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Live, Live: Small Reasons to Survive in 2018

In 2017, I ditched the resolutions, which was a wise move. Here I quote myself, from less than a year ago:

“I’m going to allow myself to make mistakes. Instead of being so pressured and focused on making a perfect year, because there’s no such thing, I’m going to make ‘next year’s words await another voice.’ Come what may, Cheers!”

Well, it’s time to move forward. What should I do in 2018?

If I had my way, people would stop inflicting violence on each other and on the planet. I’d preserve dying species and languages, redistribute the wealth in the economy, and encourage humans to love humans, even themselves.

Okay, Gloria. Perhaps we can frame this question a little differently. Future goals are informed by the past. So, what was the most important thing you did last year?

My ideal self is always hovering between the act of reaching forward and the feeling of satisfaction. The past year would have grieved a younger Gloria, knowing that often, I stood in neither bucket. The voice of 2017 told me terrible things and threatened my very survival.

Yet here I stand, expectant and hopeful. I have no regrets of the past. The most important thing I did here was to survive.

Surviving was a blast sometimes! I took my first solo trip during spring break to London, I became a stage manager for a week at an internship, I gished with a kickbutt all-Wellesley team, I decked out my dorm floor as Hobbiton, and this fortnight I graduated from phone photographer to actual camera owner, to name a few things.

Smaller, more intimate moments happened too. Receiving hugs from tiny arms, and cuddles with my furry golden, when coming home from college. Lunch dates with friends, sharing tea in my room, finding a note on my board in the middle of a long day. Late night video calls with my mom, and watching our relationship blossom through hardship. Waking up to a silly snap or text post from Joyce.

But where there is a light, shadows are cast.

If I am to survive this coming year, I should have things to look forward to. I believe that the best is not behind, but ahead. And even if that turns out to be untrue, my experience is artillery for others to use to keep fighting.

  1. We’re brigading to Nicaragua! Can’t wait to provide healthcare to these people, and experience a new country.
  2. I’m getting an emotional support animal! When I get to campus, I want to visit the local shelter and see if I click with any of the cats there.
  3. The family is moving to Texas. No more 13 hour plane rides to Beijing and 12 hour time differences!
  4. I get to try out my new camera. Taking walks is going to get so much better.
  5. In the fall, I’m probably going to study abroad in Germany. While Wellesley is wonderful (!), I’m in love with the idea of Europe.
  6. My swim cap and goggles are waiting for me by the sauna.
  7. Flowers come in the spring!
  8. I wonder what I’ll do during the summer…
  9. My roots will grow out and I will get a chance to change up my look. Right now I’m a platinum blonde with dark, black roots coming in. What comes next? A buzz cut? A Wendy chop? Will I go blue? Stay tuned.
  10. I’m playing the Sibelius Violin Concerto! So iconic, and so much fun (and pain).
  11. There’s a man named Greg in the dining hall who says hello to me every single time. He’s a ray of sunshine.
  12. Some people think I’m a ray of sunshine on campus too. I get to see them again.
  13. I have a single dorm, a pair of headphones, a speaker, and a very Gloria music taste. Let’s dance.
  14. Being a student is fun. Scratching out notes and emptying pens and lead capsules over flat white sheets is something I actually enjoy.
  15. I’ve held on to a $20 Starbucks gift card for months, and now it’s time to use it.
  16. There are books and poems out there just waiting to be read.
  17. I better start painting again, or my paints are going to dry up anyway. Yay!
  18. I have two incomplete courses as of now. Finishing up that work will be satisfying.
  19. New episodes of Supernatural come out every week!
  20. Who can say what signature piece I will dig out of a nearby thrift shop? Only time.
  21. When I use up this body wash, I can open the one my little cousin got me for Black Friday.
  22. My problems won’t be conquered overnight, but I will keep advocating for the people who are with me.
  23. God has plans for me, plans to prosper me and not to harm me.
  24. The people I love outnumber my fingers and toes. So I’ll love them while I can.
  25. Things get better, people get stronger, and testing produces perseverance.

My goals? To see most of these through, if not all.

Have a New Year. If it’s a happy one, great! If it’s not, keep going, find the best in it anyway, and that will be no small success.

Gloria Sun has been certified in Mental Health First Aid since 2017, and is an advocate for mental health in her community. She is a sophomore studying biochemistry at Wellesley College and blogs about her experience on her website, Sun Requiem. Follow her on Instagram at @sunrequiem.

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