Another Lap Around the Sun; 23 Priorities for Year 23

Today is my 23rd birthday, & for the past week or so, I have been consumed by reflecting on the past year & pondering what is to come during my next lap around our Solar System. While this my normal thought process during the first week of February, this year is a bit different. This year, is the first time since I was 5 years old, that I am no longer a student. In fact, between regular semesters & extra summer classes, this is the first term in 4 years that I haven’t been drowning in school work. The first time that I haven’t been working towards a long term goal: graduation.

People ask me fairly often what my plans are, whether or not I’ve applied for full time teaching positions, if I’m going to stay in the Duluth area, or if I’m going to move. They ask me if I miss school, or how it feels to be a graduate. Somehow the phrase “real adult” always seems to work it’s way into my answer about how I’m adjusting to not being in college anymore. & that’s just it, I’m adjusting. The thing is though, I’m not adjusting to working full time, or to paying bills, or even payments on my student loans (gross). I’m adjusting to being me. This is the first time that I haven’t described myself first & foremost as a student, or an Education major, & I’m not quite a teacher yet (which I’m okay with).

So, I’m adjusting to what it means to be Orianna.

Most importantly, I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about who I want that to be,  the parts of myself that I am happy with, those that I want to improve, & the activities I want to devote my time, money, and energy to. So this year, I’m not in a hurry to get a full time teaching job, unless one falls in my lap. I’ll spend this year working at the Brewhouse, substitute teaching, experiencing life outside of studies, & enjoying being me.

So, without further ado, here are 23 things I want to do in Year 23.

(Sort of in a particular order, but not really. Could push shuffle & it would not alter the meaning of the album or the thought process.)

  1. Read More – I feel like this is pretty self explanatory, I have always had a very deep love for books of all kinds. I have been known to call them my friends from time to time, & I believe without a doubt that through books I can live a thousand lives in one lifetime. No matter how much I already read, there’s a great chance, I can read more. So, I’m starting this off with my birthday present to myself: a Book of the Month subscription; I’ve been wanting one for a few years now.
  2. Watch TV Less – See all the other things on this list – If I’m watching TV I’m probably not doing those things.
  3. Crosswords – Since graduating about two months ago, I haven’t been exercising my brain very much. I’ve always thought doing crosswords was incredibly sophisticated, but that I wasn’t really intellectual enough for them. WRONG. I am! Like most skills that improve with practice, I am getting better at them, & plan to continue to do so. Crosswords are a workout for your brain! They are so satisfying when you complete them, & I thoroughly enjoy the process of working on them, consulting friends for clue solutions, & the small surge of victorious joy when you figure out a really tough clue. 
  4. Write More – This one is hard for me. On some days I feel creative, & have an insatiable urge tell someone (or the internet) the random thoughts mulling about in my mind. A spontaneous motivation to string words together & personify objects. But on other days blogging feels like a chore. This was especially true for me while I was traveling & completing my EdTPA, which is quite unfortunate, because my experiences while in Europe were so rich, I wish I would have spent more time writing about them. Anyway, this year I want to 1. Blog more (says pretty much anyone who as ever had a blog in the history of blogs). 2. Write random stuff down. Courtesy of my friend Cedar, I am trying to write down random things. Dreams, ideas, quotes, recipes, lists, memories, jokes, goals. Anything, everything. Particularly just writing without thinking about what I’m writing, or being concerned with the writing being eloquent, clever, or inspired. This is really an important goal, because writing has proven to be very therapeutic & enjoyable for me. Now that I’m not in school, I want to explore more of my writing for pleasure, rather than for academia.
  5. Learn More about Brewing & Beer – I work at a Brewery, & as far as most 23 year old women are concerned, I know a decent amount about beer. From a chemists perspective though, there is so much more that I can learn, & am interested in learning! So many good beers to try, so much learning to do. I repeat – one of my goals is to DRINK MORE BEER.
  6. Visit At Least One New Place – This is a promise to myself that I made at some point in high school. The promise was that I would buy at least one plane ticket & travel somewhere new at least once per year. Because I just returned from two months in Europe & am financially recouping, traveling again, while very appealing in my dreams, is not necessarily looking good for my pocket book. I have been flirting with planning a trip to Belize next winter, & in order to do this, saving money with the intent to travel needs to be a priority.
  7. Scuba Dive at Least Once – The single happiest moment in my entire life was scuba diving at The Poor Knights Islands in New Zealand. It was B E A U T I F U L. I’m talking, crying in my scuba mask beautiful. I haven’t jumped back into the ocean in a BCD since, & that was nearly two years ago. That is not going to fly again this year (SEE Above: Belize).
  8. Practice Photography More – Photography is something that I enjoy mostly because it forces me to stop & smell the flowers. It also allows me to show people what I see from my perspective when I stop & smell the flowers. Perhaps you could look at it as showing people what, in life, makes me stop & smell the flowers. No, I’m not talking about photographing flowers. I am fortunate enough to have a really nice camera, & to live in a really beautiful state – I’m going to take advantage of those luxuries more.
  9. Get Back in the Pool – Mental & physical health priority. I love swimming. I have always loved swimming. I stopped swimming because I got busy, & I became unmotivated. But swimming has always helped me process life events, organize my thoughts, produce endorphins, & plain ole’ feel good about myself. It’s time to get back in the pool.
  10. Spend More Time With Family – Also fairly self explanatory. I easily get caught up in daily life in Duluth, & because my family doesn’t live in Duluth, I don’t spend a lot of time with them. I need to take the time to do so.
  11. Learn to Cook New “Go-To” Dishes – I’m getting kind of sick of spaghetti & tator tot hot-dish being the only meals in my cooking wheel house. I think I need to spread my wings a bit. Wings, maybe I’ll learn to make killer wings. 
  12. Stop Apologizing for things I don’t have to be sorry for. More on this in a later post perhaps – but “I’m Sorry” should not be the go-to response whenever I am insecure about something I’ve done or said.
  13. Be more crafty – First, I want to learn how to hand letter. It‘s pretty, do I need any more of a reason? Second, I got a Cricut for Christmas, & have next to no idea how to use it. Looks like hours of Youtube tutorials are in my near future.
  14. Wake Up Earlier/ Go To Sleep Earlier – I always feel more motivated & accomplished after a good morning. (Also find this super ironic because I am completing this blog post at nearly 3am)
  15. Have Less Stuff – Declutter my belongings & my life. Welcome the feeling of freshness and purpose for all of my belongings, but letting go of the things without purpose.
  16. Learn a New Language – While I was in Europe I was so painfully aware of my lack of lingual skills. Obviously this is not something that can be accomplished in a mere 365 days, but I would really, really, like to start learning a new language. 
  17. Explore more of Duluth – Shops, cafes, restaurants, bars, trails, etc. I’ve recently realized there’s a lot I haven’t tried in my city! 
  18. Loving the Skin I’m in – I am confident, & I am proud of who I am, but I definitely want to feel more at ease in my own skin. Whether that is physically at ease, mentally at ease, emotionally at ease, it doesn’t matter. It is no longer about embracing my awkwardness & who I am, it is about OWNING it.
  19. Discover New Music – Music used to be a really important part of my life, from hearing my dad sing & play guitar, to the countless hours spent practicing my sax, or singing along to the radio in my first car (wowza do I miss those subwoofers). Lately, it’s taken a seat on the back burner, & I haven’t spent as much time listening to new music, instead I settle for familiar music that I know I enjoy. The problem is, that I know I am missing out on copious amounts of incredible music by neglecting to branch out.
  20. Spend my money/time more intentionally – I spend a lot of time at work, and I work hard to make the money I do. In order to make the most of it, I need to spend the time that I’m not working more intentionally. Intentionality behind the money I do make, also transfers into intentionality behind my time. Do I value my time enough to make smart choices about money? Time is money.
  21. Spend more time near/ on lakes – I originally moved to Duluth because I was so drawn towards Lake Superior, but because I work at a busy restaurant in Duluth, MN, my summers are filled mostly by serving french fries and pints of beer, not by dishing out waves. (HORRIBLE surfing/water/wakeboarding joke? Maybe?) While the money is good, spending time on lakes in the summer brings me a lot of joy, so I want to do more of it. Again, lucky me, the state I live in is perfect for that – LAND OF 10,000 Lakes? I think we’ve got this one covered. 
  22. Be less Jealous – Generally speaking, I am not a jealous person. But lately, I have struggled with jealousy when I see other people experiencing the things in life that I long for right now. It has nearly destroyed friendships & caused me to push people away this year. Jealous is an ugly ugly feeling, & paints a retched color on the filter that we all see life through. & While I know that not everything will go perfectly while I am 23, I do have the ability to determine how I respond to external events, & I do not choose to respond with jealousy anymore.
  23. Love More, & Tell People I Love Them More – If I fail to do all of the other things I listed here, I will not give up on this one. Above all else, I will LOVE more. Love my family more, love my friends more, love myself more. Part of loving MORE, is telling people when they make you smile, telling people when they inspire you, telling people when you miss them. One of the most incredible feelings in the world is one someone tells you that you have made an impact on their life, that they appreciate you. Hell, it feels good to hear that someone enjoys your presence on this simultaneously tiny & enormous planet. So this year, I will LOVE PEOPLE MORE.

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