2015 ended a few days ago. 2016 started, and I just turned into an 18-year-old. Where has all the time gone?

In the last few days of my winter break, I felt an urge to summarize all that has happened in 2015. If you remember from my last post of Tongren, Grandpa’s last advice to us this summer before we parted was to stop now and then to ruminate the achievements you have achieved, as well as what still needs improvements. I would never have imagined that there was so much that went on in 2015, nor would I have realized just how much I have grown, if I had not sat myself down to write a journal.

The most important thing I learned in 2015 was to find ways to be happy.

Space Needle, about to go in to eat dinner

1. I learned to surround myself with people I felt genuinely happy being around. People always say it’s better to have a few good friends rather than a million “lukewarm” friends, and last year was the year this saying finally touched my core. True friends make me so ha. This year, I will try to continue living this way and learn that my honest happiness is what will further my social goals.

Aunt’s alcove, ft. sister

2. This summer was truly a magnificent opportunity. Not only did I have loads of fun, time to relax and spend with relatives, I had time to be introspective and assess what I love and what I should do about it. Something I learned about myself in particular was that I must have changing environments in order to grow and thrive. However, this year I want to find that balance between life as a student and life as one who needs to be out and about.

100% homemade dinner with the whole family & Jinmei sister (she’s in the  Nanjing post!)

3. Another thing I want to pursue is to be mindful of other people because everyone is fighting a battle of their own, just like myself. It does me no good being judgmental and critical about it- negative emotions poisons the that person. This was learned the hard way (but nonetheless learned!) after an incident in December.

The only food I can make well, fried rice with peas, carrots, eggs, and scallions

4. I believe I have fallen in love with running. Cross country drove this idea into me, that slow is okay at times, as long as you never stop going, one foot at a time. Eventually, through consistent and rigorous practice, I can get faster. Just embrace the progress. As an 18 year-old, I plan on running at least 300 miles.

Stopped on the highway on our way to Leavenworth, WA to snap this

5. Something that was more neglected than I’d like was my body, last year. This year, I vow to treat my body like a temple.

Rooftop of apartment in Tongren, ft. my model sister

6. Choose to have positive perspectives. I have been seeing an increasing amount of articles online that denounce and poke fun at making “New Year’s resolutions” since they will never be achieved. But people do achieve their goals– as long as you remain trusting of yourself, disciplined, and maintain a positive outlook.

On the plane to Utah

7. Last year, I think I was so on track to becoming less caring about what others thought about me that I began to neglect my responsibilities as a friend, family member, and human. This year, I will give more of myself, to my family and friends, as well as our environment and other humans of the world.

Enjoying nature in the backyard in late spring

What is life when you are not happy?

Thank you, for making 2015 truly memorable.

Even Fuchsia the goat is smiling, discovered a secret trail at the farm
Sunrise in L.A., after staying up at LAX for 1000 hours

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