We know that in September, we will wander through the warm winds of summer’s wreckage. We will welcome summer’s ghost
– Henry Rollins
Can you believe it’s the first of September already? It’s been said time and time again, that time has felt even stranger during this pandemic than usual, but August truly sped by. It feels like just yesterday I was lamenting how quickly July was coming to an end and now it’s September!
Even though September is still firmly a summer month, and everyone rushes into cozy fall feels, the heat wave breaking in New York has been a palpable relief. I have been on a little staycation this past week, and allowing myself to venture outside of my apartment to enjoy and support my city. The weather has been excruciatingly beautiful the entire time and I could not be more grateful for it. These fresh breezes really add to the feeling that I’m at another fresh start, another new page, that I arbitrarily feel at the beginning of the year, the beginning of each month, and even the beginning of each week.
We made it to a new decade! Send me your discount codes and deals for laser eye surgery, I am prepared for 2020 jokes for the next 366 days.
This also means it’s that time again! As December winds down, I actually start feeling a bit of pressure to be intentional with my annual goals, but I also really look forward to it. I think it’s because I am taking the time to think about what kind of person I want to be and what specific ways I can become that person, even if some of the changes are harder to quantify. While I don’t have a great track record of accomplishing many of my resolutions, I like setting them at the beginning of the year as a way to guide my intentions for the rest of the year, to gently nudge myself towards who I want to be.
I really liked my resolutions from last year, even though I wasn’t great about keeping them, so a lot of them will carry over this year. I was also really inspired by Rachel Miller‘s Q4 resolutions and will be incorporating many of those as goals for the year as well.
2019 was such a big year for me, but with so much in transition, I am ready for take on 2020 with a lot more intention. There are a few big themes for my resolutions this year:
Improve my relationships. 2019 was a big year for my relationship with my significant other, and I want to continue working on that relationship as we come up on one year of marriage. Being very focused on that relationship did come at the expense of many of my other relationships, especially because I moved away from my friends and family that I was spending time with. I’d like to shift some of my relational energy back to my network. I also want to be able to let go of grudges and people who have drifted out of my life for one reason or another.
Let myself feel at home in New York. Partly because I was so busy with the wedding and maybe partly because I unconsciously was afraid to put down roots in case something happened and I would have to leave, I haven’t really felt like I have become a New York resident. I still have boxes! My dressers are still in the state they were when I hurriedly threw clothing into them so that I could try to reduce the number of boxes. We have yet to replace the furniture that was damaged during our move. And I haven’t done most of the things I was so excited to do upon moving here. Even little things like not scheduling doctor’s appointments here yet (which is something I often advise people to do, so I’m a hypocrite for not doing so as well). That changes this year, and it will require a lot of energy and effort but it changes this year.
Of course, improving myself is the big theme of all resolutions and goals, isn’t it? I am going to work on things that will make me healthier physically but also mentally. Not get in my way so much. Not be so afraid of failing… or of succeeding? Not letting my need for control be a facet of my personality.
Although I am not Catholic, I have been observing Lent in my own way for the past few years. Lent is the third time at the beginning of the year that I check in on how I am doing with my self-improvement (with my New Year’s resolutions and Chinese New Year reflections being the first two). I take a look at a bad habit that I really want to address and abstain from it. Completely.
What started as a show of solidarity with my Catholic friends has become an honest admission of a bad habit I have and a commitment to doing something about it in a way that works for how I motivate myself.
This year, I am giving up mindless social media scrolling. While I wish I could give up social media altogether, like I did back in 2011, the main reason I’m not doing so this year is that many of my friendships are sustained via touches on social media. Sending memes and animal videos is a big part of maintaining friendships in this day and age, and more so now that I’ve moved to New York and am unable to see most of my close friends in person anymore. I also find a lot of my conversations with friends happening in Direct Messages in a social media application that I’m extremely hesitant to ghost on.
The problem with how I use social media isn’t that I have conversation threads with people across multiple apps. The biggest problem isn’t even my likes-chasing when I post content. (But that is a problem.)
It’s the zombified state I fall into when I’m scrolling my feed just to scroll. It feels almost like I’m dissociating; I am numb and barely thinking when I scroll Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I am just grazing on information, registering it the minimum amount, and still draining myself a bit mentally. I don’t feel good when I do this, and my partner actually has to physically separate me from my phone when I get in the zone scrolling. (To attempt to put a positive spin on this: I no longer have to have my laptop shut on my dissociative Tumblr-scrolling days anymore…)
My rules for using social media during Lent will be:
No scrolling at all if/when I open a social media site: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram in particular, and includes autoplaying Instagram Stories
No searching for content to discover, in particular Twitter Moments and Instagram Explore
I am still permitted to post original content myself: posts, stories, tweets
I am still permitted to interact with friends in Direct Messages
I am still allowed to interact with friends’ content, but I can only discover that content intentionally
E.g. I wonder how my friend X is doing with their new cat, let me check their Instagram to see!
If, when I go to X’s profile, I see that they have also posted a Story, I can check that out
The big rule is NO SCROLLING. And if I keep posting content myself (like for the March Disneybound Challenge, which I’m barely doing, or my arbitrarily started March Mask Challenge), NO CHECKING for digital approval. The big goal is to use social media with intention, to close the app not feeling like a shell of a person but more connected with my friends, both my IRL friends and the Internet friends I only have because of these apps.
TL;DR This year, I am giving up mindless social media scrolling for Lent.
Many of my friends also like to incorporate an additive practice to Lent, taking this time to not just abstain from a bad habit but also to embrace a good habit they would like to practice more. One of my co-workers even does “Reverse Lent”, which is based on this concept and culminates with him and his friends sharing what they have added to their lives at the end: many pies baked, a long-neglected room finally painted, a blanket that was knitted over the course of the Lenten period.
So, in that vein, I will attempt to do some additive practices this year as well. My goal-setting may be getting a bit ambitious here, but I am much better at rising to a challenge for a finite amount of time than I am with keeping my resolutions, so it’s worth a try! I will be trying to work out every day of Lent. (Whether I will use those Sundays that Catholics typically do not include in the Lenten period as rest days remains to be seen…) As a backup goal, I will also be committing to doing my skincare every day of Lent. I tend to fall into a lazy routine of just splashing water on my face and slapping on SPF in the morning or moisturizer at night, but I want my skin to look great on my wedding day and I know I have the tools to make that happen. Plus, it’s good for me to take some time and do a routine, to step out of my thoughts and pat my face and do something for the sake of being kind to myself.
Are you observing Lent?
Is there anything you think you could cut back on, and if so, would you do better with moderation or abstinence? How are you doing with any goals/intentions you’ve set for yourself for this year?
Where would this blog be without my ambitious annual resolutions posts? As much pressure as I put on myself with both publishing them and trying to keep them, I truly do look forward to writing them and love looking back on them.
With the setbacks I dealt with this year, it was very disheartening to realize I was not keeping my resolutions that I was so excited about at the beginning of the year. Still, in light of all the good that happened, despite all the bad, I have to just dust myself off and try again.
Here’s the short and simple list of resolutions I will be keeping in 2019, with my long-winded explanations to come in a follow-up post later this month. I’ll try update this list at the end of year to see how I did with these resolutions, too!
(Note: I would like to add a little more polish to this post as well, so stay tuned for some spiffing up here and there.)Read More »
It may be halfway through January already (?!) but it’s never too late to set resolutions and intentions for the year! My most cumbersome but most personally valuable posts on this blog are my beginning- and end-of-year blogs, with the resolutions post kicking off the year with ways I can bring myself closer to the person I want to be.
Last year’s resolutions focused a lot around making concrete plans to do things that I’ve been making resolutions for over the past several years. I didn’t check all those boxes off, but I know that specific goals are easier for me to achieve than vague ones. By the end of 2017, I found myself formulating new concrete goals, some of which were not even considerations at the beginning of the year. Here are the ways I aim to improve myself in 2018…Read More »