is to practice my violin more regularly and to work more on my Korean lessons. Permanent goal is to be kinder to myself and offload the guilt I've been carrying for no reason for years."
20. "More curiosity! Get back to seeing this world (even if we can't travel far)."
21. "To start exercising. I just can't get motivated."
22. "To have confidence to start my ow project instead of being behind the scenes, helping other people with theirs."
23. "Finishing my manuscript for the book I am writing on structural racism and criminal justice reform."
24. "Meditate every day."
25. "To find a job I love. I did love my last job but I had to quit last October because my visa didn't come in time (thanks Covid and previous administration). Anyway, I got it a couple of weeks ago, took only 9 months but it's only valid for 10 months (imagine explaining this during a job interview). I don't want to compromise this time where or with whom I work with despite everything. Being assertive and listen to my inner voice is my goal. Oh also, I want my green card to come this year but I can't control that. So the right job with that right feeling inside will do."
26. "Keep up with my fitness routine! I've been working out consistently and love the way I've been feeling!"
"My goal is to sink into this new era of New York. It's quite easy for me to romanticize the old New York, so much so that I can miss what's happening right in front of me. This year, I'm committing to reveling in what we have right now and what we can all create together."
27. "My goal is to be kinder to myself."
28. "My goal is to get into therapy. I've struggled really hard with PPD and it's time to not only admit that I need help, but actually seek out and engage in the help. I owe it to myself, my partner and my son. This project of yours is weirdly the kick I probably needed to just start."
29. "By the end of the year, I want to be more comfortable with who I am, what I've been through and into the unknown (cue the song from Frozen II of where I am going.)"
Photography by yours truly