I typically don't make New Year's resolutions. Mostly because my mother always believed that if there was a habit in your life you needed to change or a goal you wanted to achieve, you should start working toward it right then & there, regardless of if it's March 19 or October 7 or a Tuesday or a Friday. According to her, nobody should have to wait until the first of January to do something healthy or productive with their life. She makes a valid point. Besides, everyone knows that 98% of people who make New Year's resolutions break them after a week.

However, I was shocked in my Sunday school class when NOBODY had made a New Year's resolution. Are we all just incredibly lazy with little-to-no aspiration to achieve great things? Haha, perhaps. We talked a lot about being "fiercely intentional" and striving to live a life of integrity, and I started thinking, "If I DID make a New Year's resolution, what would it be?"

Kidding! I had to have some stereotypical military girlfriend comment, right? In all honesty, Zach does deploy in 2011. (As a matter of fact, today we found out the actual dates of pre-deployment training, pre-deployment leave, and a three-day window for him leaving for Afghanistan! I'll probably mention that later this week. And I dare someone to go off on OPSEC...)

So yeah, for half a second after the ball dropped on New Year's, I stood there thinking about how different next New Year's will be and almost teared up as I realized that Zach leaves for Afghanistan "THIS YEAR" instead of "next year," as I've gotten so used to saying. But with everything we've been blessed with, everything we have to look forward to... you've got to be crazy if you think I'm going to wish 2011 away.
"Don't be wishing you were someplace else or with someone else. Where you are RIGHT NOW is God's place for you. Live and obey and love and believe right there." - 1 Corinthians 7:17
I think I'm gonna make that my verse for 2011 :)

Better yet, I think I'm gonna make that my resolution for 2011.

Yep, I like it.

However, I do have some things I intend on doing or would like to accomplish this year. They're not my actual resolutions, I suppose, but I did come up with 11 (for 2011). Here's what I've got:

(click to enlarge)

001. Plan my graduation with distinction project
While talking with my professor last month, I realized that as of right now (meaning, as long as I don't epically fail this semester), I'm eligible to graduate with distinction from Duke. I literally almost cried. After barely surviving my first semester at one of the top ten universities in the nation, my goal was just to graduate. I didn't care about honors or my GPA. And now? I've made the Dean's List & will spend this semester planning a graduation with distinction project to undergo review during my senior year. I'm kind of really proud of myself :)

002. Write two snail mail letters a week (and actually mail them!)
My freshman year of college, I probably mailed an average of ten letters a week to family & friends, but it's definitely slipped to much less as of this semester. I love snail mail so much & intend on being one of the few people in the world who still communicates this way.

003. Live in Southgate one more year :)
Oh, freshman dorm. How I love thee so. Naomi graduates this year and Casey doesn't wanna be an RA again, so I'm thinking I'll at least move into Naomi's room. And who says I'm not good with change?

004. Eat at the Washington Duke Inn
The WaDuke is a rather nice restaurant near campus that accepts food points! It's pricey, but I was thrifty last year & had over $200 to blow at the end of the semester on a dress-up date with Zach. Unfortunately, I ended up in the emergency room just days before & was way too sick for dress-up date, hence why I still haven't eaten at the WaDuke. 2011 is gonna be the year, though.

005. Work for The Chronicle or DiDA
I've been saying this for years now. I want to either work with the layout design of our student newspaper, The Chronicle, or get a job with the Duke Innovative Design Agency that does a lot of the logo/flyer/plaza board designs for student groups and events on campus. I know I'm qualified and capable of either of these; I've just never taken the time to actually apply.

006. Apply to DukeEngage
Bill Gates' wife graduated from Duke, so they essentially fund trips for Duke students during the summer as long as they are spending at least eight weeks working with some type of NGO/NPO. It's not directly related to graphic design, unfortunately, but if somebody is willing to pay for me to spend the summer in Kenya or South America or Haiti or Ireland (or anywhere else in the world) as long as I'm making a positive impact, I'm thinking I should at least apply.

007. Graphic Design Independent Study: Duke University Marching Band
The Duke University Marching Band (DUMB, for short. Go ahead, laugh) contacted the art department this past semester & asked them to recommend a student to completely redo their brand identity and design a new series of flyers, brochures, posters, letterhead, etc. The professors in the Art, Art History, and Visual Studies Department chose... me! We've turned it into an independent study, so I'm over-loading this semester and will get class credit for my work.

008. Organize (find) my closet
This seems so petty compared to everything else, but seriously... it's a mess. A serious mess. Something needs to be done, and quickly.

009. Get a good shift at the Coffeehouse
We choose shifts by seniority at the Coffeehouse each semester, so it would make sense that I'd get stuck with the awful weekend shifts as a freshman & sophomore. This past semester, I had the Wednesday 10pm-2am shift, which wasn't much better. Really? I'm crossing my fingers for a normal shift that's not in the middle of the night this semester.

010. Expand my portfolio: graphic design portfolio. & future wedding portfolio, just in case ;)
Obviously, I want to perfect my portfolio this year, since I'll be applying for big girl jobs by the end of 2011 (AH!) As far as the future wedding portfolio, you know, no big deal. It's just a folder on my computer where I store ideas and pictures from online so if I do happen to get a pretty little ring in the next five years (or five months, just saying...), I'll have a head start on planning. Not that I'm intending on planning anything in 2011, necessarily. But it never hurts to be prepared, right?

011. Be the first person ever to date someone in the military, go through a deployment, and not be a depressed whiner-complainer.
Haha, whiner-complainer. Kacey called me that ONCE during our freshman year of high school and it stuck like none other. To be fair, I'm sure there are many people who have not been depressed whiner-complainers during a deployment (or military relationship in general). However, I don't know any of them, so I intend on being the first I know. I will break the pathetically-lonely deployment stereotype, just like I've broken the mopey-miserable military relationship stereotype. And I will not slap the depressed whiner-complainers when they are causing all sorts of drama, even though I really really REALLY want to (/passive aggressive rant).

Whew! Lots of thoughts and plans and goals for 2011, especially for someone who doesn't make resolutions :)

Can I make a 2011 wishlist, as well? Because back-to-back national championships would be nice...