Monday, January 2, 2017

The Year of the Grown Up

Lundi, 2 janvier

Over the course of the past twelve months, I've taken some big steps into the Grown Up World: chief among them, starting my first real job. But there's still a lot to be done when it comes to truly adulting (if using that word is still acceptable?), and it feels like 2017 is the year to do it.

That's right, folks. It's New Year's Resolutions time.

First up? Eat my fruits + veggies and walk my ten thousand steps. One of my resolutions for 2016 was to "take better care of myself" and a year later, I'm honestly not sure whether or not I have met that goal. Why not try again in 2017? This isn't a resolution to start working out three times a week or stop eating sugar (LOL), because I have little doubt that those are the kinds of resolutions that wouldn't last long. Instead, I'm going to try to keep up some of the healthy little habits that make me happy: trying to eat fruits and vegetables with every meal and hitting the 10,000 step mark on my Fitbit at least five days a week.

Find a grown-up place to live. If you are a person who loves me, then I have probably taken advantage of that fact in the past few weeks and peppered you with endless questions about housing that, really, only I can answer. Do I want to live in a studio? I need to have a washing machine, right? DO I REALLY NEED TO BUY A COUCH?! And so on. This panic is due in part to that fact that while I've enjoyed my shared residence, I think that it's time for me to find something of my own. In my current place, with flatmates moving in and out every few months, it is hard to feel like I am not another temporary intern. Having my own place will help me feel more settled and give me a little corner of Brussels to call my own. Unfortunately, having your own place takes work and five consecutive years of living in university dorms did little to teach me about things like paying for utilities, installing curtain rods, and hiring a lift to move furniture in through the living room window of an apartment. (Apparently in cities, this is a thing people do ... what?!) And having your own place in a foreign country means that all the utility-paying, curtain-hanging, and furniture-moving has to happen more or less alone.

Become financially literate. It's a fact that while women put more of their paychecks in savings than men, they ultimately wind up with less money in the bank by the time they retire. Not if my mom has anything to say about it! She has taken to texting me daily investment tips from my grandfather, who knows more about this stuff than the rest of us combined. While I have always been Ebenezer Scrooge pretty good at not spending my money, the next step to successful savings is understanding and making smart choices about how to invest it.

Stay ... literarily ... literate. One of my favorite goals for 2016 was to read more books. There is nothing that I love more than curling up with a good book, but it had become so easy to curl up with a movie on Netflix or a series of 30-second cooking videos on Instagram that I was no longer prioritizing books. With the help of my home library's online catalog (shout out to Fairfax County Public Libraries for being hip with the times), I managed to turn that around. Getting back into my true bookworm state was so refreshing and one of the accomplishments I am the most proud of! Some of the titles that stuck with me from the past year for various reasons were The Nightingale (Kristin Hannah), The Goldfinch (Donna Tartt)and At the Water's Edge (Sara Gruen). My most recent obsession is the Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear, as something about this 20th century lady detective fills the Downton Abbey-shaped void in my heart.

This year, I've gone a step further and created a GoodReads account to help me track my reading! Visit my profile to connect and see what books I'm loving! 

Prioritize quality. This is perhaps the most important resolution on my list. When I say quality, I'm not talking about expensive clothes and nice purses ... well, not entirely. I think that part of becoming a grown-up is figuring out what you consider to be a worthwhile investment -- of your time, money, caloric intake, and so on. For me, prioritizing quality in 2017 means allotting the time and money to cook quality meals (at least on the weekends). Spending less of my screen time scrolling through Snapchat articles on my phone and more time reading real newspapers. Taking a few precious minutes to sit down with breakfast and a cup of coffee in the morning instead of scarfing down crackers on my way to the office. And hey, maybe there might even be a nice purse somewhere down the line.

Cheers to a great new year!