It's been a few years since I've assigned any symbolic meaning to New Years'. Most of the time, it feels like an occasion of obligatory partying; four glasses of wine and one of champagne while cheering, a harrowing and very annoying metro ride back home. This year's NYE, I had dinner with Adam's family, stopped in on his brother's party for an hour, then left, arm clutching a borrowed copy of Inherent Vice for the ride home. By 11, I was in my mom's bed with a mug of tea, both of us watching There's No Business Like Show Business, passing into the new year together for the first time in, probably, a decade. It felt more special to be able to spend a quietly auspicious night with this person whom I love the most. But given where I am, having left Montreal, the city that nurtured me into adulthood, and two weeks from boarding a plane which will take me to a new home across the world, it seems like a wasted opportunity not to look back on 2015 and honour it, in a small way.
2015 gave me the privilege of time, and dared me to do with it what I wanted. I surprised myself, aiming and landing much higher than I could ever expect to: I started doing yoga, first weekly, then daily. I got over my fear of pitching. I contemplated the nuances of a second-generation Asian identity for some of my dream websites. I learned, doing a story for the Guardian (biggest byline to date), that I really love going well out of my way to unearth quirky stories about undervalued people, and am capable of typing in a car for six hours and turning a story around in a day. I was down, and up. In the month of May, I went from washing dishes at a diner in NDG to becoming a full-time working freelance journalist with anchor clients. I stopped eating meat, 85% of the time (exceptions: dim sum with my family, anything a loved one has spent seasoning and basting for hours, my Poh Poh's chicken soup), and generally started taking control of my diet in a proactive way. I met new friends, reunited with old friends, spent exceptional nights hanging out on the balcony and the living room of the du Couvent apartment, and watched them continue to grow into happy, caring, creatively and professionally successful people.
I'm not sure what I want to do or who I want to be in 2016, but I have an idea of how I would like to better myself. I want to work, harder than I have before. Freelancing gave me a lot of time to do the kind of stuff I wanted to do, but I want to find a full-time job, put in the Hong Kong OT, keep my nose to the grindstone. I want to disconnect a little more on my off-hours, because I'm learning that the Internet is something that placates my urges towards productivity and triggers my anxiety. I am committed to becoming totally fluent in Cantonese, which people tell me should come naturally in Hong Kong, but still terrifies the shit out of me. I would like to be nicer to myself, and stop beating myself up over trivial moments of slight embarrassment which nobody else remembers (just once, maybe, I can go to a party and not have to go over all awkward moments the next day in my head like an awful never-ending sports highlights reel). I want to talk less, listen more, and be more perceptive to when my friends and family need support but don't explicitly express it.
Mostly, though, this year I'm going to try really hard to focus less on me, and more on the stuff going on around me.
So here's to another goddamn new year. May we all be stronger, and happier, find love and acceptance with where we are in our lives, or at least get a firmer idea of how to get where we need to be. Isn't that all we can ask for in this world?