It is very tasty, being held in suspense by my own life. I’m beginning 2022 as a newly-single English teacher living in middle-of-nowhere Japan, whereas this time last year, I was plodding towards marriage in Napa Valley and permitting T-Mobile cell towers for $21/hour. I hope that in a few years, I’ll have fallen into even more happenstance situations, like being a polyamorous flight attendant based in the Middle East or a commune farmer crying through an Eat, Pray, Love moment somewhere humid and vaguely spiritual. Or maybe I’ll be back in San Francisco, selling my soul for stock options. In any case, I’m writing to you with optimism and anticipation, ready for the adventure to unfold and the Universe to steer me towards a greater (or just different) next chapter.
In 2021, I did a little bit of everything and a whole lot of nothing, too.
The majority of the year was spent in the Bay Area, solidifying my spatial understanding of the region to a degree that only pandemic-induced travel limitations could. I scoured Facebook events for things to do, took walks and picnicked and binge-watched until it became stale, and spent copious amounts of time in cities I never gave a second thought to: St. Helena, Vallejo, Benicia. I permitted ADUs in damn near every Bay Area county, memorized building codes on septic boreholes and firewall separation, and caught a small glimpse of yuppie life.
I took two trips, first to Los Angeles, then to Portland, where I looked at art, shopped a lot, and ate even more. I baked hundreds of financiers as BOOBAKES, upped my meal prep game, and Chloe Ting-ed my way into an appreciation of exercise. I was comforted by domesticity, which in turn, discomforted me.
I read 20 books, the most memorable being The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune, A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara, and Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner. I listened to Radiolab for days straight. I cried to FKA Twigs and Caroline Polachek and SZA. I rekindled my love of stories, the English language, and most of all, feeling heard. I found that I am worthy of all three.
I learned many things about myself (mostly okay, objectively), my disposition towards work (it’s bad and I don’t like it), the world (give it to me please), and love (welcome in all flavors and intensities). I measured my life out in coffee spoons - to borrow from TS Eliot - and decided I want to use ladlefuls going forward. I embraced my identity as a morning person, romantic, and believer (not in Christ, but generally).
Most notably, I moved to Kanoya in Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan. Kanoya is Japan’s most populous city with zero train access, famous for roses and amberjack fish. All things considered, it’s pretty swag, and it’s home until August 2023.
Last year, I made a vision board for 2021. I looked over it again and found that so much of it still sticks. I had a lovely little Undertale moment, realizing that after everything, it really is still me.
The vision board is written in present tense because I believe in manifestation and abundance mindsets and all that jazz. The idea is that if you speak like things are already happening, then in a sense, they are. I know, I know! I’m easy to make fun of!
Nonetheless, here are some snippets that continue to resonate. Feel free to use them as affirmations:
That was 2021. Lots of change and lots of the same, but overall, a novel (haha…), topsy-turvy year that was about as gentle as I could hope for.
So what are my resolutions for 2022? I have a few SMART goals (specific, measurable, and so on) and many more broad wishes, which I think is a pretty good overview of my mindset at any given moment. I categorized them into general blocks based on what I’m focusing on nowadays. Just as important as what is written is what is purposefully omitted.
To summarize: Write. Read. Run. Eat. Make Space. Connect. Learn. Chill. Think.
2022 will be a fun year for me, one that focuses on expression and experience and enjoyment. I am in the early stages of something pivotal, and I think you can sense it too. I want to experience all the crevices of emotion: fierce happiness and heartbreak, true pain and euphoria, sincere longing and belonging. Life is coming from me, not at me.
I continue to be a minimalist, an experimentalist, and a woman, phenomenally. I am capable of great and storied love; I want you to join me in it.
If you feel inclined to share, I’m interested in learning about your hopes for 2022 and being an accountability partner and champion for you. You are always welcome to message me on Twitter (@booritney). Tú eres mi otro yo.