January 31, 2013

girl in the curious city

Making year long resolutions does not fare well for me. My resolve to do something can easily succumb to the circumstances of being in the moment of something else. This has long been my character flaw. So instead of making resolutions, I make schedules. By sticking to a schedule, I evade moments of so called weakness. Here are some items on my schedule for the rest of the year:

  • Volunteering is an important activity that enriches my life and the life of others. I've been volunteering with Habitat for Humanity on and off since college. It's honestly not the easiest thing to do. It's a weekend commitment and construction work is so physically demanding. But it is incredibly visceral and humbling when you get your hands dirty alongside the family who's house you are helping to build. I also found Food Forward which is an organization that picks fruit and distributes it to those in need. I signed up for this Sunday's pick so I'll let you know how it goes. Also if anyone wants to join me, Antony would really appreciate it haha. Email me here!
  • Using my bare hands. I know this is a bit vague and might be difficult to schedule. The point I'm trying to make to myself is to slow down: make dinner instead of eating out or do some gardening instead of online shopping. Another thing I want to get back into is drawing and painting. Everything today is computerized and demanded to be done yesterday, especially in my industry. So I asked for a Wacom Bamboo tablet for Christmas and Antony got it for me! It's perfect because it allows me to draw/paint by hand with the added benefit of it being digitized. My first doodle with it can be seen in our recent DIY Shelves post. Plan on seeing more drawings and doodles in the future!
  • Becoming an architect. I technically cannot call myself an architect because I am not licensed. The licensing process is long and tedious. It involves getting something like 5600 hrs of specific experience and taking 7 exams. So yeah, I need to get more serious about that and schedule time to study. But for me, I don't need a license to validate myself as an architect. I really believe it is the experience. Luckily my job has granted me invaluable opportunities such as my first built project in Qingdao. But there is another project that will begin later this year that is close to my heart. My mom is moving back to the US from Shanghai and asked me to build her a house. This is my chance at becoming a real architect.
I'm nervous but mostly excited about 2013. Besides these 3 items on my schedule, I expect to still travel and see more of the world. Go big or go bigger!

Now that we're at the end of the month, how well did you fare with your new year's resolutions?

I have to admit that this year, I did not make any.. yet. Traditionally, I used to make new school year resolutions in the fall, because that seems like more of a fresh start to me. However, as I've been a zombified working woman, the end of the year -not the summer- gives me a much-needed break. Last year, I was big on resolutions, and I did a pretty good job carrying them throughout the year and making them a part of my lifestyle and personality.  For example, reading or listening to the news each day was a resolution for the past 2 years, and now it's pretty much an engrained part of my life that I now enjoy.

To be very honest, I did not make any resolutions because I was up to my earlobes in wedding tasks. However, a small part of me had legitimate reasoning to wait to make them after the wedding, because a marriage is, in its own way, a huge restart button. Now that I'm here at my own personal new start, I hope to accomplish the following in 2013.

  • Become a more accomplished speaker. Like many of my generation, I use "like" and "um" without thought or control. I also become flustered when I have to speak to people I don't know, and sometimes my mind goes blank. It's sort of embarrassing, and I'm envious of those who are well-spoken.
  • Exercise my networking and schmoozing.  This is sort of career and life oriented. Right now, I turn on and off that side of me. It's been "off" for a while now, and I know I have dormant potential to be a disgusting schmoozer. Just kidding. I have the potential to be a non-repelling, genuine networker in order to advance my personal and professional life. I can do it! 
  • Become more confident. This one is related to the first and second one. It also speaks to how I deal with life crises and mini crises. Without getting too personal and weepy, let's just say that I've realized many of the small talents that I lack and some of my large personality flaws. Time to not just focus on improving them but also still being confident in myself.
  • Take my side art project from just a thought into a concrete enterprise. This one's sort of a secret!
When I make resolutions, I write them all down on a sticky note and stick it in my daily planner. I can't open it without seeing my resolutions. When I need motivation, once in a while, I'll really read through them and promise to myself to try to keep them. One important thing is being flexible. I think it's key to allow yourself to rewrite the resolutions when needed. Maybe halfway through the year, you realize that you don't need to master kung-fu; actually, what you need to learn is meditation. Then let that become your new new year's resolution! Good luck and wish me luck!

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