In case you are not on any of my social media and just follow my blogs, HAPPY NEW YEAR! Let’s make 2018 an awesome one.
I don’t really care to do resolutions, per se, at least not at the start of the year. I know this is the opportunity to make those changes you’ve been telling yourself for the past 11 months that you’ve got to do. They’ve been playing at the back of your mind as things you should do, but when? There are other, more important stuffs running about that brain of yours.
Like where you’re going to have lunch or what movie you’re going to see.
You can get to those important but not pressing things later. Afterall, holding off a few days, a week, a month, it’s not going to hurt anything. You’ve always got tomorrow.
But then the calendar flips, and you’re staring at a new year, and all those things you wanted to do last year come to the fore of your brain, demanding the attention you had promised but had neglected. So you make resolutions, and by golly you stick with them this time!
At least for a couple of weeks.
Then one by one, they start to drift to the sidelines once more. It can hold a few days.
Before you know it, it’ll be 2019.
I was tired of doing this. Tired of promising myself “This year is going to be different,” “This year is going to be better.”
This really started for me in July of 2014.
I was going through a nasty depression. I had left my job to pursue other avenues, and those avenues closed to me leaving me unemployed. I had been looking for work for a couple of months, and I kept hearing “overqualified” everywhere I looked. At one point, someone suggested that I move to a larger city – that my skills were at too high a level for Springfield, and the positions I qualified for did not open very often. If I would just move to Kansas City or St. Louis, I would find gainful employment within a week. Easily.
I didn’t like that answer.
I had my house, my son, my sister, my friends, my son’s friends…. those things were in Springfield. Devlin still had a few years left before he would graduate, and I wanted him to finish schooling with the people he had started in kindergarten with as that’s something I never had (we moved around a LOT as a kid).
There were days I could barley get out of bed or eat.
But I kept looking, kept fighting, kept trying to simply keep my head above water, not only for myself, but for my son. It was hard. Those three words cannot begin to communicate to you how desperate this time in my life was. How frightened and alone I felt. How desperate I was to protect my child.
A dear friend of mine – Rachael (my favorite redhead) – was on her way to the beach, and had called me from the airport because layovers are boring and long. I asked for a cutie cabana boy (because that’s what you do whenever your friend is going to some amazing place without you – you ask for souvenir!). We chatted, and the conversation turned. My friend knew that I had lately been becoming more and more interested in Korea and that I was more and more miserable here, even if she didn’t know the details.
In a burst of frustration, my friend sighed at me. “Why don’t you just move to Korea and teach English or something, Elena?”
“Because that’s not a thing…”
“God, you’re a dumbass… Yeah, it is.”
I started looking into it, and whaddya know, it is a thing! So I started planning. I had always wanted to travel the world, to see what else was out there, and this would be one way to do it.
This planning helped pull me from that dark depression. I knew I could leave yet – not while my boy was in school. I wanted him to have some of the opportunities I never had, so I knew I had to stick around three more years, but with a plan in hand and a light at the end of the tunnel, I could move forward.
I ended up going back to my previous place of employment, knowing what was coming in just a few short years. I started saving up money, paying off (some) debt. I worked on getting my TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certification, and even remodeled my house since I knew my son was going to be staying there while I was abroad.
Adventure drove me, but there was a bigger goal behind all of it.
Since I was in fourth grade, I had wanted to be a writer. I had continued to practice my craft, writing shorts, coming up with epic stories, only some of which made it to paper, but the majority of it was lost to the back of my mind. For me to do in a few days. A week. A month…
But the whole foundation of me taking a position abroad would be to write more, to focus on it. I had been making excuses long enough as to why it wasn’t happening. However, if I was going to go abroad to write, should I be starting that now? To actually get something done?
In August of 2014, I buckled down and knocked out the rough draft of Wake Up Call. I did this solely for myself. To prove that I could finish a writing project. I didn’t expect it to be any good, and when I discovered it was… that, too, opened a whole new world to me, and along with my plan to go abroad, I was refreshed and ready to face the world.
So what was the point of all of this, and how does it have anything to do with welcoming in the new year?
Well, I reach out to you now from Dalian, China. It’s not Korea, but it’s a step closer to that, and I will be visiting that country, too, in the next few months. Right now, I’m working on my MBA and working as a graduate teaching assistant for a semester in Dalian is helping to pay for said advanced degree.
By the way, I made THAT decision to go for the degree and come to China at the end of February of 2017.
What I’m saying, my darlings, is don’t wait.
Decide NOW whatever it is that you want, you need, to make you happy, and start taking steps in that direction. Let all of your actions, all of your decisions, be towards that one goal, whatever that goal may be.
If you want to write, sit down in front of your laptop or with a paper and pen – whatever floats your boat. Start researching, outlining, writing. Don’t worry about whether or not it’ll be awful – I guarantee it will. But start practicing, start putting your mind to it. Make it a habit. Do it now, and stick with it. You’ll get better. And worst case? That’s what editing is for.
If you want to get fit, then do it! Start walking or lifting weights, push ups or crunches. Do a little bit every day. One foot in front of the other. If walking those two blocks leaves you out of breath and you have to stop, that’s fine. You’re getting further than you were doing last week. Push yourself just one step further before you have to stop to breathe. Go one rep longer. Do one extra push up when you feel you can’t do any more.
A new language? They’ve got apps for that! Download one, and start with one word. Are you awful? That’s fine. That’s what practice is for.
Overcoming a phobia? Try to get that much closer to whatever scares you. Just one, tiny inch. Then come back tomorrow and try again.
Healthy living, art, education, living.
It won’t happen tomorrow – trust me when I say I wish it could!! You have to push yourselves, my darling, and if you put it off that few days, that week, that month… It’s never going to happen.
And you can do this any time. You didn’t have to wait for January to start this. But if you did? Then don’t stop. One foot in front of the other. you’ve got this, and you can make it cross the finish line. It may take a bit, but don’t give up on yourself.
If it was worth a resolution, it was worth you sticking to it.
If you didn’t make any resolutions? Again, more than fine. I tend to make my life changing decisions in any other month NOT in January. Think carefully of what you actually want.
You’ve got this.
Now let’s show 2018 what we’re all made of!