I always think a long time about my New Year’s Resolutions, but I rarely establish them before the actual new year. Last year, I wrote the following in my “One Line A Day” five-year memory book. “Resolution: Trust more. Grow in patience. Keep working towards balance.” I chose these words (trust, patience, balance) because I knew that they would be never be finished, and were essential to where I was in my life when I made them: about to travel internationally for the first time, about to interview for my first career job, about to make some things a priority and cast others aside.
In July, six months after my resolution, I moved to Indonesia. Needless to say, I have learned to trust a lot more than I ever thought I would. Not only has moving to a different country taught me how to trust, but traveling has taught me how to trust. There are always a million things that can go wrong. Here in Indonesia, there more than a million things that can go wrong. I fly on an airline with terrible ratings. I ride in taxis down expressways where traffic is unregulated. I walk through streets filled with dirty water. I cross the road with only a hand out and a look of confidence. I don’t speak Bahasa Indonesia well, and I don’t always know where I am. And yet, I trust that God will keep me safe. And while I still have doubts, there is no doubt in my mind that I trust more now than I ever have before. (2013 Resolution #1: Accomplished.)
Patience has come, but slower than trust. I thought I was patient before I moved overseas… little did I know how much patience I was about to develop. First, in order to get anything done in Indonesia, you must be patient. Your work visa, your taxi queue, your groceries…. everything that you thought was easy is now hard. (Except for cleaning your apartment, which is only 100,000 Rupiah!) And teaching thirteen-year-olds…. that develops an indescribable amount of patience. I could elaborate, but you really should just believe me. (2013 Resolution #2: Accomplished.)
Balance? Well, I am not sure how well this goal was developed. I was good at creating balance for a while, but now that I am a first year teacher, I don’t think I have been very good at maintaining balance. It’s hard to know when to draw the line… and even when you know where the line is, it’s hard not to cross it. It’s hard to separate your identity from being a teacher when the majority of your time is spent being a teacher. (2013 Resolution #3: Maybe Accomplished?)
This year, I have a few more resolutions, designed to develop and grow and balance.
1. Read More: Newspapers, Articles, Novels, Poetry
I love books, but I don’t give myself enough time to read for my own leisure. Most of the books I read in 2013 were for school. This year, I want to read more– for me.
2. Write More: Letters, Journal, Poetry, Blogging, etc
I once denied that I was a writer, and was quickly admonished by a professor who told me the exact opposite. I want to embrace that part of my literary soul. I already write a handful of letters every month, record a few life details every day, and blog once or twice a month, but I want to do more of all of those things.
3. Simplify More
One of my goals in moving to Indonesia was to learn how to live simply. While a common phrase at my school is “don’t be a martyr,” I am not trying to be self-sacrificial. I am trying to put things into perspective. Yes, I kind of do want a rice cooker. But I have a pot– isn’t that enough? And if it isn’t, I certainly can wait another few months until the expats who are leaving start to sell their stuff on the cheap. Really, though, I don’t want to mindlessly consume. I want to spend my money with purpose, not blindly. Besides, I am a natural pack rat (no one knows better than my mom and dad, who are currently storing the majority of my worldly possessions.)
4. Trust More
I want to continue to trust. But I want my trust to expand beyond just trusting in the situations that I feel are safe. I want to trust in the risk, too. I don’t want to be held back. Life is filled with adventures, and I don’t want to be too scared to explore.