Monday, March 4, 2019

And now let us believe in a long year that is given to us, new, untouched, full of things that have never been

I’ve always liked the idea of making resolutions to start off the new year. It’s a way of turning the page and starting anew. But I don’t think January 1 is the only time of year to make plans and set goals for ourselves. I’m a big fan of starting fresh when you say you’re ready to, whether that’s on January 1 or June 21.

Usually my New Year’s Resolutions are pretty vague and very general and generally unattainable. This year I wanted to be sure to make resolutions I would actually stick to, ones that would actually make me happy and proud of myself. I also made a promise to myself to revisit my resolutions on the first of every month to check in and see how I’m doing with each of them. March 1 is here, and it’s time to sit down and evaluate where I’m at with my resolutions, now two months into 2019.

Volunteer more

I’ve always been super passionate about spreading kindness and volunteering and serving others in some way. I really developed this passion in high school when I was a part of service clubs at school and volunteered a lot outside of school. When I went to college, I definitely dropped off in my commitment to volunteering my time. But now that I’m out of school and have more time after work and on the weekends, I really want to get back into volunteering.

I’m actually in the middle of a really cool volunteer opportunity through work! The Hawkeye Service Teams program through the University of Iowa has a really cool program called Alternative Spring Break. “The University of Iowa’s Hawkeye Service Teams exist to promote service learning, social justice, and community building to University of Iowa students through an alternative break” (Hawkeye Service Teams, Leadership & Service Programs).

Every Monday night this semester, I’ve spent about an hour and a half in a classroom with fifteen college students preparing for our housing-focused spring break trip to Milwaukee, and it’s been a ride, man. The students are great! And we’ve had incredible guest speakers. But this is totally a step outside of my comfort zone. Never in my life have I actually enjoyed standing up in a classroom to speak in front of other people, but I’ve signed up to willingly do that every week. Oh yeah, and then chaperone them on a five day trip out of state. It’s scary! But it’s also been such a good experience for me. It’s only been a couple months, but I already know that I’ve learned and grown so much from this. Plus, I’m making Young Sarah proud by living out my childhood dream of becoming a teacher! It’s been pretty surreal. I’ll let you know how the trip goes once we make it through that...

Meet new people / Make more friends

I hear this a lot among my friends and in articles I read and in podcasts I listen to: it’s freaking hard to make friends as an adult! Once thrust into the world, out of the comfort of classrooms and after school activities, making friends is no longer a given. And that’s tough!

I’ve tried to take a few steps toward meeting new people and making new friends in the last couple of months. One perk of working at a large university is that there are resources for almost anything imaginable available to me, and one thing I’ve discovered (through the Coordinator for Leadership and Service Programs, actually!) is the Young Professionals at Iowa Facebook group. This group gives opportunities for young professionals who work at Iowa to meet and mingle a couple times throughout the semester. I haven’t attended any events yet, but I’m signed up to go to a lunch with a couple of fellow young professionals in a couple of weeks. Wish me luck!

Occasionally I chat with the girl who lives above me in my apartment building, and during one of our recent visits, she suggested that I start doing more things on my own. And no she did not mean cook myself dinner and watch Netflix on my couch with a glass of wine—I’m already pretty good at that! She told me that she likes to see shows at Hancher and go to dinner at restaurants and attend art shows on her own and that she’s actually met a few people that way. I’ve always wanted to do things like that on my own but never actually have, so she’s inspired me to start looking into events going on around town that I would (maybe) feel comfortable going to alone!

How do you meet new people? Do you have any tips for making friends as an adult?

Make my apartment feel more like home

Since moving into my apartment in August, I’ve done a little bit to decorate and settle in, but one of my goals for this year is to really make it feel more comfortable and just more like home. I recently purchased a large area rug and coffee table and have plans to hang a collage on my living room wall, so I’d say I’m doing pretty well with this one so far!

Be more confident

Oof. Isn’t this always a resolution in some way, shape, or form? I was just talking with a friend the other day about how I feel like in the last five years I’ve really come out of my shell and become more confident. We were looking at a picture of ourselves from high school, and I just wanted to go back and shake that girl, that baby-faced version of me on the shoulders and tell her that it’s ok to speak up, to try new things. But I still made it here. I’m at a place where I know that I’ve grown, but now there are different measurements of growth in my confidence that I need to work on, and that’s what 2019 is for. 

Explore more new places in my city

In the fall, my friend Audrey and I started going on little weekly dates around town, Curiosity Dates, as we call them. (The name comes from a speaker we saw at The Green Room in the fall that talked about being laneless “like a motorcycle driving on the dotted line down the middle of the road,” meaning committing to exploring all of your interests and trying new things, even if none of those things are related. Simply put, be curious.) Audrey and I made a pact to go somewhere each week that neither of us had been to before, whether it’s a brewery or restaurant or coffee shop or whatever! So this resolution is really just about keeping up with that and also not being afraid to explore new places on my own, too. I have to say, we have discovered some pretty great places on these Curiosity Dates! I created a highlight on my Instagram if you want to check out where we’ve been.

Try cooking new things

Over the last year and a half I’ve become really interested in cooking more and learning how to make certain dishes and trying new things in the kitchen. I think I’ve actually become pretty good at throwing meals together based on what I think would taste good and what’s healthy. Whether I’m trying new recipes off of Pinterest or just adventuring more into my own cooking instincts, I’m excited to become more of a pro in the kitchen this year and maybe cook something other than my go-to chicken and rice with Sriracha...

Reread / listen to all of the Harry Potter books

I LOVE Harry Potter—duh! But I’ve never listened to the audiobooks, which are narrated by the incredible Jim Dale. Plus I’m about due for another reread, so I’ve made it a goal to listen to all of the Harry Potter audio books this year. I’m currently on #3!

Write more

Most of the writing I did in 2018 consisted of writing cover letters for jobs I applied for—not my favorite kind of writing. I’m not sure that I’ve really written anything fun for myself since my last blog post more than a year ago. I want that to change this year! Especially now that I work in a full-time job, I want to do more creative things for myself outside of work and on my own time. That starts now with this blog post! I’m so excited to get back into writing for sarahndipity. I already have so many ideas of posts I want to write. Is there anything you’d like to see me write about?

Read more outside of my comfort zone

You know I love to read! Last year was such a good year of reading for me. And I want 2019 to be great, too! It already is, as you have probably seen on Instagram. But I want to push myself with my reading this year. I tend to read a lot of YA, which is not a bad thing at all! But there are many other books of different genres that I want to try. I’ve already started on this resolution by reading Becoming, by Michelle Obama. WOW! What an incredibly interesting book about such an inspiring and accomplished woman! What other books should I read outside of my comfort zone?

I am so excited to be back! I can’t wait to write more posts and get back to sharing my thoughts with this little part of the world.

Do you make resolutions? What are your 2019 resolutions? 2019 is going to be amazing, don't you think?!

Lots of love,

Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters of Rainer Maria Rilke, 1892-1910