We made it through 2021, which was weirder than 2020 because, while 2020 was a steady hum of lows, 2021 came with ups and downs all year like the winter surge, the vaccine coming out, devastating COVID variants, seeing family and friends again, and NYC being in the grips of yet another surge during the holidays. (And, of course, an unrelenting news cycle, as per usual.)
This past year, I feel a lot less… ambitious than I ever felt. I just want to survive, you know? I’ve even found my usually competitive nature to be significantly dampened. Games with family and friends (online, as is the case for most of this pandemic) are less stressful and still as fun when I don’t hope for or expect victory? I’m already spending time with people I care about, so anything that follows is an afterthought. It’s fine if people think I’m bad at a game; they might be right, and I don’t have to get my pride hurt about it. I remember wanting to get my mind and my body to the BEST possible condition ahead of turning 30, but by the time my birthday rolled around I didn’t care. I was just holding on.
So my goals for the upcoming year are not super ambitious, and I’m trying to be even more honest with myself so that I can achieve them. As the years start coming and they don’t stop coming, I am really thinking hard about what kind of person these goals are supposed to help me become and why I want to be her.
Invest time in my old hobbies. So many people picked up new hobbies during this pandemic, but I found myself multiple times this year reminiscing on my old ones that I haven’t been able to do in a long time. For 2022, I’d really love to rediscover some of these old hobbies, like practicing piano on a keyboard I bought many holiday sales ago, finding some rollerblades after skating got very popular last year, practicing any of the languages I already know or started learning, or even blogging right here in this little corner of the internet that I tell myself I can leave behind but still renew year after year.
Leave my phone behind. I’ve noticed that I am having a hard time not bringing my phone and escaping into the little screen in my hands, and it is happening more and more. In 2020, I justified how much more time I was spending on my phone because it was my main connection to the outside world. While in the past, I felt harshly judgmental of people who were on their phones first thing in the morning and last thing before sleep, or had phones out at the table, or even brought it to the bathroom with them? … I’ve noticed myself doing a lot of these exact things. I barely recognize myself and I don’t like it.
Give myself something to look forward to every week. I don’t think I was feeling as low in 2021 as I was in 2020, but I think I spent a lot of this past year in a sort of muddled daze that didn’t feel as bad as most of 2020 did but I felt really… numb. Maybe it was pandemic burnout but I felt my days and weeks blurring together. In college, I used to give myself a small treat to look forward to every Friday or every weekend, whether it was some kind of social outing or, more frequently, a treat. (Those dining hall eclairs got me through a lot of bad weeks.) I forgot how important it is for me to have something to look forward to, and to prioritize giving myself time to do that.
Let myself want things, and ask for them or go get them. Earlier this year, when my partner was out of town, I gave myself a “main character” day and, honestly, I really struggled with it. I had no idea what to do when I wasn’t trying to accommodate other people? But asserting what I want? Or even stopping to think about what I want to begin with? It was really hard, to be honest, so I am going to try to spend some time this year really thinking about it so I can be better at communicating it. This would probably help me avoid some of the disappointment I sometimes experience because if I don’t know what I want, how can I hold it against someone else for not knowing?
Embrace being bad at things so that I can get better. I really hate being bad at things, but at my age, it is getting rarer and rarer that I stumble upon something I’m good at on the first try. Similar to how I am working on not attaching too much of my pride and identity to my ambition, I am going to do the same with me being good at things always. It’s unrealistic and kind of egotistical, and I have to be kind enough to myself to be bad at things so that I can get better. (But I won’t speak Portuguese with my Brazilian coworkers anymore, I think I’ve committed too many faux pas there haha)
Other things for me to work on this year:
- Bump up the number of meals/days that are meatless and work in more vegan meals as well
- Take more photos and videos of life
- Spend more quality time with my brother now that we’re in the same city
- Pretty myself up more instead of subjecting myself to Slob Starr all the time
- Reach out to friends and family more
It feels weird but I don’t have a lot of big resolutions this year. It feels freeing but also a little concerning, because I think I don’t see a lot of specific things to look forward to from myself. I want to look forward to the future but it’s tough when the blur of the pandemic seems to extend there, too.
I have a good feeling about this year though, and achieving more of my goals than usual. I hope you do, too.
- I have finally cancelled my Amazon Prime subscription
- I significantly reduced food delivery orders and call a restaurant directly for pickup whenever possible
- I started donating to two organizations on a regular (aka automated) basis
- I started therapy but I quit after 2 months. I’m not proud of it but I didn’t like my therapist and I was not motivated to find a new one after working with her
- I ate meatless quite a lot this year! Towards the end of the year I was a little less strict about keeping a day completely meatless but I cut meat out of a lot of my meals and most weeks did have a completely meatless day, with many vegan meals and days sprinkled in as well
I fell off the wagon with journaling, meditating, and fitness a lot this past year, but I’m trying not to beat myself up about it too much. It’s a new year, but every day is a chance for me to try again. I’ll attempt to be gentle with myself and tackle them one at a time.