I set the goal to create holiday traditions back in October when I thought that the upcoming year would unfold quite differently. I was struggling to be content living in Florida, far away from family and friends, so I challenged myself to set a few goals that would push me to make the most of my situation.
A little less than two years ago, I could be found sitting in my bedroom frantically trying to figure out what to write about before midnight. No, I wasn’t experiencing a bizarre Cinderella in the cornfields of Ohio scenario; I just had to get something posted so I could keep my goal to “Publish a blog post once a week.” Ultimately, I wrote about books, and while it was nothing earth-shattering, it ranks as one of my favorite posts because it kept my goal going, which ended up producing some of my most cherished blog articles.
As of eight days ago, I officially became a twenty-five-year-old. Since it’s often viewed as a milestone year, I considered using this post to wax poetic about how I’m now a quarter of a century old. But after some thought, I realized that’s probably been done before, so I should instead just go ahead and share this year’s list of goals…
“Colombia? Like, the country?”
This was a question I received countless times in the months leading up to my trip to Bogotá, Colombia. While there were friends who were incredibly supportive of my trip, many people seemed absolutely baffled by my admission that my first experience abroad would be to a country few people associated with tourism. These offerings were disheartening, but regardless, I packed my bags and began the trip to the country that was such a mystery to me.
One of my favorite times of the year is when I sit down to come up with my next year’s list of goals. I love this exercise because it allows me to think about what I want to accomplish in the coming year while pushing me to think outside the box and to challenge myself.
I figured the best way to finish out this year of goals would be by sharing a few statistics/reflections on what I’ve written this year.
“Hey, Dan? Calm it with the sports references.” I know, this is my third sports-referenced blog post title in the past few months, so I guess you could say I’m one overtly-masculine grunt away from being a full-blown athlete. But let’s save the conversation about my transition into a sports icon for another day so we can get on to the actual matters at hand.
Early last year I was blindsided by the news that I had not been accepted into the graduate assistantship that would make getting a master’s degree feasible. I was devastated since I had wrapped so many of my plans for the future around the dream that I’d go on to graduate school.
My goal to “join a group” has hung over my head throughout the past year. This is primarily because I would go back and forth on which group to join. I initially considered joining a running club, but I decided against this after straining my knee and observing how unnecessarily energetic those in athletic clubs tend to be. So after the dream of joining a weekly running club ended, I began to set my sights on something much more sedentary. And that was when I decided to join a book club.
“Do Something Crazy”
That phrase has haunted me ever since I set it as a goal I wanted to complete as a 23-year-old. Looking back, I can see that I wanted to do something that would shake me out of my incredibly comfortable zone, but I have spent the months since then struggling to find an activity that would be considered “crazy.” I had almost given up finding something creative when an idea hit me. What if I did a spur of the moment weekend trip to Canada? I thought about it a bit more and was soon raring to begin what I was sure would be an unforgettable weekend.