Kissing the Old Year Out, Kissing the New Year In

 "One minute to midnight, one minute to go, one minute to say goodbye before we say hello. Let's start the new year right, 12:00 tonight, when they dim the lights let's begin. Kissing the old year out, kissing the new year in. Let's watch the old year with a fond goodbye and our hopes as high as a kite."
-- Irving Berlin, sung by Bing Crosby

Tonight at midnight, 2017 will die, and 2018 will be born.

For the last couple years, to mark the beginning of the new year, I write myself a letter. The letter outlines my goals, hopes, ambitions, and obstacles as best as I can predict them. Last year's letter started with an unequivocal statement: "2017 has to be a breakout year."

And it was. 

The big highlight for me was getting into Stanford and starting my studies there. I couldn't be happier with my first term -- I have learned so much, discovered new opportunities, and shifted the way that I think about education policy and about my own future. No longer does thinking about my future make me feel stressed (or at least as stressed as before), but now it's mostly excitement about the directions I could take myself. I feel agency. I feel independent. I feel good.

I'm also healthier than I've ever been before and in better physical shape than I've been before -- that was a central goal of 2017, too. Writing more was a goal, and clearly with the daily blog I have exceeded even my own wildest expectations from last January. I also said I wanted to feel happier and more confident, and be a better person. I think I accomplished all of those, too. 

So, to paraphrase Irving Berlin, as I watch 2017 die tonight, I will say a fond goodbye. My hopes for 2018, though, are high as a kite. 2018 will be the year I earn my master's degree, and I transition from higher education back to the workforce. I will be moving locations again in 2018, but I don't know exactly where to yet, and I don't know exactly what I will be doing. 

So what do I want 2018 to look like?

I want to be even healthier and more fit. I want to wake up early every day, and I want to work out every day. I want to be much more mindful -- which means more yoga, more meditating, more stretching. More time away from my phone an laptop. I'm running a half marathon in February, and I want to run a full marathon by the end of the year (this is a goal I failed to meet in 2017 -- by the time I was ready, I could not find one in a place I could be). I also want to eat significantly healthier -- I do great when I'm living by myself, but being back home and around all the holiday festivities has exposed the shallowness of my discipline when it comes to food. I need to be better at this.

I also want to read and write more, but differently than I have been. I am purchasing student access to the New York Times and will read it every day. I want to engage more with what's happening in the world -- and I want to write about what's happening, too. The daily blog will be ending in 2018 -- I will explain why in another post, but the main reason is I want to spend my time on quality and engagement, rather than quantity and frequency.

I have lots of big goals and big ideas for this year. 2018 is a clean slate and I can't wait for what it will bring. Here's to our highest of hopes becoming real this year.