One of my favorite times of the year is when I sit down to come up with my next year’s list of goals. I love this exercise because it allows me to think about what I want to accomplish in the coming year while pushing me to think outside the box and to challenge myself.
“Hey, Dan? Calm it with the sports references.” I know, this is my third sports-referenced blog post title in the past few months, so I guess you could say I’m one overtly-masculine grunt away from being a full-blown athlete. But let’s save the conversation about my transition into a sports icon for another day so we can get on to the actual matters at hand.
Having recently made my way back into the world of academia, I decided to take a stroll down memory lane by leafing through some of the papers I wrote during my time as an undergraduate student. One that stood out to me was a book summary I wrote about Susan Cahalan’s bestselling memoir Brain on Fire.
My second year of college found me doing everything I could to be involved on campus. I wanted to have the quintessential college experience of rushing from activity to activity as a student, but the only “activities” I rushed to and from were ice cream and pop tarts. It wasn’t my best year. So after some soul-searching, I decided to apply to write for the school paper.
Today I want to share something I wrote and then proceeded to keep to myself for over four years. I wrote it at a time when I was vulnerable and searching, and I have been scared to share it because I knew that doing so would highlight the flaws I wish weren’t still so visible in my life. I would have probably continued keeping it to myself if it weren’t for the events of recent weeks, but before I dive into that story, here is what I wrote in July 2014:
My goal to “join a group” has hung over my head throughout the past year. This is primarily because I would go back and forth on which group to join. I initially considered joining a running club, but I decided against this after straining my knee and observing how unnecessarily energetic those in athletic clubs tend to be. So after the dream of joining a weekly running club ended, I began to set my sights on something much more sedentary. And that was when I decided to join a book club.
This marks my first attempt at writing a blog post that consists of me reacting to a journal entry. It’s kind of like those YouTube reaction videos, but minus the internet celebrity and visual appeal.
I woke up on the second morning of my Canada adventure feeling rested, and like the day before, I pushed myself to enjoy the morning instead of rushing. Once I was finally ready to go, I packed my belongings and drove down to the beach for a final swim before beginning the trek back to Ohio.
“Do Something Crazy”
That phrase has haunted me ever since I set it as a goal I wanted to complete as a 23-year-old. Looking back, I can see that I wanted to do something that would shake me out of my incredibly comfortable zone, but I have spent the months since then struggling to find an activity that would be considered “crazy.” I had almost given up finding something creative when an idea hit me. What if I did a spur of the moment weekend trip to Canada? I thought about it a bit more and was soon raring to begin what I was sure would be an unforgettable weekend.
Of all the goals that I set in October 2017, the one to “Put an end to any grudges” has intimated me the most. This is because I tend to cling to grudges with the vice-like grip of a toddler clutching their favorite toy. Knowing this as I planned the upcoming year’s goals, I decided to attempt to abolish this practice.