Onwards and Upwards

This time last year, I shared with you all a list of 15 new things I wanted to do in 2015. Some were culinary, some were cultural, some were personal, and all of them fed into my larger resolutions of being more proactive and getting to know — and, hopefully, love — New York better. I made the list public in the hopes that it would make me more accountable, all of you dear readers the virtual sponsors of my 2015 journey. So I feel it’s only fair, now that 2015 has officially gone, to share with you how I did.

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So what, in January of 2016, does my 2015 report card look like? Not perfect, but passable I think. Of the 15 items on my list, I confess I can definitively cross off only five. I learned to make cocktails, in large part helped/motivated by our “Eat This, Drink That” series (solidarity for the win!). I took a spontaneous day trip with the roomies to go apple picking outside the city.  I visited Astoria, multiple times in fact (though I have yet to visit the Museum of the Moving Image, the original impetus for this particular resolution). I went to a few museums, including the previously unexplored Whitney (the Guggenheim and American Museum of Natural History remain on my list, along with the Transit Museum, Tenement Museum, and the aforementioned MMI). I did in fact try one new bar or restaurant every month, including many spots in my new hood (favorites so far: Bahnmigos, Café Rue Dix, and Chavela’s, especially for brunch).  And while I didn’t roast a chicken, I did learn to fry one, thanks to Gaga, so I’m going to go ahead and add a sixth “soft check” to my list.

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The rest of the items remain, I must admit, untouched. I did not touch Proust, did not watch “The Wire,” have yet to visit Albertine or stroll across the Brooklyn Bridge. Most shameful of all, I still do not know how to ride a damn bike. But as for my larger resolutions, to say yes to more things and use my time more effectively and take advantage of my time in New York, I think I did ok. It waxes and wanes, it’s true, as housing searches, general life stress, and budgetary concerns dampen my enthusiasm for venturing beyond the confines of my apartment. But I can say with conviction that I am fonder of New York now than I was a year ago, and most certainly more at peace with it than I was my first unhappy winter here.  It’s not a whirlwind romance like some folks feel for the skyscrapers and concrete; I do not see myself staying here forever. But we’ve come to an understanding, New York and I, reaching a copacetic balance where we can, for the most part, enjoy each other’s company in peace.

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So as 2016 starts to chug along, what new things do I want to try? My overarching goals remain the same: to be braver and more adventurous, in all aspects of my life; to say yes to more experiences, because I am almost always happier when I do; to appreciate my friends and my family, the ones who make me laugh until my stomach aches and who never hesitate to offer a sympathetic ear and a hug (sometimes in person, sometimes via text or phone or Google Hangout) when I need it; and to take advantage of all the things that living in New York, 26 years old and relatively unburdened by adult responsibilities or entanglements, has to offer, because these days are fleeting.

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There are a few specific items I want to add to my remaining list of 10. I want to get away for a weekend with my and Scout’s New York squad (already in the works!), I want to take a trip with our high school gang, and I want to have a reunion with my Paris filles (commence praying for the funds and, more importantly, vacation days to make these all happen now). I want to be more diligent and proactive about my writing, both on this blog and elsewhere — to be braver about advocating for my own work and more disciplined about putting in the time to write the pieces I want to, not just the ones I can conveniently cram into my schedule. I want to drink more water. I want to read more (and spend less of my commute playing Temple Run). I want to practice yoga more regularly, because I always feel less stressed and more in tune with my body when I do. I want to remember to moisturize. And even though it’s scary, I want to start thinking about what comes next — for my job, for my personal life, and for this blog.

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At the end of each year or significant period in my life, I look back and ask myself three questions. Did I learn something? Did I go somewhere new? Did I make a new friend? Those are my real resolutions. Even that term seems too trivial: They are my guideposts, the points on my personal compass that tell me if I’ve lived an experience or a year fully, lived it well. This year, I learned how to make an old fashioned, to sign up for my own health insurance plan, to embrace my hair’s natural curls. I went to Dr. Davies Farm and Jones Beach and Crown Heights. I made a delightful bunch of new friends, including some who graduated from workplace colleagues to bona fide, see-each-other-outside-the-office pals. So all checklists aside, I think 2015 went ok. And I can’t wait to (lovingly, creatively, courageously) kick 2016’s ass.

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