My Plan for a Happy 2016

My Plan for a Happy 2016

Happy-New-Year-Resolutions-2016-

Hey everyone! I know January is already halfway over, but I figure it’s never too late to share my New Year’s Resolutions with you. My goals for this year all revolve around a specific desire to be happier than I was last year. Now, that’s not to say I wasn’t happy in 2015; last year was actually one of the best years of my life! But I think everyone is always striving to be even happier, so that is what I will attempt to accomplish in 2016.

With this in mind, I came up with a motto of sorts that I hope will define this year:

Take risks, and take care 

To me, this means that I want to focus on leaving fear behind me, and I also want to focus on self care and being more aware of how I am treating my own mind and body. I often feel frustrated or unhappy with my life, which I have talked about in past blogs. I want to take this new year to really take control of my own happiness and make changes in my life that I feel will improve my happiness.

I have separated some specific resolutions into two categories based on my new motto, along with a description for why they are my resolutions and how I hope to achieve them.

do-one-thingRisks:

  • Take an improv class

The idea for improv to be my new hobby came to me rather suddenly, and the more I think about it the more sense it makes. I used to love acting in middle and high school, and I took an improv class one summer and really enjoyed it. I think this will be an awesome way to get outside my comfort zone, meet new people, and pick back up an old passion. I signed up for a 6 week class already, and I’ll start in February!

  • Learn to cook

My inability to cook has actually been an insecurity of mine for a while. My mom and sister love to cook and I have just never followed in their path for whatever reason. I was always either too busy or lacking motivation to learn to cook in college, but now is the perfect time in my life to go for it! I put this in the category of “risks” because for me, it is a bit of a risk. I have always been scared to try new things, and cooking is definitely new territory for me. My plan is to learn to cook one new recipe per week this year. Wish me luck!

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Care:

  • Exercise regularly

I got really good at exercising three to four times a week for a while, but as soon as I started my job in November that all disappeared. While it used to be easy to work out in the middle of the day if I wanted to, I am now constricted to either early in the morning, late at night or on the weekends. Unfortunately I let this slight hurdle stop me from even trying. This year, I plan to find a yoga class or another type of class at my gym during weekday nights, and also go to the gym to work out on weekends.

  • Make time for friends

This one is very important to me. Spending time with friends brings me a lot of happiness, and I don’t feel like I make enough time for my social life as of now. It’s just too easy to go home and watch TV every night. I think making an effort to see friends at least 3 times a week, even if it’s just for a quick dinner, will make a huge difference.

I hope you enjoyed reading about my plan to have a happy 2016. I’d love to hear what some of your resolutions or goals or just general thoughts are for this year!

Fear, taking risks and embarrassing stories

Welcome to my blog! For the next 5 months I will be studying abroad in Seville, Spain (or Sevilla as I will be referring to it in an effort to not come across as incredibly un-cultured). This blog is meant to be a way for me to share my experiences abroad with my friends, and possibly strangers if they care. If I feel particularly inspired, I may continue blogging after I return from Spain, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

I leave for Spain in 9 days and I am feeling…a mixture of fear, nervousness, anxiety, stress and excitement. Yep, notice excitement is the only positive word in the mix. This is not because I don’t want to go, or because I don’t think I will have the time of my life studying abroad. It’s more because I have some very prominent personality traits that make it extremely difficult for me to take risks in life.

For those of you reading this who know me well, you know that I tend to have a hard time staying calm and often get worked up over little things. Adapting to change is not exactly my forte. If I had it my way, everything would stay the same always. Maybe not stay the same, but I would at least have powers like in That’s So Raven where I could see the future and prepare for my inevitable doom. That would be pretty sweet. But as I am just a normal girl, living a not-so-Raven life, I have to deal with changes like the rest of you. And I am not always very smooth when dealing with said changes.

To prove how un-smooth I am, and give you a glimpse into who I am, I will give an example of how much I suck at dealing with change. And what better way to accomplish this than by telling a story that will bring laughter to your life while simultaneously bringing embarrassment to mine? Let’s do this.

From first grade until eighth grade I went to a tiny private school that people either A) Have never heard of B) Have heard of but have entirely wrong ideas about i.e. thinking it is the real-life Hogwarts (I wish!) or C) Have heard of and actually know a lot about it. C is pretty much reserved for people who attend the school and close friends of people who attend the school.

Anyway, after a lot of discussions and school visits, my parents and I decided it would be best for me to attend high school at a “real school” instead of continuing at the unfortunately-not-Hogwarts private school. I was having a lot of mixed emotions about leaving a school where I knew everyone in my class and going to a school where it would be virtually impossible to know everyone in the class. Unless you are incredibly popular and just casually have 650 friends. If so, please teach me your ways.

So at the end of eighth grade I was still coming to terms with the fact that I would be leaving a class I had grown up with, and naturally, because I am Shelly, I was freaking out a little bit. We had an end-of-year dance as a class, kind of like a Homecoming dance at public schools except way more lame and way less people. Regardless of the obvious lameness of said dance, I was actually having a pretty fun time with my friends, dancing and goofing off.

However, at some point I guess it hit me that these fun times would eventually come to a close, and I would have to say goodbye to my friends. So I did what some people think girls do best: I started crying. Yep, I started crying in front of all of my childhood friends because I was so sad to be leaving them. Now, hopefully some people saw this as sweet and endearing, the fact that I loved them enough to cry. But I’m pretty sure most people saw it as crazy and mental breakdown-y and were probably thinking “wow how is she going to be able to navigate through four years at public school if she can’t even handle one eighth grade dance without falling apart?”

I ended up doing just fine at public school, and I am still close with my private school buddies to this day (hey guys, hope you got a good laugh from that walk down memory lane!) I don’t regret leaving the comfort of private school life to venture into the unknown world of “real high school” one bit. And I think that even though I was scared, I knew at that dance that taking the risk of going to a new school would eventually pay off. Fear is a very mysterious and often largely inhibiting emotion, and as with most emotions, we don’t have much control over it.

The idea of spending a semester abroad or starting a new school are not things that scare the average person because they think they are a bad idea or because they don’t think they will have fun, but rather they scare us because the outcome is unknown. Because none of us have Raven’s powers, we are held powerless over what the future will hold. And that is why the future is so scary.

I know that studying abroad in Spain will be one of the best decisions I make in college. I can see myself five months from now, gushing to my family and friends about how amazing my time there was and how glad I am that I went. Like transferring to a new school, I know that I will eventually look back and feel so glad that I made the decisions I made. But until the day comes when my now-future experiences in Spain become past experiences, I am forced to deal with the crippling fear of the unknown. On the upside, I haven’t cried in front of people about it….yet.

Hope you enjoyed my first blog post! I am going to try to post every week, so the next time you hear from me I will either be a few days away from Spain, or maybe even IN SPAIN!! How exciting! (And scary…) See ya then!

–Shelly

Me and my friends after the dance. If you look closely, I think you can see some tears in my eyes.
Me and my friends after the dance. If you look closely, I think you can see some tears in my eyes.

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