2019 is almost here. That is both exciting and terrifying -- exciting because of everything that’s in store for the upcoming year and terrifying because it really does feel like each year passes by faster than the last. In less than two months, I’ll be twenty. To wrap my head around the fact that two decades of my life have passed, I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting lately, thinking about who I was a year ago, two years ago, five years ago, and even ten years ago. As I’ve been considering resolutions for this New Year, I’ve also been ruminating on those I made in years past. Some of these old resolutions and my thoughts on them can be found below.
1999: Join the world.
Reflection: I was born on February 2nd, 1999, two days early, which I think is the earliest I’ve ever been on a due date.
2000: Learn to walk.
2001: Become bilingual.
Reflection: After my grandmother moved in with us, I started learning to speak Chinese. I’m so thankful to be fluent in two languages, even if I’m almost entirely illiterate in one of them (guess which one?).
2002: Work on becoming an intellectual early by employing the Socratic Method on my parents constantly (“but why??”).
2003: Meet Barney.
Reflection: I met Barney! He was very large and very purple.
2004: Master the art of monkey bars.
Reflection: I had always admired the older kids who would swing freely across monkey bars, as if it was no effort at all. I practiced every day, having my parents take me to the park after work, until I could be one of them.
2005: Understand what exactly it meant to be President and why everyone is talking about something called an “election” and an “inauguration.”
Reflection: The election in 2004 was the first time the “adult” world infiltrated mine, and I wanted to understand how the whole thing worked and how it would impact me and my family.
2006: Convince my parents to get a dog.
2007: Convince my parents to get a dog.
2008: Convince my parents to get a dog.
2009: Convince my parents to get a dog.
2010: Convince my parents to get a dog.
Reflection: This was the year we finally got a dog! We’ve had Bilbo (yes, he is indeed named after the hobbit in Lord of the Rings) for nine years now, and I’m so thankful that my parents finally acquiesced.
2011: Read more classics.
Reflection: I’d gone through Harry Potter, Artemis Fowl, and Redwall by then, and I resolved to widen my repertoire by reading Animal Farm, among other classics.
2012: Learn how to unicycle.
Reflection: I did! I actually ended up playing a unicycling mouse in a production of The Nutcracker, so no one can ever say that the ability to unicycle isn’t a useful skill.
2013: Be admitted into the boarding school I had applied to.
Reflection: Before the college application process, there was this. I’m still not sure how at 13 I was much more calm and composed about the whole ordeal than when I was 17.
2014: Put myself out there more at school and meet new people.
2015: Procrastinate less.
Reflection: This is the resolution I will have on my list every year that I’ll end up postponing to the next year with an “I’ll do it later.” Oh, the irony.
2016: Worry less about the upcoming college process.
Reflection: This was when I had just been assigned a college counselor at my school, and the entire college process was looming ahead of me. If I could go back, I’d tell myself to relax, take a few deep breaths, and not stress about things I couldn’t change and only worry about the things I could.
2017: Get into college.
Reflection: At the time, the college application process was all-consuming and felt like the be-all and end-all of my life. Now that two years have flown by however, and time has afforded me the perspective that was out of my grasp then, I realize that things were out of my hands by that point. I had done my part, and I could focus on enjoying the remainder of my time in high school.
2018: Expose myself more to corners of UChicago I don’t see as often.
Reflection: It’s hard to believe that in just a year’s time, I was admitted into UChicago, graduated from high school, and then came to Chicago and joined the UChicago community. My goal for 2018 was to meet new people, take some classes I wouldn’t have previously considered taking, and just generally take advantage of my time here to absorb as much of UChicago as I could. I think I did this, branching out from my house (Flint) in Max Palevsky to meet my friends’ dormmates in other houses and get to know their house cultures, enrolling in Russian Civilizations for my Civilizations Core course, and even joining a sorority. I know that there’s still more I can do, so this is a resolution I’ll keep on my list until I graduate.
2019: Spend more time in Chicago itself.
Reflection: I’m in a Career Advancement program at UChicago called Financial Markets. During the fall, we went on a lot of site visits to firms in downtown Chicago. Going on these site visits made me realize how much I love the city, but also how much more of it I have yet to explore. This is my pledge to the internet that starting in 2019, I’m going to gather up my friends and head into the city more often. I expect the entirety of the World Wide Web to hold me to this promise.
Evidently, a lot has changed since 1999. I’ve accomplished a lot of my resolutions and am still working on many more. What this reflection has given me is some serious perspective. Things that were huge to me even just a couple years ago, that seemed like life or death, are now just a distant memory. I can’t wait to do this in another twenty years and see how things have changed once more!