I never really finished the year 2022.
Instead of at a New Year’s Eve party, I found myself on a plane from Chicago to Paris, working on a research essay and drinking merlot. For four of those hours, I spoke with my neighbors— a newlywed couple on their third attempt at a honeymoon— who, I learned, have three adult children from a previous marriage, enjoy the occasional British romcom, and have run their very own bakery in Wisconsin for nearly a decade. By the time we reached France, the 1st of January had already beaten us there by eight hours and twenty minutes.
Around this time of the year, I usually like to sit down and reflect over my goals in life. I’m a person who enjoys making complex plans and timelines, measuring and analyzing my progress, and challenging myself to be the best version I can be. I’ve noticed recently though that my feelings towards achievement and productivity have shifted. Living in West Africa for the past year and a half has shown me that many things in life often move at their own pace and on their own timeline. Depending on where one’s cultural mindset is, this can be either aggravating or freeing.
Instead of drawing up any detailed charts this year, I’ve decided to embrace this mindset of “slowing down” in order to explore who and what is most important to me. Practically speaking, this means not taking on as many commitments this semester, working on building and maintaining my relationships, and actively scheduling periods of real rest and reflection. I am, of course, grateful for the immense privilege I have to be able to live life in this way.
Just like the end of my 2022, I don’t have a grand way to resolve this post. So here, I’ll leave you, with my best wishes for the new year.