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.

 

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Not necessarily new, but always improved

I’ve always had mixed feelings about New Year’s resolutions. Until March they seem like such a good idea, and then they are forgotten again until December. In leadership training, they teach you about SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely) goals and I try to keep that in mind when making plans for a new year or new beginning. The problem is that when I sit down to make new year’s resolutions, I am determined to keep them as they are throughout the entire year, but they usually end up adjusted to lack of time or dedication. So two years ago, I made two absolute resolutions: 1. I would no longer call them resolutions, but goals or life changes and 2. I would make ones that were well thought out so that I could ABSOLUTELY stick to them. Two years later, I have stuck to 95% of the goals I’ve made and though I’m still aiming for that 100%, it’s better than I was doing before.

And now the time has come, my friends, to talk of new beginnings. Though I have kept some for myself, I thought I could share some goals for 2012. I would wish all of you luck in your goals and changes for the future, but I’ve realized it takes a lot more than that. So instead, I wish you constant determination and may you not lose sight of what you really want, or in most cases, what you really need.

Goals for 2012:

Read at least 30 books

When I was younger, I was that kid with a book behind my textbook at school. I was grounded from reading because my chores wouldn’t get done and my books were confiscated before my video games or tv privileges, because those simply didn’t mean as much. When I was in school, obviously I read plenty for class, but between class and work and researching, I was lucky to read ten books for pleasure. Younger Tessa would be disappointed. I’ve always been the girl with an extra book in her bag, but this year those books will be rotated more, no matter what’s going on in my life. No excuses, play like a champion.

Write at least 10 short stories

As with the reading goal, I’ve allowed myself to let excuses of little time or other priorities to take over and my reading and writing have fallen to the back burner. No more, I say. Now that I’m not in class, it’s time learn how to motivate myself. And after the fail of NaNoWriMo, I really need to step up my game.

Submit at least three things for publishing

This is simply for an adventure. I’ve only submitted a few things—partially because of fear of rejection and partially because I wasn’t really sure how to. It’s time to get over that.

Move to Istanbul

I’ve been trying to move abroad for three years now and each time has fallen through because of something, but I feel good about this year. I’ve ordered the Turkish Rosetta Stone, done my research of schools and jobs, made my connections, and am determined to go somewhere. Maybe one day I’ll get to Germany or back to London, but for now I want to step outside of my box. By September, I plan to be updating y’all on my Turkish adventures!

Get up to at least 200 blog posts

The first time I tried blogging, it did not go so well. Perhaps that’s the wrong pronoun. I did not do so well. However, that has changed. I’ve finally gotten into the swing of things and since October have hit about 50 posts. Goal attained? Check. Now it’s time to set the bar higher. I have 365 days to get in 200 blog posts. Done and done.

Challenge myself more

Part of this process is realizing what things I need to change and I have noticed recently that while I set the bar high for many aspects of my life, I will allow myself to stop once I reach that bar instead of going beyond it. Whether it is learning a certain skill, exercising, doing tasks at work, traveling, or what have you, I want to go beyond not only the expectations of others, but what I expect of myself. I want to feel challenged and I shouldn’t have to wait for someone else to challenge me.

Have adventures and try new things

This is a constant with me. There are so many things in this world that it is impossible to go and try all of them in one lifetime. However, it is possible to try something new every day (or at least every week). It can be something little, like trying new foods, or something big, like climbing a 14’er. Whatever it is, I need to not only improve on what I’ve already done, but continue to try things I haven’t done.

Take advantage of what’s available to me

I just moved to Colorado in August and since I plan on moving to Turkey this coming August or September, I need to have as many Coloradan adventures while I can. While I’m here, I might as well try snowboarding, hiking in the Rockies, going to a Baseball game, trying the local breweries, etc. I’m close to CA and have never been, so why not take a road trip? Growing up an Army brat, I learned that you have to make the best of wherever you are, because it always has something to offer.

Happy New Year!!!

No matter the troubles or struggles you might encounter in the new year (for there will always be some), my hope is that you make the most of every situation in order to not only overcome, but enjoy what life has to offer.