2017 Goals: The Good Year

Sometimes, I say/write things that aren’t true. Not because I’m a compulsive liar or enjoy throwing people for a loop. Not because I enjoy tripping myself up (because I really don’t).

Sometimes, I say things aren’t true because my whole life is organized around my internal processing skills (both a joy and a pain of being an INFJ personality type). Sometimes, what I actually want/think/believe takes some time to catch up to what I think I want/think/believe.

Truthfully, it’s all a bit of a pain in the ass sometimes, but it’s the way I roll.

— — — —

At the beginning of 2016, I wrote about my lofty goals for the year.

They were very much internal goals and, correspondingly, I spent much more time in 2016 trying to figure myself out and grow as a person than I have in the previous 22 years of my life combined. All the outward changes in my life were based on these internal goals–my decision to leave Thailand and move back to the United States was very much based off of an internal understanding that the growth I needed to accomplish at that time couldn’t be done in a country and culture that were so far away from my comfort zone. My decision to travel to Europe for two weeks was based on a desire to find comfort with an old friend after a jarring few months in Asia, and my decision to move to Washington, DC, was based on an intuitive feeling that it’s where I needed to be to find a bit more of myself.

Even before I decided to leave Thailand, I knew 2016 needed to be a year of internal change–and it proved to be exactly that.

At the beginning of 2016, I had an intuitive feeling that it was going to be memorable and life changing…and it was.

Now, at the beginning of 2017, I have this very intuitive feeling that it’s going to be a good year. What does good mean exactly? I guess I’ll find out, but I’ve also learned in the past few months that more often than not, I can’t simply trust my intuition–I must act on it.

— — — —

I recently texted a friend that I’ve been feeling a bit directionless lately–which was, in the moment, a true statement. That said, in the aftermath of pressing the send button, I found myself feeling very negatively that I had expressed that statement at all. I had a moment a few hours after sending that message where I thought, I think I’m feeling directionless right now…but am I really? It was a classic INFJ moment of clarity that got the wheels actively turning in my head towards a changed mindset.

It’s true that I have been feeling directionless lately but, contrary to that feeling, in the past month I’ve actually started the process of setting out a very clear direction in front of me. I realized in my moment of clarity that the feeling I had of directionless wasn’t a lack of direction in itself–it was a fear of following the direction I’m realizing I want for myself now. It was realizing that I’ve been living in my head so consistently for the past few months that I’ve kind of forgotten that taking action is necessary to accomplish anything. It was also realizing that what I want for myself now is something I really, really want more than anything I’m pretty sure I’ve ever wanted…and how unbelievably scary that is.

It’s 100,000 times easier to live the life you don’t want for yourself than to shoot for the life you desire. I know that sounds cliché, but I also believe a lot of clichés exist because they are built on truth.

— — — —

While undergoing a lot of the emotional distress I was experiencing in Thailand, I had convinced myself that I was a bad teacher and, therefore, that I didn’t want to teach. However, I recently discovered that none of that is true. I actually do want to teach–I would very much love to teach mid-upper elementary school someday.

I’ve also recently realized that I want to teach abroad again. Not next year. Not in five years. But in 2017.

I came to DC with a misplaced belief that I wanted a 9-5 job and a settled lifestyle. I now understand that, while I love this city with all my heart and see myself continuously coming back here throughout my life, the real reason I moved to DC last June was to figure out what I don’t want. I hate working in an office. I feel constricted and uninspired and I also work in short spurts rather than long strides–a work ethic that I don’t feel is conducive to an office atmosphere. I’m also not ready to settle down. I aspire to live in more places and travel a bit more before confining myself to one place.

While the thought of leaving DC scares me–genuinely because I love it so much and because I feel so damn comfortable here–leaving is, in fact, what I want for myself in the new year. It’s also what I feel like I need right now. I need to get out of my comfort zone for me.

2016 was memorable and life changing because I worked through so many fears and pushed myself in so many ways. I still have a lot of fears to work through and I am never going to stop pushing myself, but I’ve spent so much time in my head in the last year. I know what I want and it’s time for me to go for that.

I’m not sure where 2017 will take me in the world, but I know it’s going to take me somewhere. I don’t have a plan for getting there yet, but I’m also confident it will come in time. I’m excited to again foster my nearly year-long repressed love for teaching and I’m excited to explore more of the world and immerse myself in new cultures.

— — — —

We often place so much emphasis on the destination that we forget about the journey (another cliché, I know). I have a direction. I’m not sure how I’m going to get there yet, but I’ll figure it out.

2017 will be good.

I am going to make sure of that.

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I’m looking forward to being Teacher Britta again
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20 Replies to “2017 Goals: The Good Year”

    1. Thank you, Desley! I’m trying to be a little more relaxed about my goals in 2017.It’s good to have a direction, but I don’t have to have a completely formed out plan yet. My goal right now is to move abroad by the end of 2017–but if that goal gets pushed back into 2018 or beyond, that is okay too. I put so much pressure on myself to have everything figured out that I forget to live and I’ve been discovering lately that I really don’t like that. I hope you are well and I wish you the best in the New Year!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you Britta. That’s good – you’ve made it something to work towards, you’ve created a vision for future. Just work at your own pace and you will get there!

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  1. Finally getting back into the blogosphere after some time away, and I’m so glad I stumbled upon your post. I relate completely… Seven months on the east coast after Thailand and I’m itching for adventure again… I look forward to seeing to seeing what comes next for you!

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    1. Welcome back! I always enjoyed your reflective, thought-provoking posts, so I hope to read more soon. I completely understand you, there–I’ve been in DC for nearly seven months and am eager for something different, too.

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  2. Yes, you found the key to your discontent: the fear of success- or as you put it, the fear of now knowing what your direction IS! And that is the game-changer isn’t it? When I put that direction in motion for retiring over 2 years ago (!), I felt much like you, so very insecure! But life has a way of coming at you with plenty of opportunities, and you take them on one or two at a time, when it’s appropriate. Very glad to see you back to blogging, Britta! Happy New Year to you!

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    1. Interestingly, since I wrote this post, I’ve had a few more game changers happen that have changed my direction further. I’m sure I’ll get around to writing about them eventually. I think we get so caught up in society’s notion to have it all figured out sometimes that we don’t allow ourselves space and time to let our direction materialize on its own. I’ve been doing that a lot this year, and its been scary and I’ve learned to trust myself a lot–especially in the face of pressures to conform to societal expectations. That fear of success is, I believe, what leads to SO much discontent for SO many people. I’m so glad I’ve allowed myself this space and time to let life happen. I’ve learned SO much and am so much happier because of it. I agree–I’ve found that so much in life is about timing–to not rush into opportunities and to only take those that seem appropriate for where I am in life. So good to hear from you, Terri! I hope you are well–Happy New Year to you, too!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You’r insight never ceases to amaze me. I am so proud of you that you have allowed yourself to come 360 degrees in your decision making rather than caving into ego and forcing yourself to stay in Thailand or in DC as you grow. I have to admit that I found some comfort in your wisdom that it is 100,000 times easier to live the life you don’t want. I’ve been happily living the life I want for the past 4 years but have had to give up so much to do it. Lately, as I try to find work (so far unsuccessfully) in my old ‘comfort zone’ I have been wondering ‘has it been worth it? Somehow, your words made me reaffirm that ‘yes it has been’.

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    1. Oh dear Lisa, these last couple months have been so confusing. Everyday I think I want something different. My direction has actually changed since writing this post. I’ve still decided to move forward with teaching, but I’m staying domestic. One of these days, when I’m absolutely sure I know what I’m doing with my life, I’ll write a blog post about it. I think I’ve gotten so caught up in this notion that society has that we have to have everything figured out that I have a tendency to jump to conclusions about what I want without pausing to consider other options–out of fear, anxiety, what have you. I’ve definitely learned in the last few months to take every new insight in stride–eventually, those insights will culminate into the best possible/most sensible notion for me to pursue next. I still believe that it’s harder to live the life you want than the life you think you want–but I’m discovering now that the life
      I actually want is waaaayyyy different than what I was expecting to actually want, which is throwing me a bit for a loop at the moment. I would like to teach abroad one day again–but I don’t need to do that now.

      I’m sooo glad my words helped you a bit. I think you’ve one an amazing thing by taking off on your sailing adventure–I can see myself pursuing a similar adventure one day. You’ve had so many amazing experiences that most people only dream about. That’s something no one will ever be able to take away from you. I wish you the best with finding work. An opportunity will present itself in time!

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      1. Life is a work in progress. There is comfort in having a defined goal but there is so much freedom in remaining fluid. Wishing you a curved road in this filled with interesting adventure around every bend.

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  4. If you’ve discovered that teaching is what you love and still want to eventually live and travel overseas, begin looking at international schools as an option. To land positions at the better, higher-paying schools, you’ll need to earn a teaching qualification (whether a graduate diploma in education or a master’s in education, preferably with a teaching license), but it’s well worth the investment.

    Using Thailand as an example since you were here, the salaries that most English teachers make in government and private schools range between 25,000 to 50,000 baht per month. An average mid-tier international school may offer a salary anywhere between 60,000 to 150,000 baht per month, as well as health insurance, a housing allowance and annual flights. The very best ones – NIST International School, International School Bangkok and Bangkok Patana School – all pay at least 150,000 baht as starting salaries, and include a huge number of other benefits.

    The other big advantage is that you’ll be able to easily find work in almost any country, as most now have at least a few international schools. Many of my colleagues have taught in Africa, South America and all over Asia. With international schools opening at an extremely rapid pace, there are going to be even more options over the next 20 years.

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    1. Thanks so much for your advice, Dan. Since writing this post, I’ve decided to stay domestic for the time being and look into graduate programs in teaching. While I WOULD like to teach abroad again, you bring up such a good point about the opportunties licensed teachers with MA’s have in international school settings.

      I really want to focus on becoming a better teacher now and recently took an ESL job that will allow me to do that. I also think the tools and teaching methods I will acquire in a graduate school setting will benefit not just me, but any future students I have. I struggled in Thailand with the quality of education I was giving my students because even though I am TESOL certified, one month of ESL training didn’t seem like enough once I was thrown into a classroom setting.

      I’m still quite young and have the rest of my life to travel and go abroad!

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