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hello new year

January 6, 2011

Well, that’s that.

Somehow, inexplicably, it’s 2011, my thesis is as finished as it will ever be and out of my hands, and graduate school feels strangely, surreal-y, so very long ago. In approximately 5 weeks time, Chris and I will load up a truck, say goodbye to our friends and family, and zoom (nay, granny drive cautiously and slowly) across the country, bound for a funky old apartment with a claw foot tub in the Queen Anne neighborhood of Seattle. I should add-neither of us has a job yet, and we (he, especially) have gone through a lot of effort and expense to make this move happen.

I should also admit something. I have a nasty, scratchy, annoying-to-those-close-to-me habit of building things up in my head and gabbing incessantly about them until I crash down into despair and realize that perhaps said things weren’t as awesome as I thought. I didn’t want to admit it, but I feared that Seattle might have been destined for a similar fate. I was convinced it was where I wanted to live, yet-I had never been there. So it was with a small amount of trepidation that I boarded a plane on October 29th to meet Seattle for the first time.

I needn’t have worried.

We bonded immediately. I fell hard for the surprisingly steep and numerous hills, the still, gray-shrouded beach past Ballard, the fleecy blanket of clouds that somehow made the evergreens and water shimmer and sing. The houseboats, ferries, bridges, and sea planes (apparently I was born to live in a maritime city). That even in the middle of downtown, you’re very much aware of being enveloped by nature. The pickle plate at Boat Street Cafe. I’m going to stop myself before I gush too much about a city I have only spent 48 hours in, but I think it’s quite clear that I am vastly looking forward to February.

I’d also like to talk about New Year’s resolutions. I don’t really do them well. Regardless, 2011 is a big year for (new city! marriage!), and there are many things I’d like to accomplish. Writing them down will keep me more accountable, hopefully, and I plan on revisiting this list often.

1. Focus on my health

I am loathe to admit this in a public forum, but I’m an incredibly lazy person. The past three and half years of graduate school have basically been one giant excuse to overeat and nest on the couch with my laptop, and I am really beginning to feel it and notice it. I love being outdoors, and taking walks, but I don’t like regimented, repetitive physical activity because I get bored and distracted very easily. Moving to a new place, especially one as outdoors-oriented as Seattle, is the perfect nudge for me to get out of my apartment and explore both the city and the surrounding area. Chris is also selling his car, which means I can’t rely on rides anymore. It’s either walk, bike, or bus from now on. Oh, and I want to immerse myself in yoga again. Never felt better than when I was practicing regularly.

2. Start a meaningful career

It’s difficult graduating into an incredibly competitive field when jobs are scarce. I’ve launched a hard-core search but have to remind myself to be both patient and vigilant. Ideally, I would like to work in a medium-sized firm focusing on commercial, concept-based projects with a core of sustainability, humor, and creativity.

3. Start playing the clarinet again

I was a poster child for band nerds in high school. I first started playing the clarinet when I was 10, and after college continued playing in a excellent community group until I started graduate school and had to quit due to time constraints. I miss it terribly, to the point where I’ve had multiple band/clarinet related dreams. At no other time in my life is my mind so quiet and focused as when I am playing. I hope to join a group in Seattle once I have had a chance to get my chops back.

4. Focus on my loved ones

I have a wonderful group of family and friends that deserves more attention and selflessness on my part. This is even more important, now that I am moving thousands of miles away from most of them. Enough said on that.

5. Not be a slob

Because I really am, and Chris, and the small collection of nice things I’ve acquired don’t deserve this. I’m an interior designer, for crying out loud. Time to shape up and get my home in order. It’s also painfully obvious how much more organized, productive, happy, and healthy I am when my home is clean and happy.

6. Develop my personal style

Graduate school is a great excuse to revert to one’s undergraduate days involving hoodies and ponytails, and I am classic case of this. However, I’m not 18, I’m 27, and entering a professional and creative workforce in which I need to groom and dress myself appropriately, instead of going six months (ahem) without a haircut and keeping a bizarre assortment of not-quite-right separates in my closet. I also commit to not going on major shopping outings without someone who is better at dressing than I am. Mindy, I am looking at you. Ballard and Fremont boutiques once we are both employed?

7. Be more social

A dear friend recently called me an old soul. This is an incredibly true and revealing statement. I have loner tendencies and love my personal space and quiet, and would much rather stay in most nights. I want to explore Seattle and meet new friends and act a little bit more my age. There will be plenty of time for being an old soul when I am actually old.

8. Take more photos

I have 4 cameras and can’t remember the last time I documented life. This is ridiculous.

9. Take an art class

I miss creating purely for art’s sake, without having to worry about building codes and floor plans and egress and the like. Particularly interested in: watercolor, photography, ceramics, glass blowing, jewelry making. Anyone have a favorite source in Seattle?

10. Acquire SCUBA diving certification

For my 27th birthday, Chris took me on a SCUBA “discover” experience off the southern coast of Italy, since we were both over there at the time. We both fell in love with it and were IMMEDIATELY hooked, and promised ourselves that once we moved it was high on our list of priorities. In Seattle, you get certified in Puget Sound!

Happy, happy 2011, all.

ps: I don’t think I need to add that writing here, often, is also a goal.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Daphne permalink
    January 7, 2011 9:40 am

    Wonderful to “hear” your voice again! And OMG – 10, count ’em TEN – New Year’s resolutions!! Wow – that’s ambitious. All good ideas, but pace yourself, Chica! I’d say focus on the first 5 for 2011 (especially 4!), and if you achieve all that, you’re golden. The remaining 5 will still be great resolutions for 2012! Anyway, it’s good to know you’re looking ahead and taking stock – both admirable and so appropriate given the big changes coming for you and Chris with the move! I’m sure both your job hunts will be successful, but give it time and don’t be discouraged.

    One thing to note – your list DID NOT include anything about food or cooking…or is that implied by the P.S.?

    Love X’s & O’s!

  2. January 27, 2011 1:24 pm

    Hi Sarah,

    I came across your blog in some kind of search I did on google. I love it – so glad I stumbled upon it! I have 8/10 of these resolutions on my list too!

  3. Margaret permalink
    February 1, 2011 1:24 pm

    Hi Sarah!

    The pacific northwest in February, March, April is the perfect time to get started on resolutions. I am a Seattle-lite and can definitely recommend the jewelry making classes at Pratt (currently enrolled and loving it!)

    I know how hard it can be to establish yourself in a new city and it’s easier to have a resource, I’m happy to help if you have any other questions.

  4. May 16, 2011 6:58 pm

    Hi Sarah! Welcome to Seattle. I found your blog via Orangette, and wanted to say hi. I just moved from Virginia (Arlington) to Ballard in September, so we have a little more in common than our awesome name (give or take an H). Let me know if you’d like to get together for some sort of food- or drink-related good times; my boyfriend and I are also working on making new friends in the area. I hope you’re loving the city as much as we are!

  5. May 18, 2011 5:00 pm

    I love your resolutions…especially the one about not being a slob. It’s not really a resolution of mine – it goes deeper for me.

    Welcome to Seattle – it really is a great place to live.

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