Thursday, January 3, 2013

Hello 2013!!!

I'm back!

A quick glimpse into today's travel: My backyard in Utah, complete with frolicking deer.
A quick stop at LAX for some sunshine and a lovely lunch date at Encounter. (Please disregard my awkward, mid-motion hand).

And full snow circle...back to Moscow!!!

And now that I'm home, snuggled in the world's coziest blanket by a blazing fire (translation: my cinnamon scented candle), and sipping ginger tea, I'm ready to embrace the New Year! I love fresh starts, but I don't always love sticking a timeline to them. And mid-vacation is never a time to get ambitious, so...3.1.13 seems as nice a starting number as any!

I love lists. Love goals. Life lived aimlessly leaves too much undiscovered potential to be attractive. BUT I also don't like to fail. Which means two things when it comes to 3.1.13 Resolutions:

1) Avoid quantitative goals. This does have some exceptions, as habit is a power NOT to be underestimated, but there is not a goal on my list that includes the words "every day". If any of my ambitions convert into daily habit inadvertently, I won't complain. But when it comes to "year-long" lists, those words are a death sentence.

2) Frame them with flexibility. This requires an attitude adjustment for the controlling natures out there, including me, myself, and I. We ourselves can't predict how we will grow in the course of a year. Experiences, relationships...that little thing called "Life" likes to happen, and if we don't modify our goals and resolutions accordingly, then they become obsolete. The "You" that existed on January 1st ideally won't be the same "You" that you encounter on June 1st...especially if you've been sticking to your resolutions! So revisit, rethink, and refresh.

In keeping with my current philosophies #1 and #2, my list is a bit shorter than other New Years have seen. Amongst the things I would like 2013 to include: banning books and scores as sleeping companions (this has become a significant problem in an apartment where I don't have a couch), building my yoga practice in preparation for my 2013/14 yoga retreat (who's in?!?), training for marathon #2, and financial farewell to the student loans!

But behind each item on my list is the unquantifiable resolution. The recommitment to what I want to "be" rather than just merely what I'd like to do. You see, on a frigid Moscow morning, at the Izmailovsky Market, I had a wake up call.

I was freezing. My feet were numb. My hands under two pairs of gloves were still bright red and tingling with the cold. Not hiking Everest or anything noble, just Christmas shopping. I had just finished touring the market with a friend to get our bearings. What booths had the best quality? And lowest prices? And what exactly did I want to buy anyway?! As we made our way down a long set of stairs to start Round 2: The Purchase, I thought only of the cold and my shopping itinerary...who would get what gift and how to get them all as quickly as possible to avoid frostbite. I was halfway down the stairs and talking to myself before I realized my friend wasn't with me. I looked back and saw why. There, fighting her way up the stairs with a wheeled cart in tow was a little babushka, likely fiery as most babushkas are, but clearly in need of help. My friend had stopped to carry her cart to the top of the stairs.

I HAD NOT EVEN SEEN HER. In my haste, with my efficiency and my self-centered agenda, I literally had become completely blind to the world around me, and the obvious needs of someone placed directly in my path.

While I hurried to take the old woman's arm and help her up the steps, I felt stunned and ashamed. How had I become so self-consumed as to become oblivious to the people around me? It's not that I wouldn't love to help, but I was so completely unaware that I wasn't able to.

Hello 2013. Hello unquantifiable resolution of awareness. Awareness of both strangers and of the friends and family with whom I interact daily. What are they going through that no one is noticing? How can I help them make it to the top of the staircase that is their struggle? I don't have all the answers, but I know it has to start with seeing. Beyond myself.

So while my list is short, my motivation is high. And I truly hope that I find the ability to better myself this year. To start seeing. Not just for the success of my checklist, but for the struggling babushka at Izmailovsky Market. And for anyone else who might need help up some stairs.


  1. Happy new year to you, Stephanie! Sipping tea under a comfy blanket with that beautiful view is perfect to start to 2013. I completely agree with your guide/ 2 philosophies in listing goals for the year. I made a mistake of not breaking goals into achievable daily patterns. Or at least breaking them all down within a certain time frame so they all don't collide with each other, thus becoming very difficult to achieve. Like learning a new language, I should have made it simpler by defining it based on levels because I can't become fluent within a year. I think that's a beautiful realization- being aware. That's a an awesome learning. Have a great holidays back home.

  2. I adore this post. Especially the details and not telling yourself you'll do something "every day". A better way to look at it is simply promising yourself to not let little setbacks affect the entire goal...just continue the next day

  3. Happy New Year! I think start seeing is quite noble and something I certainly need to work on myself.

    I've been burned many a time though - once I asked an elderly woman if she wanted to board the tram before I did (you know, ladies first rule) and she started yelling and swearing at me. le sigh.

  4. Steph! I love this post. Your writing is so clever and I like you want to try to be more aware of others. Can't wait until you are in the same city as me again.


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