At the beginning of this year, I was optimistic that my whole life would change for the better in the course of 12 months. I would move to Korea, get out of my long-distance relationship and start a “real” one where my fiancé and I could go on dates to exciting places on the weekends. I would start a new job with less stress and more freedom, and I would be able to learn new skills, gain fluency in Korean, and have time to read many, many books.
This year is already three-quarters of the way done. I’ve gotten engaged, visited my hometown in America, moved to Korea, started a new job, and become part of a new family. While it’s mostly been exciting and freeing and amazing, it’s also been hectic and stressful and confusing.
I set a few New Year’s Resolutions, completely confident that I could complete them, after making good on my resolutions from 2014. I wanted to read 40 books in a year, blog every week, advance my Korean language ability, etc. All things considered, I’ve been doing a great job so far. I caught up on my reading challenge when I was in the States, I do blog regularly, though the weekly part has been hard due to time-zone switches and my working hours.
So why do I feel so bad about myself? I feel like I’m not going to make it. I have three months left, but I am behind on my reading schedule. There are so many long books I want to read and really devour, but I often choose shorter reads and quicken my pace to finish on time. I want to blog more than I do, but my grad school work keeps my brain stretched and my hands busy. My job is a complete 180 from my job in Japan: instead of sitting all day at a computer with a few classes and few responsibilities, I rarely sit down and I’m learning new things and my responsibilities list is longer than my arm.
I have so much less free time than I did in Japan. I come home tired but already thinking about what has to be done before the next day at work, so I can’t relax as well. Also, I have a lot less alone time than when I lived, well, alone. My fiancé and I share the housework and we are still trying to decide on a good way to divide all the chores. We both need alone time, but we also need time for the two of us to converse, to enjoy the newfound time we have now.
When I think about all of this together, I think, “Dang, I should give myself a break.” I should come home and do homework when necessary but I need to rearrange my priorities. Reading I have always loved to do slowly. I want to learn more Korean, yes, but what about violin and piano and cooking and gardening? I’ve always been a jack-of-all-trades, so I can’t exactly stop myself now.
I’m a lot more calm living in Korea than I have ever been. That calmness has allowed me to step back and see everything that’s going on in my life and tell myself, “You have new priorities now. You have a new house and a new outlook on life. Do what you have to first, do what you want to do second, and then stop worrying about the rest.” Of course, I’m good at giving advice I never use…
I’m not going to give up on my resolutions just yet. I know I can still make it. However, next year I fully plan on not making a plan. Not setting goals for an entire year. I’ve planned on this before but I ended up making resolutions anyway. I guess my brain just can’t handle not having a long-term plan.
I’m going to order Korean textbooks soon (thanks to some awesome reviews by HangukDrama, which made me excited about studying Korean again), start setting aside time for real study, and now that I have a reading room upstairs, I fully plan on enjoying the heck out of some books. Goals are just that: goals. They aren’t there to stress us out, but that’s what mine have been doing. I want them to pressure me into action, but when have I ever been a stagnate person?