In 2012 I got my first (only) tattoo. At the age of 28. One of my closest friends got the same tattoo, in the same place, on the same day. The decision to get our first tattoos together was a bit impulsive, as the idea arose as we were driving by a tattoo spot with a bunch of our other close girlfriends during a weekend getaway in Charlotte, NC. Initially we had no idea what tattoo to get, or where to put it, but intended to get something that was meaningful to both of us and symbolized our journey as friends (especially through the enormous torture known as graduate school).
After a few minutes of flipping through my mental rolodex, I suggested we get the Adinkra symbol for Sankofa, meaning “go back and get it”. The proverb “se wo were fi na wosankofa a yenki” (“it is not taboo for you to go back and get what you forgot”) is represented by a bird reaching back on its body for an egg. It’s thought to mean you reclaim or take the good of your past to move forward. I also suggested the heart-shaped version of Sankofa be placed on the inside of our wrists – as the hands/arms are physically used to reach back.
For me, the Sankofa symbol/concept was the only one worth permanently etching on my body. I lived Sankofa. My past is an important part of my future. Through the soul-draining challenges I experienced in grad school, I became painfully aware of myself. Where I’d come from. Who I was and who/what shaped me. Who I wanted to be. Where I wanted to go. And the revelations were liberating.
As I look back on 2013, I acknowledge what a good year this has been for me. Things weren’t perfect, but I have no regrets. I will enter 2014 on a high note.
- My first full year living in Portland!! Not easy to make friends when you’re in an adult, living in a city that is NOT diverse. But I met some great people and I’ve been some cool places. I love it here.
- Witnessing my best friend in the whole world marry the love of her life and standing as her maid of honor.
- Being hooded and conferred for my PhD during graduation! Man, what a sense of accomplishment. My 2012 defense was traumatic and painful and I didn’t have the opportunity to enjoy my shiny new PhD. But graduation almost a year later made it all feel real, and deserved.
- Turning 30! And taking an impromptu 36hr trip to San Diego to spend my birthday with my family.
- Surprising my best friend in the whole world for her 30th birthday in Vegas.
- Learning to read, write, and speak Farsi. And asking a Persian restaurant owner where the bathroom is in Farsi (“Bebakhshid, dast shooyi kojast?” ببخشید، دست شویی کجاست؟).
- Having my chapter on ADHD published in a book. Huge accomplishment after only 18 months of my postdoctoral training.
- Spending Thanksgiving at home in San Diego for the first time since I graduated high school. With the love of my life by my side.
- Every moment the love of my life was physically by my side.
- Being appointed to a nonprofit organization’s Board of Directors. Truly an honor and I’m so excited to serve on my first board. Ready to learn and grow.
I have a lot to look forward to in 2014. And since I am a strong proponent for resolutions (be they in January or July) I have a few things I’d like to resolve/accomplish (and I hope my readers are willing to hold me accountable!).
2014 To Do List
- Lose 15lbs before 31. I’m starting the New Year on an extreme cleanse (Why? Why not? Go hard or go home, right?) and joining the last cycle of #SexyShred starting January 9. Time to get back to better nutrition and fitness. Whether or not I can keep the weight off past July 7 is another resolution…
- F*ck b*tches, get money.
- Run a 10k. Because #fitness.
- Get my mile down to 10 or less. I am pretty slow but now that I’ve gotten comfortable with running more than 2 miles, I’m ready to kick it up a notch.
- Reduce my cc debt by 50%. This will require committed budgeting and lots of prayer.
- Incorporate more prayer and bible study into my daily/weekly routine. Prayer calls with me girls, bible study with Habibi, daily meditation. All things that make me feel better and closer to God but I don’t do hardly enough.
- Take 3 “fun” trips. Due to various circumstances, trips outside of SD and DC weren’t very feasible. But I want to make more attempts to travel and see friends/new sights.
- Blog once a month about my “progress.” Be it progress about my work, fitness, nutrition, spiritual journey – I need to hold myself accountable and reflect on my progress (or lack thereof).
- Make more lists. I am pretty forgetful and absent-minded. I do much better when I make myself lists and post them where I cannot avoid them. I must do this more. My ability to function in this world personally and professionally depends on this.
- Spend Christmas and New Year’s Eve (for 2015) with the love of my life. Fate has not allowed us to have either of these holidays together, unfortunately, but I won’t stand for another year under these conditions!!
- Live out “Partition” – the lyrics or video, either or.
My list is a bit long but very doable. I resolve to accomplish them all!!! I’ve gathered many things, great and small, from 2013 that will enable me to have a great 2014. What are some of your highlights from 2013? Do you have any new year’s resolutions or things you want to accomplish in 2014?
HAVE A HAPPY NEW YEAR!
-Gem the Go [Back] Getter