2014 will forever be to me the year when everything went wrong.
I don’t know about your 2014, but mine was exhausting, challenging, and downright depressing. The entire year. Even though I had some great achievements, like graduating my masters program and getting my UK work visa (both long term dreams of mine), they were not 100% joyous moments. They still felt marred by a sadness I couldn’t shake. Don’t get me wrong; I’m very grateful for everything that I do have. However, my year was riddled with failed relationships (romantic and otherwise), busted projects, fallen plans, illness, perpetual disappointment, and lots of emotional turmoil. I would love to say I rose to the occasion and handled all of this gracefully, but I definitely did not. It really got to me and frustrated me to no end.
New Year’s Eve never really meant anything to me, nor does it now. But, I was thinking about it the other day and it occurred to me that for the past 5 years, I’ve been impatiently waiting for that date change, even if it meant nothing, because symbolically, it just meant the end of another awful year and that tiny bit of change would somehow make a difference. 2014 was a special kind of awful though.
This brings me to my point. I have never made New Year’s resolutions, but for the past month I’ve been thinking optimistically about making 2015 the year I “do something”. Things may go wrong again, but I somehow feel more in control. And so, these are the things I want to accomplish in 2015:
1) Learn Spanish: I wanted to do this before I went to Peru, but the summer was so turbulent that I didn’t get the chance to take it up. I’ve actually started this December, and hopefully by April (when I go to Madrid for work), I will be able to hold a full conversation in Spanish. I enjoy learning languages and Spanish has been an especially fun (and useful) one.
2) Learn to play the guitar: the sound of a guitar has always intoxicated me. I zone out when I listen to a great guitar solo, which is not something that’s easy for me to do as I’m usually thinking of a thousand things all at once. Seeing as I want to quiet the chaos in my head, as well as it being a lifelong dream, I bought a guitar and will finally start learning. I set a goal of learning a song each month, but I’m not sure how much time I’ll have, but as long as I learn a song or two by the end of summer, then I’ll be happy.
3) See three new countries: this year, I got to see parts of Italy, Peru, and the U.S. for the very first time, and so I want to see three new countries in 2015. So far, I’m thinking Iceland, Morocco, and Turkey, but I’m still deciding. I’m determined to travel more in 2015 and I’m already excited about the places I will get to see and the experiences I will have.
4) Get healthy again: not that I’m unhealthy now, but I did gain some weight this year and I ignored my eating and exercising habits for so long that it got difficult to get back into the routine. So to plunge myself back into it, I signed up to 20 straight days of yoga in January, which I might extend to 30 days before going back to my 4 times a week routine. The last time I did a similar challenge was in August 2013 (when I learned to headstand) and I had never felt calmer and stronger, so it felt like the best way to start the year.
5) Read more: I did read a few books this year, but not as many as I would have liked. I’ve been too distracted and that’s not a good excuse. I’m a quarter way into Shantaram now (I’ve been reading it on and off…oops!), and I’ve lined up a few books after that, but I’m always looking for suggestions if you have any!
6) Experience more of London and the UK: as previously mentioned, it had been a dream of mine to actually live in London, but having accomplished that, I don’t feel like I’m taking full advantage of it. I know London well, I think, but not well enough. I would like to explore more, and I would like to see more of England and the UK as a whole, so hopefully more train travel in the summer (and finally get to Scotland!).
There you have it. Those are my top 6 challenges for myself for next year. I’ve listed them here so that they’re a (public) reminder and to motivate me to get them done, though I already feel motivated and optimistic, and hopefully I’ll end up adding to them too.
Happy new year! I hope 2015 is a good one for you…it can’t be worse than 2014, right? Right??!
Are you setting any challenges for yourself for the new year?