After the ball drops, the streamers fly, the kisses exchange, and the champagne wears out does the realization that it is truly a New Year sinks in. For those who spent the past month talking about all of the amazing resolutions they will make after the clock strikes 12, this means that effort, not words, are required. I never seriously keep to New Year’s resolutions, but I figure that if I make a post on the internet about it, I will have a better chance of actually committing to them so I won’t be shamelessly called out about my laziness.

Gym Membership!

The stereotypical resolution, basically the joke of all New Year’s resolutions. We all know someone who at the beginning of the year says that will go to the gym a few times a week, only to neglect the gym clothes and overpriced water bottle. As of this morning I actually paid for my membership, so you can bet I will use it. The problem is how much. As of now, I want to commit myself to going at least two days a week, preferably three. My goal is not to lose weight, but to become overall more healthy, build stronger heart/muscles/lungs and what not. Exercising is not only therapeutic, but the idea of dedicating time and effort to physically improve oneself appeals to me.

Journaling!

This is an activity I did daily during my YAGM year in England.. Documenting a year abroad is more glamorous than a year back in Davis, which is why after I came back I fell out of the routine. I recently met with my Spiritual Director for the first time, and she encouraged me to do restart. While my journal will not feature crazy cultural differences or exciting new places like last year, documenting what a second year of service looks like in a familiar area is just as important. This activity will also be helpful to me, as it will keep me aware of my life as it is currently.

Smarter  Eating!

This resolution ties in to the gym one, because you cannot expect to get healthier just by running on an elliptical. Now this is vague, but it is a resolution I have already been working on since I moved into the LEVN house. I drink a lot more water, and rarely drink soda (actually the soda is a work in progress, but I am drinking less). In the morning I begin my day with multi-vitamins, and a glass of warm lemon juice. During the day I eat energy bars and fruit. Lunch usually is a Lean Cuisine or leftover food, as I am hoping to eat out less. I am also trying to eat less easy food for dinner (Like delicious boxed mac n cheese or easy pizza roll slop) and cook more. I have not been as dedicated to cooking for dinner as I would like so far. But thanks to some cook books at the Belfry, I have found some recipes that I am excited to try. They are healthy, affordable, and encourage saving for leftovers.

Love!

As I mentioned in a previous blog, I experienced a loss this year. And for the remainder of my life, I will not be able to hug my Grandmother and tell her I love her. This year, I want to be more intentional about love. I am going to try to tell someone different everyday that I appreciate them. This could be actually calling a family member instead of texting them. Facebook messaging a friend from college who I have not talked to for a while and see what they are up to. Physically mailing a birthday card to a friend. Feeling love for someone is all well and good, but if you do not tell the person that they have value in their life, then that love is stagnant. Love needs to be passed along.

Appreciate the Now!

I have become aware that I spend too much time focusing on the past and worrying about the future. I need to stop this, because not only can it harm my relationships with others, but it is detrimental to my own happiness.  I cling on to memories of my own past, and to an extension, others. While it is important to keep our past in mind as it guides us today, there is a point where one can live in the past and neglect the now and future.

My mind then skips over the now, and worries about the future. Honestly, coming back from the United Kingdom, joining the LEVN program felt almost like a buffer in-between that experience and my life once the program ends in July. I am planning out what I would like my life to look like once July comes, as well as fearing what that life will be. Finances, jobs, relationships, can be scary. Because of this, I am neglecting the now.

The LEVN program offers a lot, as does year of service in Sacramento. I do not want to look back on this year and realize I missed out. So I am committing myself to taking full advantage of the program instead of just passing through hoops. The day before I wrote this blog, I had my first meeting with my Spiritual Director, and plan to continue seeing her until the program ends. I want to continue building relationships with my housemates, and take the time to get to know them. Besides the mandatory LEVN nights, I also plan to attend Wednesday worship at the Belfry. And at Belfry and LEVN nights, I plan to be attentive and focus on taking the lessons and relationships from there to better myself. I hope to grow and learn from our LEVN retreats.

Basically I need to start focusing on this year, and not the one that came before or the one that will come next. Because I will never have another opportunity like the one I am living now.

– Mackenzie

Lutheran Social Services