RESOLVED 2015!!!

Thursday, January 1:  Happy New Year!! It’s that time of year again, time to give some thought to the year ahead.  I’m always enthusiastic about turning the calendar to an untarnished new year, and getting a fresh start on what I hope will be the life of my dreams. However, I know it’s a challenge to keep myself disciplined. Accomplishing my New Year’s Resolutions in past years has always been a mixed bag. I achieve some of what I set out to do, and other things I don’t even touch.

“If you have the capacity to be more than one thing, do everything that’s inside of you.” ~ Bishop T. D. Jakes

This is the problem. I want to do everything that’s inside of me. And because of that, I actually never get anything done!

the big dreamer :-)

the big dreamer 🙂

I like to think about what I want to accomplish in different areas of my life.  So here are my resolutions for 2015:

  1. Health:
    1. Try to walk 3 miles at least 5 days a week.  I was doing this regularly in Virginia, but ever since I arrived in China, my walking habit has fallen by the wayside.
    2. Eat healthier food, especially vegetables. I have had stomach problems almost constantly in China, and I need to remedy that situation as it really ruins my outlook on life when I don’t feel good.
    3. DRINK WATER!  This is something I never think to do.  I’m afraid my body is in a state of constant dehydration.
  2. Finances:
    1. After my six-week upcoming holiday, when I’m sure I will spend every little bit I’ve earned on travel, I should attempt save as much as possible to take back home with me in July.
  3. Writing:
    1. Send out at least 20 query letters to agents when I return home in July. I finished the third draft of my novel in May of 2014, but I haven’t yet sent out a single query letter.
  4. Photography:
    1. Be bold!  Practice using the manual settings on my camera and experiment with photos.
    2. Get a photo editing program and play around with photos.
    3. Take a photography class when I return to the USA in the fall.
    4. Rejoin Vienna Photographic Society when I return to Virginia.
  5. Travel:
    1. Travel with Mike up to Yangshuo and Guilin and into Hunan Province, specifically FengHuang and Zhangjiajie, in January. DONE!!
    2. Boats on the Yulong River near Dragon Bridge in Yangshuo

      Boats on the Yulong River near Dragon Bridge in Yangshuo

    3. Travel with Alex into Yunnan Province, especially to Lijiang, Shaxi, Dali and the Stone Forest. DONE!  
    4. I’ll fly solo to Myanmar and stay there for about 2-3 weeks during February, visiting Mandalay, Bagan, Inle Lake, Yangon, and anyplace else we can squeeze in. DONE!
    5. Continue exploring more of Guangxi province during the spring semester, specifically Bama, Mingshi Tianyuan, Zuo River Scenic Area near Chongzuo City, Weizhou Island and Beihei, Sanjiang, Daming Mountain, Longhu Mountain, Huangtao Ancient Town, and Chengyang Wind and Rain Bridge.
    6. Go to Hong Kong for a long weekend.
    7. In Nanning, go to the Liangfengjiang National Forest Park, Guangxi Ethnic Relics Center and the Museum of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, and the Guangxi Science and Technology Museum.
    8. Return to Ping’An and the Longji Rice Terraces in early summer.

      Nine Dragons & Fiver Tigers rice terraces in Ping'An

      Nine Dragons & Fiver Tigers rice terraces in Ping’An

    9. Visit Bali or Sri Lanka or Malaysia when I leave China, on my way back to Virginia in July.
    10. Go with Mike to Iceland as we intended to do last year but weren’t able to because of his mother’s passing away.
  6. Profession:
    1. I still don’t know what I want to do when I grow up.  I teach English abroad as a means to an end: to travel.  After countless futile job applications, I no longer have any hope that I will ever break into the field in which I got my Master’s, International Commerce & Policy, mainly because of the age discrimination that runs rampant in America.  Thus, I may attempt to simply return to Northern Virginia Community College in the fall; after that I might attempt to go to Japan to work for one semester in Spring of 2016.  That’s my thought at this moment, anyway.
  7. Language and knowledge goals:
    1. Study Chinese at least 10-15 minutes every day.
    2. Try to learn one new phrase a day.  Make it mine!!
  8. Social:
    1. Try to be more proactive about making friends.  I tend to sit by and wait for people to forge friendships with me, but I need to be bolder and braver about making overtures.
    2. Try to invite someone new to do something once each month.
  9. Spirituality:
    1. Begin a meditation practice, starting with at least 10 minutes a day.
    2. Read books about Buddhism, pilgrimage, spirituality, along with my other reading.  
  10. Reading:
    1. Read 25 books. Here are some books on my reading list for this year:
      1. China Dog by Judy Fong Bates (January 17)
      2. My Last Empress by Da Chen
      3. The Crazed by Ha Jin (March 1)
      4. River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze by Peter Hessler
      5. Colors of the Mountain by Da Chen
      6. The Good Earth by Pearl Buck
      7. Equal Love by Peter Ho Davies
      8. Tales of a Female Nomad by Rita Golden Gelman (January 31)
      9. On the Road by Jack Kerouac
      10. The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert
      11. The Memory of Running by Ron McLarty
      12. The House on the Lagoon by Rosario Ferre
      13. The Time it Snowed in Puerto Rico  by Sarah McCoy
      14. When I was Puerto Rican: A Memoir by Esmeralda Santiago
      15. The Happiness of Pursuit by Chris Guillebeau
      16. Still Life with Bread Crumbs by Anna Quindlan
      17. Fresh Air Fiend by Paul Theroux (finish)
      18. Video Night in Kathmandu by Pico Iyer
      19. American Romantic by Ward Just

NOTE TO SELF: You have the day ahead at your disposal. Don’t think in terms too great. Think about only what you can accomplish in a day. 🙂

At first dreams seem impossible, then improbable, then inevitable.

~ Christopher Reeve


Ultimately, my dream is to combine writing and travel somehow, either by planning and offering writing retreats in far-flung parts of the globe, or by going abroad for several months at a time and writing like my life depended on it. Writing retreats would combine my natural teaching ability, my wanderlust, and my writing dreams. However, I feel the first step is to get published, so I can establish some credentials, and some credibility. One step at time….. I would love to hear some of your resolutions for 2015.  Please share! 🙂

Categories: Americas, Asia, China, Expat life, Guilin, Holidays, Longji Rice Terraces, Nanning, New Year's Day, New Year's Resolutions, Qing Xiu Shan, Travel, Virginia, Yangshuo | Tags: , , , , , | 54 Comments

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54 thoughts on “RESOLVED 2015!!!

  1. I never make resolutions 🙂 Happy new year to you!!


  2. First of all the photo of you is fabulous! Next, phew what a lot of resolutions and challenges you’ve set yourself, awesome 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks so much, Gilly, for your kind words. It is a lot of resolutions, and I’m already failing on some, especially the Chinese study!! Why I can’t get motivated to study languages is beyond me. At least I have the intention. 🙂


  3. Those are ambitious plans you’ve made! Mine are much lazier – simply to live this year as best I can, and to try to act on impulses more often.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Acting upon impulses: I like that, Carol. I think that’s a very good resolution. As I commented to someone else, I’m already having trouble on some of my resolutions, especially the Chinese study! I’m hopeless in that regard. 🙂


  4. I like your photographic and travel resolutions – how envious I am of your travels! Have a powerful year!


  5. I remember you writing an enormous list of resolutions last year – I wonder how well you met them? You do seem to be very ambitious! I agree with you re: walking and water and wish you well with the rest 😉
    The only plans I have for this year is to eat less, drink more (water), walk more (once I get this foot injury hopefully sorted) and to find my dream house and garden. Not to much to aim for.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know Cathy personally, I am proud to say, and trust me, this list is, for her, entirely doable! I remain in awe!

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’m always super ambitious, Jude, but I usually fail at lots of my resolutions. At least by writing them I do generally keep them in the forefront of my mind, even though I’m too lazy to follow through consistently. I addressed most of my resolutions from last year in my “twenty-fourteen” post, but I never did one iota of travel writing. I did finish my novel, but have yet to send out a single query letter. 🙂

      Finding a dream house and garden, that’s a good one. And one that will keep you quite busy, I would think. Good luck with that!


  6. I read Tales of a Female Nomad by Rita Golden and it’s good. I think you’ll relate to it, although I think you have much more of a plan than she did.

    It is hard finding a job at our age. It’s not just our age, it’s that employers want exactly what they want and are willing to do without until they find the perfect someone. It really sucks that talent is so wasted out there and my profession (accounting) is terrible about that. On the plus side, they’ve made the entrance requirements into the profession so bad that I should be able to find a new job in 2015 because so few young people enter the profession these days.

    I love the goals you listed! You may or may not finish them, but they are a good starting place for focusing your energies and priorities.

    Happy New Year!


    Liked by 1 person

    • Canada is just as hard on smart, talented and professional women who have the nerve to age! I was lucky to get 12 hours a week as an evening receptionist in a small law firm despite that brand new Masters degree I worked so hard for.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Nancy, Sorry it’s taken me so long to respond, but we’re at the end of our semester and I’ve been swamped. I look forward to reading Tales of a Female Nomad; I’m glad you liked it. Sometimes I wish I could travel more without a plan; being more spontaneous might help me not to worry so much!

      I agree about the job situation. The problem is that there are just not enough jobs for all the job seekers, so the companies hiring can afford to be picky. If it was the other way around, with a shortage of job seekers, I think the story would be different. Simple demand and supply. Right now the hiring companies call all the shots and job seekers can’t afford to be choosy.

      Thanks for your support on my goals. I always make too many, but by aiming high, I at least accomplish something. If I never aimed at all, I’d never do anything!

      Happy New Year to you too! One week from now, my semester, and the hundreds of final exams I have to mark, will be over, and I’ll be on my 6-week holiday. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I always have a lot of goals in several different categories, similar to yours. I use my masterlist for the year to set smaller goals within each category for any given month. From there, I make a weekly list, picking and choosing whatever makes sense. That might depend on the weather, out of town trips, visitors, things that need to be done that very week because of deadlines, etc. You get the idea. But it is important to set small, achievable, and realistic goals each week, then the big goals don’t seem to be so unapproachable and overwhelming. It’s the journey of 1000 miles that begins with single steps…


    • I’m glad to know someone else out there sets goals in different categories, Annette. I too subscribe to your small step plan; I do the same. By taking small measurable steps each week or at least each month, and sometime each day, I definitely do make progress on my goals. My biggest challenge is the goal to study a foreign language. I let each day slip by without a minute of study, when if I could just set aside those 15 minutes/day, I could begin to make some progress. Maybe if I change it to 10 minutes/day, or even 5… !!! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Well Kat, that’s a hell of a list. Going to Burma ? I’m jealous a bit. Burma is going to get spoiled before long so it’s good you are going soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know, Dai; my list is always overambitious, but I guess that’s my type A personality shining through! We’ll see what I accomplish; even if I do some of it, it’ll be better than nothing. Yes, I have my ticket to Mandalay on February 15, from Kunming. I’m going with my son to Lijiang and surrounds in Yunnan on February 5. Can’t wait! I hope you’re having a nice weekend. It’s all rain, rain, rain here. 🙂


      • Hi Kat, just a quickie because I’m using battery. In Lijiang you need to stay in the Old Town. It is very atmospheric although so touristy. But February should be very off-season so probably you can bargain for great hotel/guesthouse rates. Don’t forget to see the Naxi Orchestra playing (my highlight) and Jade Dragon Snow Mountain Park to join the old ladies in their great afternoon dances. You can also see these dances in ‘The Square’, Old Lijiang every morning and I’d love to see some videos of you joining in. I wish I was going with you too, Kat.

        Will you be stopping at Dali on your way to Lijiang ?


      • Thanks for all your great ideas, Dai, and thanks for sending the pictures too, especially as you’re low on battery power. I know Lijiang is touristy, but it sounds like there are lots of things to do around there. I’ve heard Shaxi is a little less touristy than Dali, so I was wondering if I need to do both. I was thinking of Shaxi instead. Do you know it? Let me know if you think it worthwhile to go to Dali. I’ve heard mixed reviews about it. Sadly we have limited time there, so I want to make the most of it all. I’ll try to remember to take some videos of us joining in the dancing!

        Thanks so much for keeping in touch despite my frequent absences from WordPress and Facebook. There just aren’t enough hours in the day!


      • Hi Kat. I’ve never been to Shaxi so I can’t suggest anything. Dali is a good place to visit and has lots of cheap guesthouses and some great food too. But it wouldn’t be on ‘my must visit again’ places. I would like to go again to Lijiang if ever I visit China again. We will have power in an hour so I’m sitting here uploading very short Kathmandu video clips to my Youtube Channel. What are you doing there this morning, kat ?


      • Shaxi is only about 60 km north of Dali (or is it 30?) and is supposed to be less touristy, so we may stop there instead. I’ll plan on us spending most of our time around Lijiang. That’s nice you have some power to upload some video clips. You know YouTube is blocked in China, so I can’t get to it easily.

        As for me, this morning, I just had a long Skype session with Mike, discussing his upcoming visit. Now I’m playing around on the computer, although I should be working on a spreadsheet for one of my class’s grades. Believe it or not, I’ve bought tickets for a movie at a nearby theater for 12:30; I must be crazy as I have no time to do this!! I should be at work every minute, but I need an escape, where I can just be mindless for a little while. Before and after that, I need to be booking my tickets for my Yunnan trip. That’s all I’ll be doing today, I’m afraid, booking tickets and doing that blasted spreadsheet. 🙂 What else do you have planned for today?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Well Kat, I have to have a shower this morning and I’m dreading going into that icy bathroom. We need some supplies so I should be going down to the city by motorcycle but Kumar is busy with accounting stuff so maybe that trip will get postponed. I have lots of emails that need answering from the Christmas/New Year period so I should try to do that today. I’ll try to get some sun up on the roof, just for half an hour.


      • There’s nothing worse than getting up into a cold house and especially an icy bathroom, Dail. I hope you survived. Do you at least have hot water for your shower? Or is that cold too? I hope you got caught up on your emails and made it into town for supplies as well. Sunshine on the roof ~ that sounds inviting. 🙂


  9. Lovely photo of you, Cathy. Your plans for 2015 sound really exciting. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Loved this! The top photo of you is gorgeous! China agrees with you, yummy troubles notwithstanding. I am pretty consistent with all my goals each year as I try not do not set the bar too high, apart from finally getting a great Masters degree, and to lose weight, which unfortunately still requires immediate attention though I did beat some really serious health issues this past year, and am again walking without a cane or a walker after a lot of really hard work. Two surgeries were also hard on me but now so last year!

    Your resolutions make me want to add to my list, especially to read more. Other than that, to make vegetable soup more often and to drink more tea, hopefully so that I can finally retire the losing weight resolution!

    So excited for your upcoming travel plans with Mike! You are very lucky to have found the balance between the best of both worlds!!!


    • Thanks, Mona Lisa! I’m glad to hear your health issues have improved and you’re now walking without a cane. I know that reduction was a great thing, as you know I had one myself. Sadly you do have to watch it because if you gain more weight, which I have, they do grow back!! I should have become an A cup!! Haha.

      I’m really stressed right now as this week is final exams and between invigilations and marking over 120 papers, and planning for my travels, I hardly have a minute to breathe. Plus I’m having some troubles with the train tickets which I’ve fully paid for but can’t seem to pick up because I need some kind of “passport authentication!!” Whatever that means. I can’t wait till this week is over, Mike arrives, and I get all my work and planning behind me. Hopefully then we can just relax and travel without complications for 6 weeks. 🙂 Take care, friend, and I’d love to know your plans for the year. xxx

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Happy New Year Cathy! I hope you can fulfil your dreams.


  12. I’m very impressed with your resolutions Cathy. I envy you your opportunity for travel and look forward to following you around in cyberspace. I read Female Nomad and actually corresponded with Rita and am now on her mailing list. She is an inspirational lady. I will join your ambition to walk more and drink more water (says she as I get up to go for a glass)…


  13. I have to agree with Gilly- you look fab, mate, tummy troubles or not 🙂 🙂
    As ever, you take one huge bite out of life, Cathy, but nothing venture, nothing gain. Noone could ever accuse you of not trying to make the most of your life. I love that last quote, and also your little ‘note to self’ made me smile. I was wondering where you were headed next, after a little ‘down time’ in the States. But what a lot of excitement you have lined up in the meantime. All the loneliness and uncertainty will be worth it, Cathy. Go for it! Have a rocking good year 🙂 🙂


    • Thanks, Jo! You’re so kind to say I look good. I am at the highest weight I’ve been in a long time, so I’m not happy about that. But I’m trying to find the time to take my walks. It’s so difficult to eat healthy here with all the oil used in every dish; I’m hoping Myanmar might have some more healthy options. And of course when traveling, I’ll be out and about walking quite a bit, which should be good.

      Jo, I love to aim high on my resolutions, but of course you know I’m not very disciplined about some of the drudgery items: like studying Chinese for instance. I spent yesterday trying to memorize the words for bus and bus station, and when I repeated them to my friend who speaks fluent Chinese, he had to correct my entire pronunciation. Argh! Hopeless I am at languages!

      I do hope I can go to Japan in spring semester of 2016, but that’s as far ahead as I want to think right now. I need to finish thinking through this upcoming holiday first!! I’ve planned almost all the time when Mike and Alex are here, but Myanmar is a mystery! I hope all is well with you. I need to get over to visit, but with finishing up exams and planning my trip, it’s possible I may not get by until early March. Then I’ll have a lot of catching up to do!!

      Take care, dear friend. Hugs and love to you. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  14. bummer, my comment didn’t get printed 😦 I wish you all the best.


  15. Happy New Year! I am in awe that you can be so organised as to make such a comprehensive resolutions list. I was asked today if I had made any resolutions, and it struck me that I hadn’t. I had to scrabble around in my brain for a while before I cam up with ‘try to read more books, because I didn’t read as many as usual last year’ and ‘don’t be tempted by all the chocolate in the house!’. I must try harder …. 🙂


  16. Just popping back to say hi, Cathy 🙂 Presume you’re working (and planning) hard? Hope all’s well? Weekend hugs! 🙂


    • Hi there, Jo! Thanks for dropping in to say hi. I’m sorry I’m so far behind in responding to comments and to visiting blogs, but we are really swamped right now with work. I have the additional stress of planning my 6 week holiday, which is no small feat as most of the holiday is in China. I have to waste a good part of one day this week trekking to the train station to get my passport “authenticated” whatever that means. All time wasting requirements, as is common with travel in China!

      I hope all is well with you; hopefully I’ll drop by to visit soon. 🙂 Hugs to you too, Jo. Have a great weekend.


      • No worries, darlin’. 🙂 I just wanted to be sure you’re ok.


      • Thanks, Jo. I may be out of touch for a while once my travels begin. I don’t plan to blog or be online much during my travels. So keep safe these next several weeks, and I’ll see you again in March. 🙂


      • Stay well, Cathy, and enjoy your time there (even the bad bits 😦 ) We’re all thinking of you. Take some hugs to keep you company for now! 🙂 🙂


  17. Beautiful and inspiring post… A very nice blog, congratulations, Aquileana ⭐

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Wishing you much luck with your resolutions. So much of what you have on your list sounds like fun (at least the travel bits do!). I have a few of the books you listed on my reading list, too. As for resolutions, I usually make a few, but I’m wrapped up in my Wellness challenge so I’m not sure I want to add to that, although I have been considering a list of 15 things I want to do this year. Not goals so much as fun things. I want to do some more exploring around the Eastern Shore.


    • Your wellness challenge sounds good, Robin. I think it’s great you can focus on one overall thing. I’m always too scattered. I should focus on Wellness for a year too. But of course I can’t leave out all the other things I love to do. I consider most of my resolutions fun things, especially the travel and reading, but some of them are “shoulds” which are not nearly as much fun. 🙂 I’d love to hear about your 15 fun things you’d like to do. Exploring near home is always a good thing too! xxx


  19. This was inspiring to read 🙂 I am currently in Virginia working on my TEFL certification to try to go teach English in Asia. You have clearly already accomplished so much and been to so many wonderful places! If you take a trip down to the Virginia Beach/ Chesapeake area I’d love to grab lunch and hear about your adventures!


    • Hi Faye, Thanks for your kind words. Good for you getting your TEFL and thinking of going abroad to teach. I’d love to meet up in the Virginia Beach area when I return home. I live in northern Virginia, but my father lives in Yorktown and I go visit him periodically. I return home in mid-July, so I’d love to drop down to Virginia Beach to meet. Keep in touch, please!! 🙂


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