I turn 21 years old today and despite being Canadian where the legal drinking age is 19 (or 18 in some provinces) and having a self confessed indifference for birthdays, this year is undeniably different from any year in the past. Not only because I’m older (which I am but time is an illusion) but because for the first time in a long time, my mood is generally pretty good. By pretty good, I mean above a 5/10 at least 80% of the time. There are some extenuating circumstances (COVID, living situation, etc.) that factor into my mood but as a whole I feel (emotionally) better than I have at pretty much any point in my life that I can remember.
Big words, I know, but this year I finally got my mental health under control and my physical health (while declining) is being looked into to the point where I’m hopeful that I’ll have at least some answers if not some treatment strategies early in the new year. In addition, I’m studying something I genuinely enjoy (even if I don’t agree with some teaching methods) and I’m not dirt poor for the first time ever. My most common crisis is an identity crisis when for the longest time I didn’t even see the point in having an identity. The realities of depression, anxiety, an undiagnosed personality disorder and just general life-suckiness (real word I swear) are actually under control. Whether or not I’ll ever be able to function without relying on meds remains to be seen but at this point, daily meds (even taken two hours late…) are worth it to be able to function emotionally for (again) the first time ever.
That being said, I’m finally in a place where I can honestly say that I see a future for myself. It’s fuzzy and kind of vague, still seems kind of far fetched, but I see a future. I realized recently (thanks to a literature theory class of all things) that my passions and talents all convalesce into the publishing industry. Business, a bit of tech, writing all play into the publishing industry and a publisher – as I recently learned – has a lot more impact than an individual author a lot of the time. So, my dream? To open a publishing house dedicated to the marginalized and voiceless in our world. And when I say world, I mean world. I love travelling (when there’s no pandemic around – stay home folks) and travelling for a living has always been something that I’ve dreamed of doing in one way or another.
I could probably go on for hours about all my ideas and goals for the long term but that should probably be for a different post (who knows, maybe it’s already up?) so I’ll stick to the topic of this post from now on. My intentions for 2020. I very rarely accomplish goals. Like, ever. One year I didn’t use heat on my hair for an entire year. A couple months ago I did a small workout every day for a week. I’ve written 50,000 at least once a year since 2016. Yes, I do hold all of those things equal, I never said my valuation system was flawless. But this year, I’m starting fresh. I have concrete goals to look forward to and a lack of wanting-to-die-ness (again, real word I swear) that means I might actually accomplish some. Finally.
Without going down a tangent and actually finding all of the articles I’ve read over the past 5ish years, one thing I’ve always kept with me is the idea of a word of the year. That’s one word that encompasses the direction you want to grow in for that year regardless of what area of life it’s in. This year, my word is Intentionality. While I’ve never had a word of the year before, I think this one is the perfect one to start with. Am I taking it from a book I read about French women and their lifestyle? Yes. Am I apologizing for that? No. (Side note: check out French Women Don’t Get Fat by Mireille Guiliano if you’re trying to reset your relationship with food, I’m not so sure about the method but the principles are pretty solid.)
So, with that being said, what are my intentions for 2021? Well, first (sorry!) a little bit of context. I’ve always found other people’s areas of life not quite right for me. Everyone places a different importance on different aspects of their being and that’s okay. I’ve researched a lot of different methods/theories over the years but I think I’ve finally found a setup that works for me. So, in alphabetical order to avoid stressing the details, my 10 areas of MY life:
Like I said, yours may be different. For example, some people don’t separate career and finances. Some people don’t separate health and wellness. You’re probably wondering what kind of anti-social monster I am to have three different categories of interacting with other people. This works for me right now, so I won’t apologize for it. I will say that this list comes from my (concerningly extensive) own knowledge and priorities, it hasn’t been copied from any other one person. If I was using a reference I’d give it to you but honestly, this is just from my head and I don’t know how it got in there, just that it did. So, without further ado, a brief explanation of my 10 areas.
- Career – Professional, for a living activit(y/ies) that should be paid or have the goal of being paid. For the moment, this includes this blog and anything associated with it.
- Community – Giving back and charity. This is how I connect and serve the people around me that aren’t directly in my circle. Donations, volunteering, advocacy all fall under this umbrella.
- Finances – Pretty self explanatory, the things that pay for being alive. Money in, money out, budgeting, anything like that. Overlaps with all the other things (cause unfortunately, nothing is really free)
- Health – Physical health. This one is hard because aside from mental health and physical illnesses it could also include diet and exercise, both sore subjects for me at the moment.
- Personality – This is a fancy way of saying hobbies and interests. Things that don’t necessarily make me money or directly impact any of the other categories. Things I do for fun.
- Relationships – If I had a remotely functional family, this would include them but since I’m kind of out of my depth in that regard we’re going to have to see where this one goes.
- Scholarship – Personal development, academics, professional development, education, all of the above. My university career, my ESL diplomas and any other scholarly pursuits go here.
- Social – As my highschool self liked to say, I’m not very good at people-ing. As in, making friends and connecting with people on a real level. I want to change that so all my rants don’t fall on the same person.
- Spirituality – Again, pretty self explanatory. Beliefs, values, morals, ethics, those things kind of hover here. As a firmly non-Traditional Christian, this is something I’ve been meaning to flesh out for a while.
- Wellness – Self care, self love, emotional wellness that goes along with physical wellness. Coming to terms with some of my trauma and learning to take care of myself and (hopefully, eventually) love myself.
At the risk of repeating myself, this is what feels and sounds right for me and I am by no means saying it is right for anyone else. I may realize this is too many categories. I may realize the categories don’t make sense. I may decide to continue my hermit lifestyle and forget about being social to my (2) friends dismay. But this is what I’m going with for now. Now for 10 goals for 2021. Notice that not every area has a corresponding goal. That’s because some areas of my life (like physical health, social, relationships) are kind of blurry in terms of the future. I’m trying to convince myself that’s okay. So some other areas (where I do have definable long term goals) have more than one goal. I tried to make all of these achievable based on my life and my recent energy levels and abilities. Some of these are a stretch but that’s what a goal is, right? So:
- Career: 24 blog posts
- Career: 6 websites
- Community: 2 Volunteer Projects
- Finances: Investments?
- Personality: Read 12 books
- Personality: Finished Draft of Book Project
- Scholarship: ESL Diploma
- Scholarship: French
- Spirituality: Monthly Routine
- Wellness: Healing the Inner Child
As you can tell, some are more specific than others. Specifically, goals 1, 5, 6, 7 are specific. The rest are a little less so. The websites in goal 2 are related to an ex-coworker’s offer of some freelance website design work. I don’t even know if he’ll get 6 jobs in 2021 but I figured it was an achievable goal and maybe one of those websites will end up being my own? Volunteer projects are long-term commitments to have an impact on a specific community. In March, I’ll be doing a project through my university and I’m hoping to find one more project to do before the end of the year. Goal 3 is about as clear as it sounds. I want to look into investing as a means of passive income since I currently focus on saving money but savings rates aren’t exactly the best. I want to work on my French (not sure how yet, but will be figuring that out soon) and I want a monthly routine of feasible actions that embody and enforce my spirituality. Healing the Inner Child (dealing with issues arising from childhood) comes from this site and sounds like a good place to start in terms of emotional wellness. The How is, once again, a little less clear.
So those are my 2021 intentions or goals. In the coming weeks they’ll all be broken down into smaller steps but I’m excited for the year to come. 2020 has been weird (and not in a good way) so I’m hoping 2021 will be a break in the proverbial storm. Have you started thinking about your 2021 goals? Do you set goals for the year? Have you ever actually completed a new years resolution?