A couple of weeks ago, when I was in California, NPR’s Tell Me More had a brief spot on the Chinese New Year, which officially started on February 3rd. The segment focused primarily on customs and traditions around the New Year, such as the annual parade and the golden dragon. One thing that was completely new to me was Yan Yat, or people’s day, which is celebrated exactly one year after the New Year begins. Essentially, Yan Yat is likened to a giant birthday celebration for everyone. Because pretty much the entire country is on holiday celebrating the New Year, the tradition of “everybody’s birthday” gives you the chance to celebrate friends and family members you may have missed on their actual birthday. I think this idea, which is a sort of reverse unbirthday, is a really lovely one, especially as someone who hasn’t been with immediate family on their birthdays (with one or two exceptions) or mine for almost a decade.
While the segment didn’t go into specifics about what to expect during a Rabbit Year, according to this site, it’s a good year to pause, catch one’s breath, and reflect. To that end, it dawned on me that I’ve yet to formally write down any New Year’s resolutions. I can’t remember the last time I actually had New Year’s resolutions. This is, I think, largely due to the fact that I spent 18 years as a full time student and the 4 years since then working at a university. To me, September has always marked the new year, and probably will until I leave the world of academia.
This year however, I found myself oddly drawn towards setting some goals and priorities for the year ahead. One New Year’s Day, I had brunch plans with a group of about 10 friends. I was the first to show up (which is also odd, considering I’m usually 10 minutes late to everything), so I spent some time jotting initial ideas down on a napkin at the Penny Farthing. Luckily, being more punctual isn’t on the list, which why I feel fine posting these at the end of February. For accountability’s sake, here’s the list in writing:
- Stick to a monthly budget
- Put at least 20% of my income this year towards savings
- Blog once a week
- Learn how to knit
- Actually learn how to play the guitar, which I started to do two years ago but sort of forgot about after a few months
- Run my first marathon (hopefully NYC!)
- Run 9 New York Road Runner races so that I gain automatic entry for the 2012 NYC Marathon
- Apply to a graduate program for social work
- Take better advantage of New York City – go to a lecture, live theatre performance, concert, or museum at least once a month
- Read two books a month (this number feels shamefully low, but hey, it’s a start; I devoured books up through college, but fell out of practice once I started working full time)
- Travel to one location outside the United States (when I went to Paris in the fall of 2009 I said I’d do this once a year then totally dropped the ball in 2010)
- Watch at least 2 movies on my Netflix queue each month
- Finish turning the corner of my bedroom space into a reading nook
- Install Elfa shelves on the living room wall
- Get furniture for the balcony
- Start a gardening project on the balcony
- Come up with some type of art/design scheme for the bedroom wall, since there’s so much dead space there right now
- Give the kitchen and bathroom a mini-remodel
It’s a good mix, I think, of finances, career, personal hobbies/passions, and things I’ve been meaning to do around the apartment. Now it’s your turn to share – anything you’re particularly set on accomplishing this year?