In 2013, I made very late “New Year’s resolutions”–I call them that because that’s the trendy, recognized thing to call them, I suppose, although I’m pretty sure that’s not what they actually are. In 2013, my goal was straightforward: to get to KIPP (the school I worked at on Wednesdays) early, so around 7:15-7:20 a.m., leaving my apartment by 7:00 a.m. I am pretty sure I was successful after making that inner announcement, if not silly, telling everyone that I’d made a New Year’s Resolution (in February). My NY resolutions are a little more complicated right now, but I am going to try. Possibly because they are more macro things that I have tried to integrate before but have never succeeded with entirely. Which sends a larger message to myself that I really have to be intentional about the things I do or they probably won’t happen. Some kind of structure is usually a thing I do well within; I like to know that I’m following the rules–but outside of that structure, I’m a generally expansive person who will go in many different directions. I don’t know that it’s bad; in fact, it can be very good; the wandering leads me to good places sometimes, although other times, it leaves me feeling without momentum.
So I don’t know. Or I only know, really, that I don’t want to be up so late at night that I can’t wake up in the morning. And that sometimes that I have to remind myself that I have freedom. One fall afternoon talking with my creative writing professor at LSU, during my senior year, in a nice house-like building, he reminded me about how we’re all “totally free” to do “whatever we want” (barring the issue of, like, say, money…) and I was like, OH MY GOD, YOU ARE RIGHT, I CAN DO THINGS. (Like Daddy said, not “should”-ing all over yourself.) And I think about that from time to time, since it’s easy to forget, and then I think about these macro-rules I want to implement, and I’m not sure where to fall in between the two: freedom and macro-rules.
So, does anyone else have belated “resolutions?”
These are mine:
1. Be early.
I chronically plan for only exactly enough time to get places, which usually ends up in my being a few minutes late. It makes me more nervous than I’d like, so I figure I’ll bargain for the extra time, freedom of being early, and reading if necessary.
2. Get more sleep.
It’s taken me too long to recognize I basically need 9.5 hours of sleep every night; knowing that’s not possible, I am trying to aim for 8+ and all the accompanying, sane practices. Tea, etc.
3. Take care of your fingernails and toenails.
This has been more of a self-esteem booster than I assumed it would be. The chlorinated pool water tends to be treacherous for polish, but I’m liking it so much, especially on my fingers…it’s like when I discovered earrings.
4. Pay attention and watch yourself when you start to turn simple tasks into arduous ones, or feel burdened.
This is the main resolution.
5. Cook and bake for other people.
This just makes me feel really good. Anyone who reads this: you are welcome to make requests! I just need a little time to figure out all the post offices around here.
6. Get in touch with your people from afar.
“Whatsapp” helps with this, and I have been messaging with Purity and my Zanzibari host mom, but I miss Bikombo from Zanzibar and other people too because they’re so lovely and funny. Michael Ojok referring to me as “Lady Sarah” in an e-mail or all my kid friends–Ida, Mutuma, Boniface–in Kenya–Ida, who yelled that one day as I was walking back to the children’s home: “Welcome home, Sarah!” So I need and want to be much more in communication with those people whom I love, especially since one of the key informants I interviewed in Uganda said to me, at the end of our phone interview: “You know, when you people you back to your place, you get so quiet!”
7. Finally subscribe to the New Yorker, and read it.
I’m behind since I get surprisingly dizzy on the metro, but my metro-reading is improving, and I love everything by Elizabeth Kolbert so far. More importantly, the NY subscription was a thing my dad said he’d get for me one Christmas, since it would indeed be perfect, and subsequently forgot; so I bugged him about it for a Christmas or two, but now I’ve gifted it to myself, to hopefully help with writing, writing. And it seems good to get yourself these intentional gifts…??
8. As a final thought, another would probably be to volunteer somewhere, in a way that puts me around young kids, since, let’s be honest, they’re better than watu wazima/adults, and I tend to ruminate, so everybody wins! when I volunteer (with the literacy organization Everybody Wins! that I interned with back in 2007 :) )
9. Okay, also, I really want some translation projects…I’m working on that one, kind of.
10. And if this is just turning into a wish list, I really, really want a functional and sexy road bike. Please, Easter Bunny?!?