2011: The Year of Gratitude

February 9, 2011 § 5 Comments

illustration by Roberta Baird

Oh, hi! I am back. The new year has prompted me to return to this blog. February third was the first day of the Chinese new year. And I want to publicly roll out my new year resolutions here, in hopes that the more people I share my resolutions with, the more people I have to hold me accountable.

2010 was a rough year for me and some of my loved ones. And the primary reason that I have gotten through the past year in the manner that I have–still whole and healthy–is because of the love generously given to me from my friends. As I enter this new year, I feel so lucky and grateful.

A new year is no free pass–we are not magically handed a clean slate. In many ways, I still carry weight from the last year, and with it the responsibility to see things through and pick up the pieces. This 2011, I am not necessarily expecting a better year, but I am confident that whatever challenges the year of the rabbit may bring, I will be able to get through it unscathed because I have my family and friends’ strength, love and support. I have many reasons to be grateful, and I wish that my everyday life and lifestyle reflects my gratitude. With that in mind, this 2011 I resolve to:

  • Welcome each morning with a sun salutation and a cup of water.
  • Appreciate what my body is capable of by giving it want it wants—no more, no less. Give it work when it wants to work, rest when it wants to rest. The only necessary ‘diet cleanse’ there is will be the only one that I will put my body through, and that is, cleansing myself from negative body thoughts and talk.
  • Express my appreciation to the Chinese teachers and mentors that I have had over the years– those who have taken the time to teach and encourage me to study Mandarin–through practicing with much greater diligence.
  • Make time each day to journal–to write for myself. I seem to make this resolution every year–some years I am better at this than others. These last couple years my journal entries have been sparse. It can be hard to carve out the space and time to do this type of writing. So, I have started a new approach. In addition to keeping my regular journal notebook, I journal on small index cards. These cards I carry on me throughout the day so that I can easily jot down any quick thoughts. At the end of the day, I date the cards, and I keep them in a small tin box where they are organized chronologically. So far, this has worked well for me, and has gotten me to write for myself much more regularly–even if it is a just a few sentences a day.
  • Single-handedly save the postal service. The postal service has been in dire financial troubles; and has recently announced that it plans to consolidate or close 2,000 branches. With email, sending physical cards, invites and letters have turned into a rarity. I share in LA Times columnist Meghan Daum’s sentiment (“In Praise of Snail Mail”) that nothing can wholly replace mail in its original and physical form. So, I will take it upon myself to send the post office an influx of letters, care packages and greeting cards created and written by yours truly. And for the sake of the postal service, I will self-sacrificiously encourage my friends to send me more snail mail.
  • Less buying new things. More homemade gifts.
  • Partner with my sister Madeline in her sincere and noble efforts to preserve our family’s recipes and history through her blog Restaurant Baby. The more I am confronted with the transient nature of things, I find myself grappling with the question of how I can pay my respects to the people and the things that have come before me. Restaurant Baby is Madeline’s and my way of paying homage to our roots as daughters of restaurant owners.  More and more, I see the value of preservation as a means of knowledge sharing, and a necessary part of true progression; so is creation. Restaurant Baby, intended to be a constant work in progress, is home to my family and childhood recipes, as well as new recipes that Madeline and I can claim as our own.
  • Be a good friend by helping my friends stay on top of their new year resolutions and life goals.

Well, there you have it- my short list.  I will close this with a humble thank you to my loving friends who have stuck with me through thick and thin. Wishing all a brilliant year of the rabbit!

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