Looking Back, Looking Forward

Being sick multiple times over a few weeks teaches you a lot about patience. It provides an excellent opportunity for introspection and increased self-awareness. It helps you reassess your priorities and renew your appreciation for the things you might otherwise take for granted, like (usually) having good health.

My milder mood has also made it easier to review my resolutions for 2011 which, frankly, bombed. As in, not only did I fail to achieve them, they dropped quite sharply downwards.

Oh, well — sometimes, you just have years like that despite your best efforts. 2011 was one of my most challenging years, just as it is most likely going to be one of the most life-changing ones in the long run. Instead of focusing on the difficulties and wishing, as I have every December since 2007, that next year might be better, I’d like to look past the fog of discontent and pay attention to the aspects I might otherwise forget until it’s too late.

because when you stop and look around, this life is pretty amazing

(source unknown)


Having time: This has probably been the least busy year in my UBC career thus far, not that I was exceptionally free, either. Still, I liked having the extra breathing space that I don’t normally give myself, especially now that I’m about to enter my busiest term ever.

Learning hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ (the language of the Musqueam people): This is one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had at UBC and the one I’m most loathe to give up. Regrettably, after a valiant struggle to make it fit into my timetable, I’ve finally concluded that I really can’t take a language course on top of a full-time job, a part-time job, and writing my thesis, all three of which I need to complete in order to graduate. Getting my degree is my main priority, but I’m still very sad about dropping this.

The many firsts: Skiing for the first time. Celebrating Canada Day for the first time, at Steveston. The free, live concerts in Stanley Park over the summer. Kayaking for the first time in Canada (and only the second time ever). My first Vancouver Christmas, complete with a visit to the German Christmas Market, Van Dusen Botanical Gardens, and the irrepressible rain.

(source unknown)


But now I’m more interested in what’s to come!

My new job: I’m taking up my third and final co-op job as the Arts Co-op Student Advisor next week. I had my first two days of training just before the winter break, which went really well — everyone was so warm and welcoming, and my predecessor was so clear and thorough in passing on her wisdom, that I feel much better prepared and excited for the upcoming term.

Being done: I’ve really loved school for the past few years, but academic fatigue (and mental fatigue in general) has been plaguing me for several months now. There’s still a lot to slog through before I can celebrate, but graduation will feel exceedingly good. And it also means I get to go home for a little while.

My happiness project: While stuck in bed, I thought a lot about what I want to achieve this coming year — to be happier and healthier — and started creating a plan, with Gretchen Rubin’s Happiness Project (both blog and book) in mind. Questions asked include:

1) What makes you happy? What do you need more of to feel good?
2) What makes you unhappy? What do you need less of to feel better?
3) Is there anything about your life that doesn’t feel right or you would like to change?
4) What can you do to create an atmosphere of growth? (The learning process being an essential part of our development and happiness as human beings.)

I’ve divided my goals up into twelve different themes with the aim of addressing a different aspect of happiness each month, à la Gretchen Rubin. Each month will have its own subset of resolutions that I hope to add onto each week: January, for example, is focused on boosting my physical health in such small ways as sleeping earlier, eating better, and exercising more. I’m even creating a resolutions chart to keep track of my progress — an unusual move on my part, as I’m not typically fussed about New Year’s resolutions. I think it’s a measurement of how much I want 2012 to be different.

this time next year, I hope I'll feel the same way as this little girl striding confidently forward

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