Back in January, I decided that I wasn’t going to have too many set goals for the year. My plan was to have more generalized goals, with an idea about how I want my life to look, rather than a set of specific numbers to aim for. I’ve definitely heard both sides of the argument in favor of specific goals and general ones. I think the most important point for both sides is to be realistic. Push yourself, but don’t set an unrealistic standard. For example, it would be unrealistic for me to want to be in a size 2 dress by the end of the year. However, wanting to get trimmer and lift heavier weights? That’s a more general goal that I should be able to push myself towards.
I haven’t been staying as on top of my original fiction as I had planned to be this year, but on the whole, I have kept myself writing something consistently. It’s a start.
One of my more concrete goals for this year was inspired by all the Christmas cards I’ve sent out the past few years. Sending out Christmas cards wasn’t something I particularly did growing up, but moving 12,000 miles from home can make you a bit sentimental sometimes. I never learned to eat apple pie or found the joy in sending Christmas cards until I moved to Taiwan 2010. Every year since, I’ve sent Christmas cards. I prefer to write quite a bit in them, wanting to make an opportunity to actually reconnect with the person. Frequently, putting an open call out on Facebook asking who wants a Christmas card leads to a conversation online with the person when I get their address and the opportunity to catch up with someone I haven’t spoken to in a while. Life is short and we only live for so long. Sometimes people might drift out of our lives for a good reason but more often we just didn’t try hard enough to keep in touch. There are family members and friends who I feel like I stay in touch with because I see them in my Facebook feed, but I don’t know the last time I had a conversation with some of them, and I think that should change.
One way I’m trying to change it is by making phone calls or at least sending a message when I say to myself, “Wow, I haven’t talked to so-and-so in a while. I wonder how they are?” Don’t wonder. ASK. Call them. Have a conversation.
Another way I’m trying to make sure I reconnect with the people who belong in my life is by using the USPS. How many days out of the week do you get something in your physical mailbox that isn’t either someone trying to sell you something, or a bill for something you’ve already bought? Not often enough, I’ll wager. I know I get excited whenever I see something else in the mail. I’ve decided to pass that feeling on by sending making sure to send at least one thing out in the mail every month. So far this year, I’ve been successful. There were some New Year and birthday cards in January, the “Hugs Keep Us Alive” T-shirt for my friend’s birthday in February, and in March I sent a copy of a storybook I wrote and printed a few years ago to a cousin of mine who likes the story.
I’m not sure yet what I’m going to send out in April, but I do know at least one phone call I plan to make. You never know how long any of us have here. 2 years and 51 weeks ago my dad passed away. Sometimes I still think about calling him. Don’t wait until you’re not busy to try to catch up with someone. The truth is, you’re probably never going to be “not busy.” Make sure the people in your life know they’re important to you.