Last August, I moved from New York’s Hudson Valley to the region of Franche-Comté in eastern France. I’m spending the year working at a university and figuring out what I want to do moving forward. It feels like a post-university gap year, except I’m still working and gaining useful experience. The proximity of Europe, facilitating travel, allowed me to meet up with a friend over the winter holidays. Thus, we did Christmas in Amsterdam and New Years in Berlin.
The later is slightly blurry, but we spent it amongst a wealth of nationalities and cultures in a hostel. There we met a few people from Venezuela, who shared that it’s tradition to come up with 12 wishes for the New Year. So, getting to the point, here are my 12.
1. Make more art
During freshman year of university, I was constantly drawing, painting, cutting, and photographing. The creative itch to work with my hands has been looming. Scooped up one of the $.99 Skillshare deals to get involved in the creative communities there.
2. Improve cooking and baking skills
A few months ago I picked up a Marabout cookbook (100 plats végétariens en 5 ingrédients) for a few euros. That coupled with the infinite culinary expanses of the internet? Shouldn’t be a problem! Ideally, I’ll become more technically skilled + creative in the kitchen.
3. Draw out a financial plan
Putting together a budget, mapping out my student loan payments, figuring out investments and retirement details. Money education was a missing part of my secondary and university schooling, but I don’t want it to be a looming mystery.
4. Donate time and money to organizations
Especially in light of this past election. Perhaps this could mean recurring monetary donations, time, or design!
5. Visit more museums
There are tons in Europe, and in New York, and all over. Most have reasonable admissions, and there’s a lot to be learned from permanent collections and temporary exhibitions. Before this month ends, I want to visit the current exhibitions at le Musée du temps and la Maison de l’architecture.
In Europe and in the US. My teaching schedule this semester provides ample room for weekend and day trips. The SNCF carte avantages jeunes lightens the cost of train travel, and buses also tend to be relatively inexpensive.
7. Take up a sport / physical activity
There are many ways to go with this. Essentially seeking a better physical and mental state of health.
8. Find a mentor
Both Alphabettes and AIGA Upstate NY have mentorship programs. I have an idea of where I want to be, but in the past have been afraid of asking for help on how to get there. Also, the aforementioned idea of where I want to be was a lot less clear a year ago.
9. Go further in language learning
I just attained the DALF C1 in French! This means I’m officially “fluent” in the language — the only higher testing level is C2, which is the equivalent of native speaker level. So, keep working on French. And since visiting Germany and the Netherlands, I’d also like to reach B1 in German and get a good start on Dutch.
Get rid of clutter, unused objects; develop some sort of personal style.
11. Work on self-confidence
This one has been a problem! I’ll skirt around talking about myself, minimize compliments, avoid/hesitate/skip doing things because I don’t believe I can. However, not exactly sure how to tackle this one.
12. Move back to New York(!) and find a design position that challenges me
I do miss the US. The election cycle that just passed is terrifying AF, but I do miss the US. Living in a city here, and traveling to various cities around Europe, I’d like to give a large city a try upon returning to the United States. As for the later, I feel incredibly motivated to surround myself with designers and thinkers who are miles better than me. The drive to create, learn, and grow is too real. Keeping my eyes peeled for small/medium sized studios!