Golden Birthday

Tomorrow I turn 24 years old on August 24th. It’s my golden birthday!

Being 23 years old didn’t suit me very well. When I was 21 and 22 I felt like I was in near-constant motion. College, teaching in Colombia, traveling, making friend, making mistakes, creating things. My life kind of ground to a halt when I was 23. I turned 23 at home in Pennsylvania while I worked as a waitress and spent my free time mostly alone, walking in endless loops with my headphones in my ears. In January I moved to Medellin to try to start over. Turns out the saying is true, where ever I go, there I am. I was no more productive in Medellin than I was in Pennsylvania, though I did get to meet some very nice people and have a few interesting experiences. Still, even there I preferred to be alone.

In May I moved back to the United States, and in June I moved to Vermont to live with Aunt Sue, Uncle Scott, Jen and Lauren. The goal was to force myself into a bit more structure, to regroup and try to find my momentum again. In some ways it’s working. Aunt Sue has done a good job of kicking my butt into doing adult things. I have health insurance, I have an IRA, I eat regular meals and lots of vegetables. Jen and I talk a lot about creative projects, but still I haven’t really done that much. Mostly I wait tables, listen to podcasts and audiobooks, take long walks, and try to see other people as much as I can.

I want this year to be different, I want it to be better. Birthdays can be like New Year’s Day, so I’m going to use this post to make some resolutions. And I’m posting all of this publicly to have a little more accountability (despite the fact that no one actually reads this blog).

Career: Enough putting around. I need to focus and start my career. If I know one thing for sure it’s that I don’t want to be a waitress for the rest of my life.

  • SALT program? I applied priority admission to the SALT documentary program in Portland, Maine. My hope is that the program will improve my skills, give me connections, and give me a general kick start towards the career that I want. I’ll find out if I get in about two weeks from now. Fingers crossed.
  • Start a podcast now. Even if I get in to the SALT program I need to start practicing now. Partly to get back to the skills I learned in college, but mostly just to get into the habit of creating regularly. The hardest part is that the type of work I want to do can’t be done alone in my room. I have to go out and talk to people in the world. That scares me half to death. But this is my dream, and I have to face my fear to chase it.
  • Networking. Again, the fear of contacting and talking to other people is a big obstacle here. But the only way to get a good job is to connect with people who are in the industry. I need to get on a deadline schedule of connecting with a certain number of people each week, whether that’s cold emailing or finding people on LinkedIn. I really really really don’t want to, but it’s necessary.

Health: My lifelong quest to be healthier. Hike higher hills, run a little faster, look better in a swimsuit. It’s no secret from anyone who knows me that I’ve struggled with an extra 30 pounds since I was in middle school. At times I lose 20 or so of them, but I always manage to gain the weight back again.

  • Whole foods. I’m doing a mostly good job of this at the moment, I haven’t been eating much processed foods in the past few months. But there are quite a few cheats I could easily cut out.
  • Cardio exercise. For my birthday my Dad got me a fitbit Alta HR (thanks Dad!!) which tracks your heart beats and shows you how you can lower your resting heart rate. I want to start challenging myself more in terms of getting my heart rate up, this new device will be a great tool for this. Plus, I want to get fit for ski season!
  • Yoga/mindfulness. I’ve never really loved yoga, but I do want to improve my flexibility and get into a habit of meditation. The health benefits of that practice have been well documented and I think it’s time I jump on that train.
  • Cut out alcohol (mostly). I’m starting a Vermont craft beer podcast and I’m sure that will require me to sip a few brews, but I don’t really want to drink to get drunk anymore. Nothing good really happens when I drink and it’s a bunch of extra calories I don’t need. Not that I was hitting the alcohol hard this year, but cutting most alcohol out of my life is just a healthier decision for me at the moment.

Relationships: The more years I gain, the more I realize how important the people in my life are to me. I want to make more of an effort to keep in touch and nurture the relationships I have.

  • Phone calls/texts. A simple “hello, how are you?” goes a long way. I need to make sure too much time doesn’t pass between conversations.
  • Make the most of visits. When I’m in a place where I know people I need to be more careful to contact people ahead of time to see my friends in the area. Next time I’m in Boston (next week maybe?) I need to post on the facebook groups and text everyone I can think of to meet up.
  • Kindness and gratitude. This one is for the people I see and talk to every day. I need to be more mindful in how I treat the people I interact with on a daily basis. More compliments, less complaining.
  • Positive inner talk. The most important relationship I have is the one with myself. Sometimes I can be over critical and even mean to myself. This year I want to forgive myself more, allow a little more kindness. Not an easy change to make, but it’s time to try a little harder on this one.

This year could change my life. If I work hard enough, I could get there.



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