New Year, New Adventures, New Possibilities

I roll my eyes a bit in early January when the two sides of the To Resolve or Not To Resolve camp duke it out in the battle for our new year mindset.

I personally choose to use the time to set goals for myself. The time of year may be arbitrary, yes, but we do use a calendar, so why not use it? I like to look back over the year, take time to remember some of the things I did or experienced, and acknowledge the path I took to get to December 31.

Week 52: I Bought My First Home [Score +2]

I’ve been really comfortable with my living situation.

For nine years, I rented a small house from my parents. As responsible and flexible landlords, they gave me pretty free rein to make the house my own. They long encouraged me to buy the house from them, citing the tax and financial benefits I’d gain long-term as a homeowner.

I resisted. The [silly high] expectations I had for myself made me want to buy a home that I chose for myself, not one that was conveniently available through family circumstances. I wanted to make my own decision when I bought my first home, not just take my parents’ recommendation (even though I knew it was sensible).

Nine years later, I was still renting. Then, this past spring, my tax return gave me a final kick from behind: some tax deductions really wouldn’t be a bad idea for next year.

Week 50: The [Salsa] Rhythm is Gonna Get You [Score +14]

Dance—in a pretty non-traditional sense—has been a pretty big part of my life from the time I was 10 years old. Clogging, ballroom, salsa, and Lindy Hop have all been in my repertoire at some point, but not in the last several years. I missed it, though. When I discovered a local group teaching Rueda de Casino—a casual, street-style salsa danced in Cuba—I was intrigued. In this style, the dancers switch to a new partner every 10 seconds or so when the caller calls out your next move seven or eight beats ahead of time. 

Week 49: Active Citizen Participation in an Uncomfortable Climate [Score +5]

A few times during an active legislative session, the representatives for my county gather for “Legislative Breakfasts”—open meetings with the public. I made my first appearance with the encouragement of this project.

As I drove closer on that dark and cold morning, I pictured the scene in my head: I'd walk into a room with perhaps a dozen or so fellow citizens, and the organizers would greet me warmly because they would be so glad to see a new attendee. You can imagine my (pleased!) shock when I approached the venue and saw a parking lot overflowing with 200 or more cars.

Week 44: From High Tea to Gatsby: New Zealand’s North Island, Part 1 [Score +67]

New Zealand is 8,200 miles from my home in the Midwestern United States. Before January of this year, I let that distance keep me from seriously considering making a trip there myself. I told myself, “Some day I’ll do it." Apparently, what I needed was the right carrot dangled in front of me: an invitation to join two friends who have visited multiple times and could share their familiarity with me. On February 13, I landed in Auckland, New Zealand, and my first-ever two-week vacation began.

The first time I fainted was a couple days before my eighth birthday. It wasn’t until I passed out in the front of a classroom in middle school that I went to the doctor and got a diagnosis: vasovagal syncope. With this history in mind, you now understand why this intrepid activity is particularly significant: I tried acupuncture, a process which includes having 45 needles stuck into my skin and left for 24 minutes.