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Tag: Education

Resolutions, or: things I hope to accomplish this year.

The word “resolution” is a particularly tricky one, don’t you think? I like to believe that people can make positive and lasting changes at any point in the year, and not just beginning, but it’s still nice to have the psychological condolence of a clean slate.

Reflecting back on the past year, I have to say that with the exception of some terrible events in December, 2012 was an amazing year. I also (for the most part) stuck with the goals I set forth at the beginning of the year. For nostalgia’s sake, let’s revisit them:

1. Write every day
I kind of did this one. As in, wrote every day, but maybe not for myself. Still working on it.
2. Walk every day
I would say I was about 75% successful with this one. But I also got a bike, and so although I wasn’t always walking a lot, I was riding to make up for it.
3. Eat raw in January
Totally rocked this one. I also learned that detoxing in the freezing cold months is probably the worst idea ever.
4. Read 25 books this year
Last year, I read (from beginning to end) 29 books. Plus I started a handful more. And am working through some German ones. So proud of myself.
5. Do more yoga
Hardcore fail. I have P90X Yoga that I will one day, one day start. And YouTube yoga videos are, for the most part, boring and terrible. I think I might need to actually go to a real class here. We’ll see.
6. Worry less
I am constantly working on this. Just ask M. But at least it’s progress.
7. Improve my German
That happened. I still have a ways to go (see below) but I have improved.
8. Take more pictures
I did good with this one, perhaps to the extent of being the annoying person with the camera, mostly taking pictures of food I made on my own. Oh, and the kittens are pretty sick of the flash.

So onto this year. My goals are an extension of last year, but perhaps simplified.

2013 new year sparkler

Finish Mittelstufe, pass the DSH

This probably sounds like code, but it’s really just that I’m getting more specific with my German goals now. I don’t want to “improve my German.” Instead, I want to finish B2.2 (currently underway), then take C1, and then be done with classes. Depending on necessity, I might take the DSH, but that’s only if I feel extra motivated, or a university requires it. Otherwise, I will be happy being a “proficient user” of German by my own standards of progress. More practically, for me that means increasing my vocabulary so that I can speak as well as I can understand. All in due time…

Read more books

I am being vague here on purpose. Last year’s 25 books was a good target and I am glad I surpassed it. But I don’t want to put that much pressure on myself, so I won’t say that now I need to read 30, or 50, or whatever. Instead, I want to read as many, or more, as last year.

Start on a Ph.D.

This goal is a bit dependent on a few things, namely me being accepted to a program. This month, I have applied to two doctorate programs here in Berlin, so thumbs pressed, fingers crossed. The next step would be a callback and interview in April. Assuming that happens and goes well, I would begin in October. If accepted, I begin a three-year program toward my degree. If not accepted, I have to nurse my intellectual wounds with some bubble baths and wine and then start searching out a sponsor who will “take on” my project. This may actually be more difficult, since I will have more free time but not get paid to do my research and have to continue working full-time as I do now. But I am getting ahead of myself. There is only so much I can do, so I am just putting this desire out into the universe because, well, why not?

Get married

I realize there may be some people who read this and think I am either crazy or a total jerk, and the truth is, it’s the latter. To those I haven’t told in person yet, I am getting married in August, and I’m sorry you had to find out this way. But then again, maybe not really, because if we were close friends, I would have already seen you or told you. Planning-wise, we have a date set, we have a venue, we have family and friends flying out, we have a photographer chosen, and we are currently looking at rings, but there is still a lot to do. And so while it’s a solid given that I will get married this year, let’s make it so this doesn’t sound like a total cop-out. Let me be specific: I want to get married but have it be as unstressful as possible, always reminding myself that it’s not about the details in the end but rather about M., and about me, and about our decision to continue being awesome together. And I want to love planning these things together, and come up with a wedding that truly reflects us, and to not only have a fantastic time the day of with our closest people, but always. And I am lucky, as M. makes it easy to see the good in my life.

Be healthier 

This one is vague but absolutely multi-faceted. I am already vegan, so I eat relatively healthy about 90% of the time. But I want to up the ante. This includes eating less processed foods and more “clean” ones. It also entails buying groceries fresh, on a daily or every-other-day basis. I know some people think going shopping once every week instead of every day is simplifying things, but for me, there is a simple kind of joy involved in planning a meal and picking out the ingredients that day to spend an hour or two preparing and eating. (Admission: having a new kitchen also helps make that process more enjoyable.) I also have been counting calories and making smarter food choices, which is part of my “getting fit” aspect of this goal. I am relatively confident with my body image but know I can do better, be happier, and have more energy. My personal goal is that I would like to lose 30 pounds (of fat, mind you, not muscle) by the wedding, which I  find is entirely doable with a combination of cleaner eating and working out. I am not dieting, but rather eating good food, drinking lots and lots of water, cutting out most of my alcohol consumption, sleeping well, and using workouts as an outlet for my stress, worry, and other problems. Right now I am working out about 4 days a week, and anywhere between 3 and 5 is my goal, with a combination of mostly cardio and strength training. And I am doing this slowly but habitually, in the hopes that it will become a permanent lifestyle change. But again, it’s not hard, because the way I feel is a definite reward.

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