2013 in Review

I realize I’m 10 days late with this, but it’s still important to reflect, so here it goes. Last year, I fell short on some of my goals, but I also accomplished a lot, so I’d say that depending on how you look at it, it actually evens out pretty well. But let’s go through the goals 1 by 1 from last year:

1. Read at least 25 books

I read 15. Half of my goal isn’t horrible, but definitely not good enough. It’s easy to let excuses like work and grading get in the way, but when I think back to how I managed to read so much during grad school, despite classes and a thesis, I just can’t justify reading only 15 books–especially as an English teacher. So this year it changes. It has to.

2. Write at least 10o blog posts

Well that didn’t happen, but I did write a lot more this year. I may not have final drafts of my new stories, but NaNoWriMo really helped me kick-start my writing habit again. And I may not have written a novel, but I was able to start a collection of short stories about my adventures in Turkey. Why not use my travel as inspiration? I can’t wait to write more this year.

3. Submit at least 3 things for publishing

Nope. Didn’t submit one. We’ll have to reevaluate this goal because I’ve failed majorly two years in a row.

4. Challenge myself more/actively continue my learning

Done and done. Last year I applied to two PhD programs and didn’t get into either, but that’s ok. Life presented me with other opportunities. I moved into my own apartment this year  and living in a foreign country on your own is one of the best and worst kinds of challenges. Not to mention, I’ve been learning more Turkish, refreshing my German, taking dance lessons, and reevaluating what I want out of life. This past year was a great year for spiritual growth and though it had some rough patches, it was amazing in so many ways. I’ve learned a lot about myself, about my capabilities, and about where I want to be. Also check. Living on my own has helped me realize what’s there for me. In my second year in Istanbul, I’m still learning new things everyday. I’m using this chance to travel and learn and get as many experiences out of it as I can.

So now the time comes for my goals for 2013.

Continue writing about my adventures. Hell, just continue writing.

I’d forgotten what an amazing feeling it is to lose yourself in a piece of writing and I don’t want to forget that feeling again. This year, I’m going to forget about submitting anything and just concentrate on actually writing it first.

Read at least 25 books

I will do it this year! I will!

Be healthier

As  I get older, I realize how fragile we are. True, I’m not exactly old, but in the past year I’ve had bronchitis, two intestinal infections, and a sprained wrist just from slipping on ice. Not to mention numerous colds and allergy related annoyances. So this year I am going to take more time and pay more attention to my health–physical, spiritual, and emotional. If I’m sick, no more staying up late to grade. If I’m feeling lazy, no more staying inside all day. If I’m upset, no more dwelling on negative things. This year will be happy and healthy, dammit.

Get a job back in the States

My plan is to move back this summer, so Inshallah (God willing as they say in Turkish), I’m able to do so. Applications start this weekend.


I would include continue learning and challenging myself, but I think that at this point, they should just be givens. Hopefully this is something I’ll continue doing no mater what.



Checking off the list

February presented me with a few technical difficulties (thus the low number of posts this month), but now I should be back up and running. Since we’re almost three months in to the New Year, I thought it would be a good time to evaluate the progress of some of my goals. (Some are certainly coming along better than others.)

The one that is constantly on my mind is the 30 books this year–no excuses. I’ve read two books total and gotten halfway through about three more. I need to pick one and finish it because 30 books in a year requires at least two a month. We’ll see how the next couple weeks pan out.

However, I am living up to some of the other goals quite well. I’ve reached almost 60 posts, so that’s going well. And I’ve been challenging myself more and having adventures. For the challenge, I’ve hired a personal trainer named Tristan. Let’s just say that I feel good about going to my training sessions, but I don’t feel so good immediately after going to the sessions. They only remind me how I need to work harder.

One of my most recent adventures includes a weekend trip to New Mexico to visit a friend from high school. I’d never been to NM and now I’ve only got one of the four corners left to check off the list. In addition to going somewhere I’ve never been, I also added new experiences to the list.

My friends and I went hiking in the snow (a first for me) and then went to the local hot springs (another first) where it started to (surprise, surprise) snow while we were there. Never in my life did I think I would be outside in a bikini in the snow, but there I was and it was awesome. We also visited Santa Fe while we were in  the area, but I was unable to find Jack Kelly while I was there. Maybe next time…