Hi, it’s me again. Like many things, I had wanted to be a bit more active on here than I have been of course. With the start of a new job, a new apartment, and just a new start on life, things have been more than a bit crazy!
I had told myself that this year would be the first year for me to write my own Christmas card/letter. In fact, I actually have a solid two-page draft on my laptop. And then I thought about this thing called postage and decided that I should probably save my money this year. As you might remember from previous years’ posts, I am not much one for this “new year, new me” business, but I am all about the resolutions…for the most part. 2018 brought a lot of ups and downs for me, many of which I have mentioned here. It brought me a new love of my life via sourdough bread baking. Thanks again Abby for pushing me to do this, despite you killing every one of our bread babies together. I have decided to continue this idea of a baking resolution each year, and in 2019, I have decided to tackle the croissant! Pray for me as I enter this new exploration into buttery, flaky, and crispy layers of this French confection. I’ve already bought the next size up in my favorite sweatpants in case the old ones start to get a little tight. Just kidding!
When I think about 2018, I hate to say it, but I feel like my own graduation from my master’s program somehow got overshadowed by the overwhelming feelings of ‘what’s next.’ At the time, I was thinking, “Great, I’ve got this master’s degree, now what?” Ph.D programs went south. I had no job. I was moving back home to Modesto. Holy cow, my quarter-life crisis came much earlier than I had anticipated. Combine this with the constant desire to check social media, of all platforms, and see your friends studying/traveling abroad, eating croissants in Paris, sitting on the beaches of Hawaii, or exploring some unchartered territory that I had only ever dreamed of visiting myself. It wasn’t until later this year that I decided to delete social media from my phone completely. I completed deleted both my Snapchat and Twitter accounts and decided that I would only check Facebook and Instagram on my iPad when I got home each day. Yes, the withdrawals did happen, but I found myself spending more time reading the news or catching up on a tv show or even simply making my bed each day. I am both excited and proud of myself for taking this step to rid myself of the depression that happens when you mindlessly scroll through social media, seeing people do the things that your financial situation prevents you from doing yourself.
I want to clarify something I wrote above. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to study at Cal Poly and get my master’s. In fact, I am even more proud of the fact that I graduated with distinction in a master’s program that truly challenged every piece of my existence. I absolutely fell in love with the research I conducted for my quasi-thesis and hope to continue this exploration in future studies as well.
As I continue to examine the last twelve months, I keep stumbling upon one thing that really seems to stick out. I ask myself, “What brought you the most joy this year?” The answer to this question for me really is quite easy. I am most joyful when I bring joy to other people, in a variety of different ways. Whether it’s making dinner for close friends or baking for my office every Monday, I am most happy when I am able to bring others happiness and joy as well. It is something that I get from both my mom and grandmother. In fact, I realize that my grandmother, even in her early eighties, is constantly going out of her way to help people every day, and at first, I could not figure out why she does this. And then I realized where I got it from. I do the same things she does for the same exact reason. That is one, of several things, of which I am most grateful to have inherited from my mom and grandmother–their selfless giving is paralleled by no other human being that I know (except maybe Jesus of course).
Like I said earlier, 2018 was tough for so many reasons. I find myself worried about finances more than I ever have. When you do a job that you love but one that doesn’t pay all that well, you find yourself cutting back, doing less to really make ends meet. Combine that with a solid $64k in student loan debt, and you really start to reexamine things. I hate to say that this is what I now constantly focus on, but I guess that is part fo the growing up process? I mean, if you know anybody with an extra $64k lying around, feel free to send me a message. I imagine the ad in a newspaper would look something like this:
WANTED: $64,000 to pay off a good human’s student loan debt, someone who wants to actively change the world by bringing joy to others in a variety of ways without asking for anything in return
Sounds pretty good, right? Who knows…maybe I’ll win the Powerball this year or something.
As I start the new year, I really hope to achieve the following. Sometimes, I really hate bullet lists, but for some reason, it’s like writing your grocery list down, instead of just trying to remember it for memory. I hope that this serves as my reminder throughout the year, and maybe even quite possibly, the extra push you needed to get your list started too:
- Make your bed. Every day. It looks good, and it feels good when you pull back those covers every night.
- Worry less–about your future and your finances. Money is just money, right?
- Make croissants…for a gazillion different reasons.
- Eat healthier, and by eat healthier, I mean more fresh ingredients, more fresh vegetables. Experiment. Maybe even eat more kale. Thank Amanda for this because she makes the best kale.
- Write more. On here and on paper. With that being said, write more letters and cards and postcards.
- Your hard work will pay off. I know you feel like you’re not living up to your full potential, but you will! It will happen soon enough. You will have your “big break!”
- Go outside more. Sit outside more. Read your book outside more. Just be outside, and enjoy the pretty views.
- Do more of the things you say you’ve always wanted to do.
- Remind your friends of how much you love them. That’s important, and they need to be reminded, even if they say they don’t.
- Savor the moment. Live in it more. Don’t be constantly concerned about what is coming or happening next. You’re in it right now. Stay there.
Enjoy the night. Enjoy 2019. But most of all, enjoy each other, today and always.
be kind to one another.