The One-Resolution Year

January 14, 2013


Hey, I don’t know if you noticed, but it’s 2013.



How are you doing with your resolutions, guys?

Not to make you feel bad or anything, but I’m totally kicking some 2013 resolution butt. You see, for the first time in forever I’ve managed to keep every single one of my resolutions so far.


It helps that I only have one resolution this year.

But it’s a good one.

Trust me.

You see, I’m focusing on quality not quantity this year. Which is totally unlike me as I’m usually a quantity kind of girl. Maybe you’ve noticed?

What's this moderation thing you speak of?

What’s this moderation thing you speak of?

Like, last year I had thirty-six resolutions.



Even I realize that’s totally ridiculous.

And do you know how many of those resolutions I managed to accomplish last year?




That resolution was to sign up for and complete a 10K race. Granted, that 10K race happened to be on top of the Great Wall of China. So I feel that should count for like five or six resolutions, right?

Totally worth 5 resolutions. Or 25.

Totally worth 5 resolutions. Or 25.

So I decided this year I would be a tad bit more reasonable with myself and my resolutions and go with only one. Because, if last year is any indication, one resolution per year is all that can really be expected of me.

And this year’s resolution?

It goes something like this:

Do more of what makes me happy.

I know.

Best resolution ever, right?

And, if I were a normal person, I would have just left it at that.

I think we all know where I’m going with this.

(Hint: I am not a normal person.)

Instead, I made up a big long list of stuff that makes me happy. Because one of the things that makes me happy is to make up big long lists.

And, you guys, I’ve already checked five things off that list in the past two weeks. Only forty-nine more things to go! (I wish I were joking. I am not.)

Five Things That Have Made Me Happy in the First Two Weeks of 2013

1. Traveling
I’ve never done any hardcore drugs because, you guys, that stuff is scary. There’s a reason this blog is named what it is.

But I imagine the feeling I get when I’m taking a trip is similar to the one addicts get when they, well, take a trip.

Ooo, it's a glittery, rainbow train! Or I'm hallucinating.

Ooo, it’s a glittery, rainbow train! Or I’m hallucinating.

I get all jittery and excited.

I can’t sleep

And I walk around with a big smile on my face. Which probably makes people suspect I recently joined a cult. But usually ensures that no one sits next to me in the train station.

It didn’t even matter that I wasn’t going any place exotic or far-flung during my recent trip.

In fact, out of the three places I visited, Durham was the most exotic location for me, as I’ve lived in Washington, DC and New York City before.

And, while, North Carolina may not sound particularly exotic, I assure you it was like a totally different country. I mean, they had chicken and waffles and lemurs and something called drive-through prayer service.

What the what now?

What the what now?

2.    Hanging out with old friends
Aren’t old friends the best?

I mean, sure, new friends are awesome, too.

But there’s something to be said for being able to hang out with people who knew you back when you used to write angry feminist poetry and had hair like this:

And, yes, those are overalls I'm wearing. Yikes.

And, yes, those are overalls I’m wearing. Yikes.

And they have yet to blackmail you because of it. (Granted my friends wouldn’t get very far with blackmailing me. As it’s already like I blackmail myself on a regular basis on this blog.)

The main reason why I took my trip was to visit some old friends — some from college and a few from my Japan days.

Including my freshman-year roommate, who lives in Maryland and has a fancy grown-up job and fancy grown-up house and a fancy grown-up family.

But that didn’t stop her from busting into my room at two o’clock in the morning on New Year’s after I’d gone to sleep before everyone else. And then she started jumping up and down on my bed screaming, “Happy New Year! Now get back up and drink!” while I screamed back at her, “Leave me alone! I hate you! ”

Ahh, just like freshman year all over again.

 3.    Eating delicious food

I know I should probably resolve to go on a diet and lose all the cheese and cupcake pounds that I’ve gained since returning to the States.

But the last time I went on a diet, I was the most miserable person alive. I didn’t eat any carbs or sugar or drink any alcohol for three months. And I became one of those people who eat fruit for dessert.

I mean, sure, I lost twenty pounds, got super glowy skin and had visible arm muscles for all of twenty minutes.


We’re not doing that again.

Instead, this year I want to focus on eating more vegetables and healthy stuff and working out more because fitting into my pants makes me happy.

But, also, I’m not going to totally restrict myself because delicious foods also really make me happy.

And, let’s just say I ate a whole lot of happy during this trip.

Like this:

Mmm.... happy.

Mmm…. noodley happy.

And this:

Mmm.... more happy.

Mmm…. barbecued (and served with a side of butter) happy.

And this:

Mmm... deep-fried, barbecued happy!

Mmm… deep-fried tempeh happy!

 4.     Going on long, wandery walks

My favorite way to explore a city is on foot.

Sure, I could take public transportation and, actually, you know get to places before they close. And, not get lost and give myself a million blisters. But where’s the fun in that?

Besides, I’d miss the sky doing all kinds of funky stuff like this:


And walking a billion miles gives you a good excuse to eat pie.

Pie? Well, I DID walk fifty-jillion miles.

Pie? Well, I DID walk fifty-jillion miles.

Not that you really need an excuse to eat pie.

But still.

I spent most of my time in Washington, DC, taking long, wandery walks through the old neighborhoods where I used to work and live and hang out.
My old hood. Kind of.

My old hood. Kind of.

And then when I arrived in New York City, I walked all the way from Midtown to Brooklyn. While suffering from a head cold. And wearing boots that were really not exactly made to walk across Manhattan.

But, hey, I got to see a whole bunch of stuff I would have missed if I’d taken the subway.

Like this big huge rat:


And all the locks of love hanging off of the Brooklyn Bridge:


And it totally gave me a good excuse to eat this big huge pile of fried calamari for lunch.

Hmm... deep-fried calamari? Well, I DID just walk across Manhattan.

Hmm… deep-fried calamari? Well, I DID just walk across Manhattan.

Not that I really needed an excuse to do that.

But still.

 5. Coming Home
I love traveling.

I really do.

But I also really, really love returning home.

Especially when I’m suffering a head cold and I have a million boot-walking blisters on my feet and I spent twelve hours on a train next to a woman who was alternatively hacking up phlegm and eating tuna salad out of a huge Tupperware container.

It may not be as exotic as China or Japan or even, say, North Carolina, but, being home has its perks — like pajama-pants couch parties with this rock star right here:

 What’s your resolution for 2013?
P.S. You know what also makes me happy? Being nominated for stuff! And, as luck may have it, the nominations for the 2013 Bloggies are officially open! As you may recall I won the 2012 Bloggie for Best Asian Weblog last year. I can’t even imagine winning a Bloggie again, but if you’d like to nominate this here blog for a category you think it might fit, I will totally not stop you. Sadly there are no categories for the Best Blogs about Living in Barns. But feel free to be creative.

I've blathered on long enough! Now it's your turn!

  1. On January 14, 2013 at 7:01 pm MaryAnne said:

    Fabulous idea, you know, that whole happiness thing. I’m working on that one this year. Given that we are heading into the year of the snake, one that’s infamous for radical change and shedding of skin and whatnot (eeew, yuck!), I’m hoping to shift things toward calmer and happier. No specific goals this time (I’m pretty crap at following through with, like, stuff. Ever). Just do more happy-making things.

    Hey, any idea what you might be up to after this next semester? I’m thinking of 1. heading home for a bit and 2. travelling for a bit more. I do believe we are overdue for cocktails again…
    MaryAnne recently posted..What The Hell Am I Doing Here: Notes on End of Year Work Festivities in Shanghai

    • On January 14, 2013 at 7:21 pm Sally said:

      Yes, it does sound like you could use a lot more happy (and a lot less smog and damp) in your life. I think going home for a bit and traveling more sounds like just the cure… as do cocktails!
      As for me, I’m not too sure what I’ll be up to after June. I’ve thought about going abroad again for the fall, but I don’t really have anything in the works yet. We’ll see. But I think 2013 should definitely include a meet-up for the two of us!

  2. On January 14, 2013 at 8:23 pm James @ Fly, Icarus, Fly said:

    There’s a place right by where I play tennis that makes fried calamari. A whole plate of it for $2.25. I have it at least once a week. But after playing tennis, so that’s TOTALLY OKAY.

    My 2013 resolution? Write a blog post more than once a month. Sigh. I hate myself.
    James @ Fly, Icarus, Fly recently posted..Travel Photo Roulette Round #53: Serendipity

    • On January 15, 2013 at 9:04 pm Sally said:

      Ha ha. I make a resolution every year to write 2 shorter posts per week, rather than one big honking one. This is the first year I didn’t make that resolution and the first year I managed to write a post under 500 words (not this one — the Chicken and Waffle one) and update my blog more than once a week. So, umm, maybe there’s something to be said for not making resolutions.

  3. On January 14, 2013 at 10:45 pm Priya said:

    Funny, last year I had one but this year I have way more than one. And I’m already stressed out! I hope your happy list has something to do with a pony.
    Priya recently posted..Technology Hates Me, And I Kind Of Hate It, Too

  4. On January 15, 2013 at 7:52 am Gigi said:

    Have you read Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project? It’s excellent for ideas and insights.
    Gigi recently posted..How to Stay Stylish While Living Out of a Bag, Part II

  5. On January 15, 2013 at 2:58 pm kathy said:

    I will nominate you for Most Humorous , cause you totally brighten up my day when I see a new post from you.
    heck, you can even make new years resolutions seem fun.

  6. On January 15, 2013 at 3:15 pm Andi of My Beautiful Adventures said:

    Mine is simply to get back into good shape! That’s it. I just want to be healthy. 2012 was a year of indulgence for me and wow did I REALLY indulge!!! Good luck with yours, they’re awesome!

    • On January 15, 2013 at 8:55 pm Sally said:

      I hear you, sister. I have definitely overindulged myself this past year thanks to China’s dumplings and all of America’s cheese. Plus, my crazy work schedule last semester made it hard for me to find time to work out. But, luckily, this next semester is looking a lot calmer, so I’m hoping to fit in a lot more workouts. As much as I complain after I work out, it totally does make me a happier person — even if I just walk for an hour I end up feeling so much better about myself than if I sit on my couch. I just need to remember that so I get up off my couch!

  7. On January 15, 2013 at 7:06 pm Shanti Das said:

    Reading this has pretty much cheered me up from one of those silly uninspired, the-future-is-so-bleak, meh, bleh, ugh moods that come along every so often. I’ve been getting bogged down with post-festivity blues and I really needed to read about happy stuff and all that to remind me of, not only the things that make me smile, but also that I have a bloody good year to be looking forward to.

    I usually write a list of resolutions that I keep up for a few weeks and then fail at and end up getting annoyed with myself for being a failure. Instead, this year I’ve decided that re-writing the same list of aims I’ve been setting myself for the past three years is really pointless – so I’ve got just the one. Every day, whether it’s been brilliant or the complete opposite, I have to write down one thing that made me smile. It could be a hilarious moment or a kind gesture or, well, anything really and I write it down and fold it up and put it in this pretty box that I have. Then at New Year next time around, I’ll sit down and tip out all the bits of paper and unfold them all and rememeber the lovely things that happened. I think it’ll be a great way to remember the year – I’m excited to do it already!

    Anyway – good luck with sticking to your resolution and have a happy 2013 🙂

    Shanti Das recently posted..Band of 2012: We Are Augustines

  8. On January 15, 2013 at 7:52 pm Stephanie - The Travel Chica said:

    I share your goal of balancing the happiness of fitting into my pants and the happiness of eating delicious things.
    Stephanie – The Travel Chica recently posted..Photos from Central and South America: the best of the best and a few more that make me smile

    • On January 15, 2013 at 8:51 pm Sally said:

      It’s a good goal, right? But, I have to say, my diet of barbecue and chicken and waffles hasn’t really helped with the pants-fitting despite the fact that I was walking like a maniac. So maybe a new goal should be “buy more elastic pants.”

  9. On January 15, 2013 at 8:02 pm Maria said:

    Hands down this is the best New Year’s post I’ve seen yet AND not only the most realistic resolution but the most fun!
    Maria recently posted..Dinner with Bill

  10. On January 15, 2013 at 8:31 pm Tom @ Waegook Tom said:

    Ooooh, nice resolution! I’ve made a grand total of zero resolutions this year. I suck at keeping them, or just make up ones that I know I’ll do anyway, like “don’t go skydiving” or “eat more chicken.”

    Also, I totally want to ride that glittery rainbow train. Like, now.
    Tom @ Waegook Tom recently posted..Travelling As A Gay Couple

    • On January 15, 2013 at 8:49 pm Sally said:

      I think the secret to keeping resolutions is to make resolutions you actually want to keep. Like “make myself happy”. Totally want to keep that one. “Stop eating carbs.” Nope, don’t wanna do that one AT ALL. So I think you’re on to something with this “eat more chicken” resolution.

  11. On January 16, 2013 at 9:04 am Heather said:

    Now THAT’S a resolution. Keep making it happen 🙂

  12. On January 16, 2013 at 6:43 pm Montecristo Travels (Sonja) said:

    Good ones!!! I look forward to watching this space and seeing if you do in fact follow through (no pressure now!).

    For us it is the year of TRIM. Trim off fat, trim off excess stuff, trim away people that bring us down … trim the projects we don’t want at work … TRIM!! 2013 is the year of Trim.

    We are also embarking in a better way of “being and eating”. We will be adopting some more vegan approaches to food. We will mostly focus on “whole foods” and as much as possible “cruelty free” foods.

  13. On January 16, 2013 at 8:20 pm Rika | Cubicle Throwdown said:

    I love your resolution! I usually don’t make any, but this year I made one: keep traveling as long as it makes me happy – and the very next day I was offered a trip to Miami! So I already have conquered my resolution too 🙂
    Rika | Cubicle Throwdown recently posted..Expats don’t have everything. Weird, right?

    • On January 16, 2013 at 8:24 pm Sally said:

      Wait. I’ve changed my mind. I’ve decided that I TOO want to keep traveling as long as it makes me happy.
      Okay…. um…. when can I expect someone to offer me a trip to Miami?

  14. On January 17, 2013 at 12:36 am cosmoHallitan said:

    I love this! Sounds like a totally doable resolution. For me its all about making the most of the time I have left in Shanghai – restaurants, museums, day trips, etc. We’re moving back to the States for a few months in the fall so the pressure is on, but having a deadline is great motivation. Oh, and fitting back into my pants would be good too (damn those delicious dumplings!)
    cosmoHallitan recently posted..Wat Phra Kaew and the Grand Palace, Bangkok

    • On January 17, 2013 at 5:54 pm Sally said:

      I think it’s physically impossible to both leave a country and be able to fit into your pants. Every time I leave a country, I gain about 10 pounds in my last month, eating all the food I have to eat before I leave. Which is basically all the food in the entire country.

  15. On January 17, 2013 at 5:03 pm TwoWishes Tara said:

    I got really excited that I immediately recognized that pie photo — Eastern Market in DC, right?? Then I realized maybe it’s not a point of pride to be that familiar with the contents of my town’s pastry cases.

    Also, I have been lurking here since 2011 (met Nomadic Chick Jeannie at TBEX and she shared one of your posts) and I never said hello. If you don’t do it right away, eventually you pass into a weird zone of “Hi, you don’t know me and I know EVERYTHING ABOUT YOUR LIFE, mwah ha ha.” So anyway I guess it took pastries to draw me out of lurkerdom. Hello.
    TwoWishes Tara recently posted..Holiday Gift Guide — Splurges for Grownups

  16. On January 20, 2013 at 9:08 am Michelle said:

    I don’t usually make resolutions but this is the first time I’ve been in the position to travel both financially and geographically so I’m aiming to go to at least 13 different places that I want to go to. It will be the most I’ve ever traveled in one year, so I’m really excited about it. Good luck with your resolution.

  17. On January 20, 2013 at 1:42 pm Katherina said:

    Now that’s an amazing resolution! I bet it’s going to be easy to keep 🙂 Good luck!
    Katherina recently posted..Photo Essay: Walking On Lava

  18. On January 26, 2013 at 12:27 am Pauline said:

    This is a brilliant idea! Just found your blog, great stuff! The things that make me happy are about the same, travel, friends and good eats are the best.

  19. On January 26, 2013 at 4:55 am Caz Makepeace said:

    Yep! My resolution is the same as every year– make this year better than the last.

    Love that you went to Durham–even though there is not a lot there!! We used to live down the road in Raleigh. Love that part of the States.

  20. On January 26, 2013 at 10:19 am Megan said:

    Such a great way to look at life. I made a similar resolution a little while back. Not for New Year’s but just because.
    Good luck and have fun!
    Megan recently posted..Dear Australia. It’s not you. It’s me.

  21. On March 4, 2013 at 11:14 pm Ceri said:

    Love your resolution. Mine was really similar too. I realised that 2012 was a friggin’ fabulous year so my resolution was to keep doing exactly what I have been doing. 🙂
    Ceri recently posted..Scenes from the Museo de Arte Moderno


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