Resolutions and Other Goals

Perhaps because of how my 2020 goals went, or just how 2020 went did much to rein in how ambitious I was come New Year’s Day, but my 2021 resolutions were decidedly shorter in number and smaller in scope. Maybe a year of setting SMART goals (Specific Measurable Achievable Relevant Time-bound) has helped me reframe goal-setting in a way that sets myself up so that I can look forward to success rather than disappointment with myself.

In these first few extremely tumultuous weeks of the new Gregorian year, I’ve noticed that there are still ways I hope to grow into the person I want to be that I didn’t capture in my resolutions post, maybe because they didn’t feel specific enough or maybe because I didn’t want to commit to them in a formal blog. (I included a few tentative ideas for these goals at the end of my resolutions post. Looking back, I feel sheepish about hedging so much about the commitment of making them big-R Resolutions but apparently, 3 weeks later, I still don’t feel comfortable with these goals having the same priority as my resolutions.)

But I think it is still valuable for me to share what some of these other goals are, both for accountability and for the sake of documenting what was important to me to try to change, what kind of person I was hoping to become.

So, here are a few other goals I have been working towards, not just in for the year 2021 but for some time now.

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2021 Resolutions

Now that we have reflected on 2020, and taken out much of our frustration with the world on this year that held so much promise (I really was looking forward to deals on Lasik…), it’s time to look forward towards 2021, stretching out before us.

This year, I feel a lot less anticipation for the new year and the fresh start that is promises to bring. Maybe because I’ve been so worn down by the previous year, or maybe because I know deep down that the stresses of 2020 not only didn’t magically disappear when the clock struck midnight but are liable to stick around for much of, if not all of, 2021.

Still. I was forced to spend a lot of time with myself, in my home, confronted with my poor habits and my unmet good intentions. It was a case scenario I always feared as an extrovert: without social interactions to keep me lifted and energized, I would deflate and collapse into a shell of myself. During that time, I saw much room for improvement.

Resolutions for Your Best New Year |

The resolutions for this year aren’t going to be as ambitious as they were in past years, I think. Concrete ones will be very specific and more realistic for me to achieve, given how many years several of them have appeared on this blog. To be honest, I haven’t spent as much time thinking about these as I have in years past, and I’m not too bothered about it. My resolutions have always been an opportunity for me to reframe my approach to my habits and a time for me to set the intention of what kind of person I want to be. So many goals in my previous resolutions had, knowingly or not, dependencies that were outside of my control. My goals to explore the city more, during a year when I could not leave my apartment? Or to just invite people into my home more, during a year when indoor gatherings were lethal? I didn’t know. And so, as a result, my resolutions this year are fewer and more restrained. I am not pushing myself too hard in 2021. We all need and deserve some rest this year, I think.

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Mid-Autumn, Mooncakes, and Mythology

A belated happy mid-autumn festival!

Zentih Mid-Autumn Festival 2016 GIF | Gfycat

The Mid-Autumn Festival is a time of family gathering. I first understood this when I was young and my mom was away on a business trip during that year’s festival. We still cut our mooncakes with a portion for her set aside and my dad reminded us that the beautiful full moon we were admiring was the very same one that beamed down on her, so we were connected by the moon. In fact, as someone who grew up celebrating all major holidays with my family (new year’s parties with friends still feel foreign to me), 中秋节 (zhōngqiūjié) was the first family holiday I spent away from my home and my family in college. I distinctly remember crying over the mooncakes my parents had lovingly purchased for me to bring back to campus when I visited them, because I had never eaten mooncakes alone before.

Even without a global pandemic still happening, my family has been split across many cities for a few years now, but I still acutely feel the effects of the pandemic on the festive season. I used to think my festive season ran from October (Halloween) through to the beginning of January (New Year’s ending the Christmas season), but upon reflection this year, I’m finding that my personal festive season starts in earnest with the Mid-Autumn Festival and ends with the end of Lunar New Year celebrations. (That’s when we would take down our tree, after all.) So starting the festive season without having seen any of my family (besides my husband) since February? January? When I consider the many people who aren’t even able to get mooncakes to eat alone (and am grateful for efforts to remedy that this year), I am worried about the lows we may reach during the festive season.

BUT.
This post is not about being sad during the holidays. 😅 This post is actually an informational one about the Mid-Autumn Festival, mooncakes, and the mythology surrounding this super important Asian holiday, where I’ll be focusing on Chinese traditions and folklore since I’m of Chinese descent. I decided to put a little informational up here because I got really into my Instagram stories writing about 七夕, aka “Chinese Valentine’s Day”, so I thought I’d spare my Instagram followers and torment my scarce blog readers instead. I’ll also share some new ways I’m celebrating this year in lieu of different circumstances and a highly-challenged comfort zone.

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Unsurprised but Devastated

No real post today because I have been reeling since the Breonna Taylor grand jury verdict was released.

Even though I started making a really concerted effort this week to schedule time to socialize with people and call them and chat, I have cancelled (/postponed) everything to mostly spend my evenings crying on the floor.

It feels hopeless but we can’t believe it is.
We knew the system would let us down but we must believe in a way to move forward, a better way.

Justice for Breonna Taylor.
Black lives matter.

Go easy on your friends and coworkers and family. The news cycle has been so much, and barely anyone has escaped untouched.
Go easy on yourself, too. Show yourself some compassion, it’ll serve you better in the long run.

If you need something pure and wholesome to put a small smile on your face through all this, please enjoy this compilation of ducklings wearing flowers as hats.

My Pandemic Routine & Comfort Levels

Happy autumnal equinox!

seasonal fall GIF

Today marks the first day of (astronomical) fall for the northern hemisphere and we are feeling it in the northeast US. Now that the smoke from the west coast wildfires has mostly cleared, the air is cooler, crisper. We are able to start keeping our windows open during the workday, like we did at the beginning of quarantine.

But it also means that our daylight hours are getting shorter, which we have not really had to experience since before quarantine. We have been taking stock of where New York City stands with coronavirus and trying to determine what level of comfort we have with things like seeing friends, going to reopened gyms, and more.

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Happy autumnal equinox 🍁 Changing things up a little for equinox this year with a selfie I just took in the sunniest corner of my apartment instead of a nature photo for 2 reasons: 1) I wanted to share what it looks like when I go outside with a mask. Right now, this happens once a week, so I haven't seen the need to buy cute, reusable masks yet, since I venture outside so rarely. Wearing a mask is still one of the number one things we should be doing to curb the spread of coronavirus. 2) My extreme resistance to posting selfies stems from a deep fear of my own vanity. I don't even consider selfies vain but I know mine feel rooted in it. I'm really vain and I work actively to suppress that part of myself, among others. I am coming around to the idea that maybe I should try to reduce my vanity rather than just stifle it, since my social media makes clear I'm not actually less vain… I originally was going to make it my monthly challenge this month, to take a selfie every day, but I chickened out when the month suddenly started. But one thought I've had all year is that I should not be so apologetic for who I am, even for the parts of me that I want to change. So here's my face, partially at least. If you're still here, how are you getting ready for the colder months? We haven't spent much of quarantine with fewer daylight hours than nighttime hours, and with both schools reopening and indoor dining resuming next week , I'm really nervous. I also don't know how to mentally prepare not to see my family for peak festive, family gathering season, from Mid-Autumn Festival through to Lunar New Year…

A post shared by Starr ⭐ (@sipofstarrshine) on

Schools are set to reopen and indoor dining is set to resume next week in New York. If the city isn’t bracing for another wave of cases, we certainly are here in my household. In fact, we are trying to prepare by making sure we have supplies that we may need, since we were only just able to get through the first wave.

Here’s where we stand right now and what we’re thinking about as the cold months set in:

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