There’s a time when the New Year’s Resolutions we make really matter.
The turning point that made mine worth while occurred at the end of 2006.
Going back to that moment and counting my blessings, I am happy to say that by now my extended 2006 NYR not only came true in their entirety, but their number multiplied!
Extended NYR List for 2007
[from an email sent December 21st, 2006]
Hello, dear Krakow trainees!Since Christmas is just a few days away, I want to make sure everyone gets my “Merry Christmas”, in case you decide to spend the holidays in other cities, like me, for instance. I will leave Krakow no sooner than this Saturday, so we might still meet in the mean time – there is always Friday night…The purpose of my message is to send you not only my best wishes, but also a Christmas present wrapped up in the attached file. In a year’s time you could forward it back to me in an email. You may have guessed what my Christmas present is: my freshly cooked-up New Year’s Resolutions. They have a nice coffee smell from where I’m sitting. Go through them below and check them up for yourselves!In the attachment you’ll have my thoughts regarding 7 areas of interest for 2007 (learning, environment, time management, and four more you will read about below).The “assignment” I set upon myself and others was answering these questions:1. How many of the NYR would make me materially successful? (number/percentage)2. How many of the NYR would make me spiritually successful? (number/percentage)3. What is it that I search for in life? (percentage analysis)There you go. Hope you’ll enjoy them!Alina
NYRs for 2007
A Possible Version of My New Year’s Resolutions
A long time ago, when I was a little girl, I would take a chair, bring it close to the window, take a seat and start waiting patiently for that moment when the day would melt into darkness, because I wanted to seize that precise moment when the day was just about to end and the night about to begin. After waiting for a while I would realise that I could never tell when that moment occurred exactly, no matter how hard I tried to concentrate while looking at the sky. Darkness would approach so subtly that I always felt a bit tricked into missing the end of the day.
As the little girl grew up, I remember her throwing away, year after year, agenda after agenda, along with memories and thoughts she did not want to own any more. Even though she used to hold entire pages under dripping water to make sure the ink on them was completely washed out before throwing them away, the past is not something one can wash away under tap water. Maybe that was because the past did not belong to her, and memories were always shared; but she did not see that then.
No one can definitely tell exactly how or precisely when the confused little girl who I was grew into the person I am now, someone who understands the power and freedom of heartfelt laughter.
Three years have passed since my student smiles. Back then, smiling felt like shining, as I loved learning and could not imagine myself being anything but a student.
Soon after my student years ended, I started working with young people who looked up to me, my students.
My old student smile resumed its shining again last year, when I joined AIESEC, moved on as a PhD student & started a second Masters degree, and it has been shining even brighter since I started teaching at the Jagiellonian University Language Centre. Krakow seems to be the perfect environment for me to develop by doing what I know to do best: communicating with people, teaching and motivating them. This is what I have been looking for all along, and my present experience confirms it. 2006 is a year to remember, and I am planning to use this year’s memories to set the right resolutions for 2007. These might be the next best years of my life, and there’s no waiting in a chair patiently (or impatiently) trying to figure it out. 🙂
I realize I started writing about the New Year’s resolutions against the rules that I set myself in my email to you, by answering the last and hardest question of the three. In doing so, I have not neglected the previous two questions, not at all. As I see it, I don’t need to quantify the resolutions on spiritual and material success. They are meant to provide answers that will guide one to a conclusion that in my case is already known.
What I have been always looking for in my life is beauty, an ever-changing beauty, just like the ever-changing colour of the sky – bringing together light and darkness, the sign of storms or wonderful days –, a beauty that is at times misleading, and, yet, so amazingly charming that I can only find more room for it in my soul. It is a beauty that likes to hide in the forgotten corners of our “children’s” hearts. To rediscover it most take the time to put together the fragments of it they see around them. I, too, see the trace of beauty in all of you, day after day, as I am gathering new pieces to add to this infinite puzzle that is life. The fact that I might never finish this puzzle does not worry me. What darkens the clear waters of my dream is the growing number of “goodbyes” that I will have to receive before I will also give mine to the rest of you.
Saying “goodbye” seems to be like drinking a glass of water that instead of being crystal clear, as it is with every new beginning, becomes darker and darker from one “goodbye” drop to another. The darker it gets, the sooner you will have to drink it. Luckily for us, there are always new glasses to fill with the clear water of fresh experiences, so that we will not only grow darker and wiser, but also brighter, and manage to shine in spite of storms and cloudy days.
1. The glass of learning
I would like to learn more about myself, about how to adjust to different situations. Improving the way I learn will help me improve the way I teach, which will make me very happy, so I should tick this for the years to come.
There are a few languages that I can understand more than 50% of, like German, Italian, Spanish and French, so it would be a pity not to improve my knowledge of them in the next few year(s). I should also add Polish to the list, especially the Polish phrases my students have been recording for me in my Polish copybook.
I would like to continue designing and delivering trainings, and it would be great if I could start working part-time in a training company. Combining training and teaching will give me the knowledge and experience necessary to write a book for young teaching professionals worldwide on the ways to improve the quality of teaching. In order to do this, it is also important to finish reading all the books I have already started and start exploring new titles. There’s no end to learning.
Learning to play the piano would be another accomplishment to pursue in my 2007 learning glass, as well as taking dancing classes just for the fun of it.
Keeping in touch with all my old and new teachers, professors, mentors, students and friends is another learning priority for me.
The outcome of all of the above would be that, one day, I could say “I have found my signature”, which would be more than being able to write down my name in a particular way. It would mean that I have learnt how to act, talk, move, smile, work, play, dance and interact in a way that I will be proud to recognize as my own.
I’ll always search for sights, sounds, and other such “ingredients” that will help me and the people I know to fight off the stress, tiredness and boredom that creep into our lives at times inevitably. Some time in the future, for instance, I may start attending yoga classes.
Here’s a piece of advice that I give and should follow myself: allow yourself to find the best ways to express yourself, whether by dancing, writing, composing, or playing a sport. This is so beneficial for your health that you should always have this in mind, and be open to similar experiences.
One thing that I sometimes have even too much of is energy. My main concern should be to harness this energy into the right direction, and towards good ends. That will be really healthy!
3. The time management glass
At the end of each day I should give myself some moments’ rest in which I should remember all the good things that have happened to me during that day. I would like to live each day fully aware of what I have to do, and enjoy it. In case I will not manage to enjoy it, I’d like to have the energy and the right perspective to find out something enjoyable in whatever I may be doing and pursue it. I’d also like to have at least one new project in mind constantly. I’d like to wake up in the morning with a big smile on my face at the thought of the new things that are just waiting to happen. What I won’t like to do is waste my time frowning or being angry at things I cannot control. That’s why it would be very helpful to have a “smile” ready for everybody and also to keep my “smile” pocket full, just in case.
What I should always try to do is improve the quality of my time, so that I could turn ordinary weekdays into series of moments to remember.
4. The relationships glass
Everyone would like this glass to be full. However, the most difficult thing is not to fill it, but to keep the contents clear. Here is where the mistakes of the past come in handy, and I’d like to think that I won’t stumble over my old mistakes all over again.
Using every opportunity that may arise, I’d like to make new friends from all over the world and learn a world from them.
At the end of the next year I would also like to be able to say that I have made positive changes in the lives of at least 107 people: ninety-three students and about fourteen Krakow trainees.
5. The environment glass
In my environment I’d like to feel like a fish in the water: safe, not bothered by anything around me that I shouldn’t worry about – the cost of living, peeling wallpaper, screeching tram wheels, monthly tickets, registration queues and so on. Since I arrived in Krakow I have been pretty good at ignoring these aspects of reality, and I can say that I’ll be glad to continue in the same line next year. (This was more unlikely in my home country, where this reality was the first thing that seemed to greet me in the morning. Have I changed since I left or have I only changed places and circumstances?)
As a result, I sometimes get the feeling of walking or rather floating a few centimeters above the ground, weightless, which also gives me much more speed in thinking and “seeing” ahead. I hope I won’t forget this feeling and won’t become yet another hunchback under a pile of worries that really weigh much less than one might be tempted to think.
6. The financial situation glass
First, there are two things that will make me happy: a piano and a new laptop. Second, there will be my own house, and everything that goes with it. I’m still pondering on the order of these two material signs of success in my mind. In stead of this, my concern should really be with my monthly earnings, which I should constantly try to increase. Somehow, I might be able to do that, and I hope that a 2006 “might” will prove weaker than a 2007 “must.” I can only hope that 2007 will be no worse than that.
7. The setting priorities glass
At this point I would like to pour all previous drinks into a larger coffee latte glass and get a six-layer drink that would make quite some pretty picture if you think about it: the lightest layers on top – the “learning” layer with a sweet soft cream of “relationships” over it, supported by the heavier layers of “time management”, “health”, and “environment”, and finally, the heaviest of them all, the “financial” layer.
I hope the drinks I prepared for myself in 2007 were light enough for you to enjoy!
Have a very happy New Year!
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