A funny reminder that no one’s perfect. Resolution time!

[Edit: hey, check out how I did on these goals in my 2014 Post-Mortem!]

Hello, my friends. Again, welcome to 2014!

What a crazy, wild year it’s been. Not just for me, either, it seems – I’ve seen many, many social media updates marking what an exciting year it’s been for my family and friends.
In 2013 I completed a TEFL certificate, moved to Vietnam, started (and maintained, in possibly the biggest surprise of the year!) a personal travel blog, and started a new job in a new field. I’ve been medically stable and, besides a few speedbumps due to a new climate and environment, am in fairly good health. My 30’s are kicking ass and taking names so far. Here’s to keeping that momentum for next year!
With the new year comes the Western tradition of New Year’s Resolutions. As I look to the next few years of my master plan, I’ve come up with the following list of things I want to work on this year. Some are already underway, and some will take more work, but all of them are goals that I have for 2014.
Go big or go home…!
Hair cut. Every month. Here we go.

1. Maintain myself like a real person

Seriously, a real person. That means not being scared of the barber, no more fried spring rolls for dinner, and you know what? I’ve got to get running again. The air here is hazy and polluted, but I just miss the run too much. It’s time to tighten up my personal time schedule and re-commit to becoming a healthier, more presentable person in 2014. And note to self… buy some real dress shoes, mmkay? These moccasins are not acceptable for professionals.

2. Budget and a tighter grasp on my money plan

I’ve already started the most important part of my money plan – tracking expenses and discovering what I’m actually spending (not what I feel that I’m spending) has taken a great deal of mystery out of my new, more Vietnamese financial life. Next up – a personal budget that includes long term goals and a savings plan (once again). I also want the freedom to be generous if I so desire.

3. Plan for the long term, live for the short term

I’m at a unique time and place in my life, and while my main impulse is to save, save, save, I have to recognize that there are things that I can only do here and now. I will spend the money I need to in order to get to where I want to. Experiences await! I’d also like to use the summer to get my CELTA certificate, which will allow me access to better jobs and more money internationally.

4. Be able to basically communicate what I need in Vietnamese

My vietnamese is just terrible. Much of it is that I’m shy and hesitant to use it in the first place (and the fact that it’s just a difficult language, period), but I’ve come to recognize that, to put it simply, I’ve got to either use it or stay in the English bubble forever. Since the latter is not acceptable, I will start making more of a lingual connection to my environment.

5. Make more mistakes… and learn from them

The time for trepidation is over. I’ve got to be bold and confident. This extends past learning and communicating in the language, but it’s a good place to start. I’m a fairly strong introvert, but being here has exercised my extrovert skills. Every day presents me with magical, unique opportunities and I’m here to say Yes to them, even if I’d rather putter around with my plants or write some postcards by myself. I will go new places and make new mistakes there.

6. Volunteer

An obvious extension of my desire to participate in my community, volunteering has been high on my list since I started planning this trip 15 months ago. So far I’ve been unable to find a place that won’t give me scabies or ask me to pay a ridiculously high amount of US dollars to participate (I mean, come on… you can have my time, but you want me to pay? Come on, really), but hopefully 2014 will find me volunteering in a useful capacity that expands upon my interests in sustainability, design, environmental conservation, and community.

7. Delve into regional and national development and policy

I see evidence of big projects (and an even greater amount of evidence indicating a curious disregard for a cohesive long-term plan) around me every day in HCMC. It’s always construction season here, and in 2014 I’ll start the second leg of my trip into the design and sustainability world. I will write at least 8 major blog posts about sustainable design and development at the City, National, and Regional levels.

8. Maintain my blog and improve my writing

I enjoy the ‘every even numbered day’ schedule so far, so I’m hoping not to disrupt it too much after my mini-hiatus. I know that for many people it seems like a very large commitment to read, so I’m here to tell you – don’t bother! Pick out the things that intrigue you, and ignore the rest! I just have so much to say (are you surprised??) and there’s so much to see, do, and learn that this goal shouldn’t be a problem. My biggest question right now is: do I set the blog to update while I’m on vacation? I will write at least 150 posts in 2014, and these will help me grow as a writer and thinker.

Major goals in 2014 include:

1. Cambodia
2. Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables
3. Get my CELTA certificate
4. North Vietnam
5. Buy shoes
6. Paint the house
7. Make the living room not horrible
8. Trash Finding Nemo shade and install curtains
9. Enjoy the hell out of the rooftop during the dry season!

What are your goals for this year? Do you write them down?