I don’t believe in New Year resolutions.

I exclaimed this boldly to people I know, I captioned it cooly to Instagram, I mentioned it in passing to those in small talk.

But in the holiday and new year new me spirit, I’ll take this as a chance to verbalize and share some personal growth goals I’ve been working on in the last little phase of my life.

Before going to Taiwan for my stint abroad, I was a mess. Stress levels off the charts, holed up by myself and unrealistic understandings of what I wanted. It was not pretty. I picked up “fake it til you make it" as a path to recovery — a change I declare as one for the better. To be honest I’m still not quite sure how to define that saying, just that it was a lot of self-deceit in my case. Sounds shady but it was more motivating if anything. Tell, train, teach myself to not be scared or unsure. Be bold!

Now I want to try two new ones, both with the word “kind" involved. I’ve been seeing a lot about how vocabulary influences the way you live and I am going to embrace that psychology. Somehow I picked up using vagueness as an exit to responsibility. Saying “kind of" or “I think" has become a much too easy out of being blamed for or associated withsaying certain things. I need to learn how to own up to what I’m saying! Say it when I mean it type of thing. This goes along the same thinking of learning to say “no" and “I don’t know,” also another personal growth thing.

The second part of this “kind" goal is to be kind(er). For some reason, many people have the first impression of me that I’m a nice person, very cheerful and easy to approach. Depending on the social setting that could be true; boba social and almost anything TSA or school club related immediately come to mind. But there is still much room for growth.

This is cliche af but a first step is to be kinder to myself. I had a great summer after my heart-breaking departure from Taipei but meeting new friends and acing Robinson’s 106 lecture were good feelings. Fall flew by…as Angus and I termed it, only big up and big down. Rather than being tormented by loose thoughts day by day, many moments of terror and joy lasted a mere weekend at the most. I joked that I felt as if I didn’t learn anything in school that semester but I didn’t learn anything period. About myself, about others, about the world. I need to get back on this self-care thing and be kinder to myself again whether physically or psychologically. Especially now with more and more people asking about my non-existent post-grad plans, I can only count on myself to be my strongest rock.

I don’t want to go back to being the kid who says she’s not good at anything. Good grades but not best. Good friends but not network. Good shape but not attractive. From that low departure point there are seemingly only two directions to go.

a) Recognize it and own up to it; don’t compare yourself to other people. You do you.
b) Then find what you’re good at.

Next is to be kinder to those who matter. It’s easy to say and know that I care about…well, the people I care about. I want to actively remind them and to some extent myself that this is the case. Moments like our YOLO trip to the Mondavi Winery and cram sessions before case interviews and poorly cooked ramen have given me so many cheerful memories in the muck of ages that is my senior fall. I understand the elegance in snapshots but that doesn’t mean the good times can’t keep coming. Be kind to your loves. Love.

Kind of.

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