Jennifer A. Chin (cswallow) wrote,
Jennifer A. Chin

New Year's Resolutions

As the clock passed into the new year, I stood with beautiful people from all over the country, holding our phones up to record the moment of the ball dropping, too overwhelmed by the moment to drink it fully in.

A kiss from Ben for good luck, and hugs from the friends (old and new) with whom I'd passed eight hours of that chilly New York afternoon and evening. Afterward we quaffed hot chocolate, nibbled cheese and crackers and beef jerky, and laughed at the photos we'd taken of ourselves during the ordeal, drunk on giddiness.

By now, a few friends have asked me what I hope will happen this year. The only thing I've come up with is that I hope my dancing continues to go well. It didn't seem like enough to justify a whole New Year post. But while cruising Facebook today, I ran across a photo that Minh posted a few days before the New Year, where she was making her goals for 2014. Such a simple scene - that pen and paper - but such a vital part of the process of personal growth.

I never used to make resolutions, thinking that every day of every month should be an opportunity to live better. I suppose as I've gotten older, I've come to value the opportunity of making resolutions as a society, and as such, here are mine:

1.  Over break my mom requested that I clean out a stack of papers she'd found in the basement. Half of them were old course packs from my English literature courses at Northwestern. As I flipped through them, I found I could barely understand them anymore. I hope that in this next year, I can make headway in re-reading them. One cannot, I believe, be a writer without also being a reader. I will use this rediscovery of my literary academic side to also become a more regular, better writer.

2.  At the end of last year, I started practicing with an amateur partner, and we are aiming for Nationals. I intend to make the most of this year in pursuing my best dancer self - through practice, lessons, thoughtful analysis, and physical fitness training like yoga, ballet, plyometrics, and other modes of cross-training - while also listening carefully to my body to make sure I am staying well-fed, well-rested, and strong.

3.  Ben's applications to PhD programs are finally in, with interviews next, and then the waiting game. I genuinely believe there are few people who are more suited to a PhD than he is. The past few months have been challenging, and I've become selfish, often wondering "how will I deal with having a partner who is in such a program?" I intend to spend the next year loving and supporting his decision and entry into a program without those negative thoughts.

4.  I celebrated my first and second year with my primary jobs in 2013. I'm slowly gaining confidence and finding my way in these organizations. I value the guidance of Laly and Leah immensely, and feel privileged to be able to work with these entrepreneurial, courageous women. I would be nothing without the work I do for them, and I and look forward to continuing to seek excellence with them, while also exploring new opportunities to support myself.

5.  In 2013 I finally felt happy with the level of "present"ness I experienced while spending precious time with friends and family. For 2014: a ski trip with Robert and Julia, the birth of their first child (making me an aunt!) in May, and a west coast visit for Amy's wedding (SF) in August and to visit Ben's family (WA).

6.  In 2013 I moved into a new apartment with a great roommate and friend, Dora. It's not cheap, but I consider it additional motivation to be great at my work! And for the first time, I decorated and shaped a space to make it my first true home away from home. For 2014: Working to be a great, considerate, roommate who feels comfortable making a space, no matter how temporary, something that is a part of me.

7.  I experienced a lot of gratitude for the support of friends (especially Ben, Sharron, Steph, Amy and Alec), and to my professional partner Anton for pushing me harder and higher than I ever thought I was capable of. May I be so lucky in 2014, may I be such a change for others!

I'm going to write these out now (the old-fashioned way), post them to my bulletin board over my desk, and hope they hold.
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