2017 Non-Resolutions

As long it’s still January, we can still talk about goals for the coming year, right? I’m deliberately not saying ‘resolutions’, though I’m not actually sure why. Even when I was younger I don’t remember ever really getting on board that particular wagon – maybe I just think it’s unfair that January should have a monopoly on self-improvement. No day like today, right? It just happens to be January… 🙂

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This year, though, one thing is new  – putting my goals down on ‘paper’ and out in the open. Perhaps it’s obvious that my list will include writing and blogging more..! Here goes:

Say No

Perhaps a somewhat negative starting point, but an important one for me. A friend recently told I should refer to my plethora of jobs/volunteering as my ‘portfolio’ of work. I like it and intend to adopt it, but it’s still a nice way of describe one of my chronic problems. It’s not that I intend to overcommit, but I get excited about things and tend to agree to contribute to interesting new projects without calculating how much time I actually have. I think it’s also a reaction to uncertainty – if I just reach out in all directions, maybe I’ll actually grab something good.
On the other hand, I’m finally internalising what all the internet gurus say (or at least, Steve Jobs – he seems trustworthy, right?) – that focusing on too many things is not the way to achieve quality work.

This goes along with the next item, which is to be more deliberate with how I spend my time.

Relax – One Day at a Time

I’m sure it comes as no surprise to those who know me that I am somewhat ‘high strung’ (not a descriptor I would have chosen, but when it comes from Mom, it’s probably accurate). A huge combination of factors means that I am generally anxious and worry about everything, without good reason. To be fair, there are a lot of anxiety-inducing things going on these days, but there are also a lot of wonderful things in my life.
This year, I want to take things a little more slowly – focus on the day-to-day, all the things that are good, and channel my energy deliberately into making the not-so-good better. One of my favourite pieces of advice that I dole out liberally but seem incapable of taking myself:

‘Eat your elephant in small chunks.’

Learn to Feel at Home

There is certainly a theme to these goals so far – this one clearly derives from trying to be more relaxed and content with where I am right now. I think being semi-nomadic for the last nearly ten (!!!) years has created something of a paradox – addiction to being able to travel and see ‘my people’ across the world, paired with a deep longing for a stable base and a safe space that I can come back to.

This seems fairly reasonable to some extent, except that I’m not very good at, as above, being content with the present moment. Honestly, there is a lot that I would change if I had the magical capability – BUT my well-practiced ability to second guess and doubt also limits how much I appreciate what I have. And that helps no one.

Read/Write

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Some of last year’s picks

Surprise surprise. This year I want to read more. Last year I read 21 books, and this year I hope to reach at least 30. (I think in 2015 I had set a goal of 50, thinking, eh I read all the time, of course I’ll reach 50! No.. Of course, I choose beasts like The Count of Monte Cristo and The Goldfinch, which doesn’t help.) I also want to write out my thoughts and share them here – accountability! You can also follow me on Goodreads (let’s be friends!) to see how I’m getting on – so far I’ve read two!

Along with reading, this year I really want to write more, hence this post… I’ve worked out an editorial schedule for my blog, and will be aiming to post at least once a week, if not more. At this point, I’m thinking of sharing a combination of ‘travel log’ style posts, with photos and recaps from various adventures, ‘around Athens’ with snapshots of daily life, a round up of interesting things I’ve been reading/I’ve written elsewhere, and perhaps even a recipe or two(!). Stay tuned – and please let me know if there’s anything in particular you’d like to see in this space!

Practice Languages

Living in Greece has, unsurprisingly, been very good for my Greek. That being said, I’m not as deliberate as I would like to be in noting unknown words, practicing, asking questions, etc. One habit I’ve gone back and forth with is reading a daily Greek e-newsletter that I love, AthiNEA, and making a point of recording any words I don’t know, and then practicing them.
Also, Greek has, understandably, replaced all the other languages I (once) had floating around in my head, and I want to snatch them back before they escape for good! So – French, Arabic and Turkish are (somehow) coming back!

Wear my Glasses

Note to self – everything is better when you can see clearly!

Run 3rd Half Marathon

Also self-explanatory. The Athens Half-Marathon is 19 March this year – the same race I did last year where I had a great run. Hopefully a new training plan plus ongoing yoga will allow for a similar experience! If it goes well, the ‘Poseidon’ Half Marathon is the following month. That was my first half marathon  and although I finished, it was not pretty. I’d love to run it again in better shape this year.

Cook

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Note – I did not make this food. I did eat most of it though 🙂

Well, I cook often enough at home, but it’s also become increasingly clear to me that a) I find it super relaxing and soothing and b) I love to feed people. (Neither of these are new developments). So, I’m going to try and share at least one ‘food blogger’ type post a month, just to give myself a bar to reach. I learned through writing for theTravelPorter that actually, all it takes is a deadline. After years of studying, I was convinced I was stuck in a state of writers’ block, and though I was feeling creative, I just wasn’t getting anything out there. But then.. I became a content producing machine. Apparently it’s possible!

 

Those are my rambles for now – I’ve read a lot of ‘blogging advice’ that suggests choosing one ‘genre’ to focus on. At the same time, bloggers are often urged to stay loyal to their own ‘authentic voice.’ Since it’s unlikely I’ll turn into a ‘real blogger’ any time soon, this space is going to continue to represent the diverse and colourful mess that is my life. I hope you’ll follow along!

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5 thoughts on “2017 Non-Resolutions

  1. Laurie Poseidon says:

    No one will take the time or effort to “grade” you on whether you kept up your goals or not. They certainly aren’t things to beat yourself up with but probably general directions to hold onto when it feels like you are uncertain of what you are doing. Seems to me 2016 saw you making big steps on things that are important to you. Rome wasn’t built in a year (or maybe the elephant wasn’t eaten in 6 months). Perhaps one of the best things that comes with getting old is you get more patient with yourself. Being impatient doesn’t really help you get where you want to be more quickly, I believe. Finally, I am amazed at how much your Greek has improved. I can’t judge your level, but I am amazed at the things you can do. I said just yesterday, “Can’t believe she is reading all these things in Greek and then summarizing them in English.” That requires tremendous ability and a whole set of skills. “Bright cookie,” says WH. I have some idea of how many directions you go and I am amazed that you aren’t more exhausted. Just keeping track of what’s going on in all your different pathways. My goal: manage to squeeze in a little more real quality time with you when we can. Don’t want to add to the stress.

    • Thanks Theia! What a sweet comment 🙂 I think I should have included in here ‘be more gentle with myself,’ which although I didn’t write it down, I do actually intend to do that. In some ways, giving myself directions and guidelines actually helps – it makes me feel like I can take my hands off the wheel sometimes a just coast. I’ve already learned that there’s no point in pushing myself to try and do absolutely everything, it just doesn’t work! Will call you to at least catch up and try to arrange to see you soon. Miss you! xxx

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