I’m happy, free, confused and lonely at the same time. It’s miserable and magical…
Those are the feelings that, according to Taylor Swift, come with “feeling 22.”
And I must say, I’d have to agree. That is exactly how 22 felt.
But as of today, I am done feeling 22.
So what does that mean? Well… nothing, really. Honestly, how different can 23 be from 22? On the other hand, a new year marks new beginnings, and since I “forgot” to make new year’s resolutions at the start of 2013, I thought I’d take this opportunity to come up with 23 goals I have while I’m 23.
- Tell people what I want, and do what I can to get it! I’m tired of being that passive guy who never lets his opinion be heard because he doesn’t want to step on anyone’s toes. Over the years I have had a difficult time getting people to read my mind, so it’s about time I’m more forthright with people in expressing my opinions. If I don’t like the way you’re treating me, then I’m going to tell you. This may cause some people to be offended, but as a wise man once said: “Are you offended? I don’t care.” I’m not going to let people walk all over me anymore. And that brings me to my second goal.
- Be more direct. I tend to beat around the bush like no other when I’m trying to express something that might qualify as being even slightly uncomfortable. But there was one glorious night a couple of years ago when I was able to be direct and to-the-point, and it was awesome. I would like to be able to do that all the time from now on.
- Enjoy my alone time. This year, I want to reacquaint with an old friend. He’s someone I’ve known my whole life, and when he’s at his best, he’s pretty cool. His name? Matthew Gilliland. When I was little, I loved to be alone. I could entertain myself for hours and hours using just my imagination. In recent years, however, I have found it more difficult to get along with myself. But since nobody likes you when you’re 23, I need to learn to like myself better in preparation for turning 24, when people will start liking me again. (I’m aware that this last paragraph must sound really depressing, but it’s all in good fun, I promise.)
- Keep up with my blog more. I have already kind of started this one. I think I must have already written more blogs in the first two months of this year than I did all last year combined. And if I had planned things a little bit better, this could have easily been my 23rd post, which would have brought things together quite nicely. Anyway, I hope to continue my consistent blogging as the year continues, especially considering major upcoming events like my Europe study abroad and my wedding. OK, I’m not really planning on getting married. I just wanted to see if you were paying attention.
- Catch up with old friends. I want to be better at keeping in contact with my friends, especially my friends from home as well as those from my mission… even if it is just through Facebook.
- Go to Europe. Even if something freaky happens and I end up not continuing with the study abroad program, I am determined to go to Europe this year! Even if it means losing a ton of money, which makes me anxious just thinking about it.
- Spend quality time with my family. Ugh, I wish there was a less cheesy way to say that. Cue the Full House music, please. I’m in somewhat of a difficult position to do this right now, seeing as I’m living in Utah and my whole family is currently in Arizona, but I will definitely go back as much as circumstances allow… even if that’s just a couple weeks in the summer and then the Thanksgiving/Christmas holidays. I see my family as one of my most reliable support groups, and I will do anything to maintain that… even if we are actually not so much like the Tanners from Full House but more like the Simpsons: violent and dysfunctional.
- Give myself to the Lord. This is kind of broad, but honestly this is as specific as I feel I can get at the moment. I have tried most of my life to just do things my own way, but after almost 23 years of doing it, I must say that I understand what Taylor Swift means when she says “This is exhausting.” It’s time to quit trying to drive myself down the highway of life and let Jesus take the wheel!
- Keep my Taylor Swift blog references to a minimum. As of this post, I have decided that I have quoted/mentioned Taylor Swift far too often in my blog. It has to stop. I think I need serious help… an intervention, maybe.
- Serve the crap out of everyone. Not literally, of course… that would be awkward and gross. But all stupid jokes aside, I really do want to serve more. Maybe then I can stop focusing so much on my own problems.
- Exercise… all year this time. It seems like I’m always good at exercising during the summertime. But then the winter comes along and my exercising comes to an end. But since I will be living much closer to my school’s free gym next year, maybe I can actually motivate myself to exercise during all four seasons while I’m 23.
- Write in my journal at least once a week. Whether my future kids like it or not, they will be able to read a detailed account of what their dad was like at the age of 23.
- Use my disappointments to my advantage. I will not let myself be affected by the disappointments in life. Instead, I will turn those disappointments into opportunities. For example, in the not-too-unlikely scenario that I get a C in one of my classes this semester, I will celebrate my first-ever C by having a C-party. Included will be C-shaped cake and foods that start with a C (chicken, carrots). And then I will hang a banner that reads: “C’s get degrees!” Actually, that sounds like too much effort… effort that would probably be better used trying to make sure I don’t get a C in that class. But you get the idea.
- Work, work, work. No two-month breaks from work this year. If I want to survive the financial toll this study abroad trip is going to take on me, I need to work as much as I can (and maybe even take a second job). Also I need to do an internship or two before I graduate if I want to impress prospective future employers. If I were to adopt a motto for this year, it would be this: work hard and play hard.
- Make a bucket list. This may sound morbid, but for a while I’ve been wanting to make a list of things to do before I die. After all, I’m not getting any younger! Literally… I actually just recently aged a whole year.
- Maintain/improve my Tagalog. Once upon a time, I lived in the Philippines and spoke Tagalog every day. Now that I live in America, I rarely speak Tagalog more than once a week. I am finding that my Tagalog skills are suffering as a result. So I am going to do everything I can do to use my beloved second language, including speaking, writing, and praying in Tagalog. I also want to finish reading my Tagalog Book of Mormon. Ayaw kong makalimutan kasi ang aking pangalawang linguwahe.
- Go on another camping trip. My twelve-year-old self would have literally thrown up at such a suggestion, but I actually like camping now as long as it doesn’t last for more than a night or two. And as long as it’s nice outside.
- Quit hiding my true self from others. I once had a companion point out that I was “good at hiding.” He was not talking about physically hiding, and I think anyone who has played hide and seek with me could attest to that. What he meant is that I put up a front so convincing that it is difficult for other people to see the real me. Well, I’m tired of doing that. I need to start being who I am and not caring how other people react. If other people don’t like it, they can leave me alone. I’m done hiding. After all, I’m getting a bit too old to play hide and seek. Actually, if I’m being honest with myself, I’d kill for a game of hide and seek right now…
- Get back into photography. As I touched on briefly in my last post, I finally have a camera again, which gives me the perfect chance to take some legit pictures… especially when I go to Europe!
- Go on a road trip with friends. I fully expect to go on at least one road trip with my family this year because we have already planned one (we’re going to Disneyland!!! No, seriously.) But there is just something about taking road trips with friends. So I feel like I need to go on at least one this year. Even if it means that one of those friends will inevitably end up married in the near future. Confused? Stay tuned for my not-too-distant-future post about how everyone around me tends to get married.
- Stress management. I want to be more optimistic this year. I want to allow just a small part of the day to let myself be stressed, then spend the rest of my time thinking positive thoughts. I want to not worry so much and allow myself to be happy. It won’t be easy, but since I would like to actually live another 23 years, I think it will be worth it to better handle the everyday stresses of life.
- Make mistakes. This should be easy! So maybe I should say that I want to become more comfortable making mistakes. After all, it is trohugh our mstiakes taht we lraen, rghit?
- Move on. Last but not least, it is the simplest goal to say and yet the hardest to do. I feel like I’m still hung up a lot on the past, but I will work this year to move past all that.
And that’s it. I’m glad I did this, even if it is ridiculously long. I feel really hopeful about my 23rd year now. This is going to be the year of Matthew!