When I woke up this morning, I laid in bed and thought about this new year—2020. Where in the world did the time go? I feel like I just blinked, and 2019 passed in a second. 2019 was full of experiences, lessons, and accomplishments; and that list grows longer if I reflect on the full decade that came before.
- I resigned from my job as a lawyer (2010)
- I went back to school to study Iberian Linguistics (2010)
- I studied Portuguese, Catalan, and Basque (2011-2012)
- I started a journey to celebrate my natural hair (2012)
- I finished my master’s degree (2012)
- I saw the Colosseum in Rome and the Leaning Tower of Pisa (2012)
- I visited Paris for the first time and saw the Eiffel Tower (2012)
- I studied French (2013)
- I visited India and saw the Taj Mahal (2013)
- I moved to the Dominican Republic to complete my dissertation research (2013)
- I turned 30 (2014)
- I finished my PhD (2015)
- I published my first article in an academic journal (2015)
- I started my first full-time job as a professor (2015)
- I started actively saving for retirement (2015)
- I traveled to Australia for the first time – my 4th continent (2016)
- I traveled to Africa for the first time – my 5th continent (2016)
- I visited Egypt and saw the Pyramids (2016)
- I made my primetime debut on the $100,000 Pyramid (2017)
- I started a new job at my alma mater (2017)
- I was promoted to Associate Professor (2017)
- I bought my first house (2017)
- I traveled to South America for the first time – my 6th continent (2017)
- I climbed Macchu Picchu (2017)
- I started a blog – Eva del Aire (2018)
- I started a YouTube channel – Eva del Aire (2018)
- I decided that I wanted to visit 35 countries by my 35th birthday (2018)
- I made it back to my college basketball playing weight (2019)
- I wrote a travel memoir based on my time living in the Dominican Republic (2019)
- I started an amazing research fellowship (2019)
- I made it to 35 countries by my 35th birthday (2019)
So what’s next in this new decade? I’m not sure. Only time will tell. But as I reflect on everything that I’ve learned in the past decade, I look forward to the future with great optimism and make these five resolutions for 2020 and beyond:
Be good to yourself
You are the only “you” that you have, so value and care for yourself. Give yourself permission to be happy and to do the things that bring you joy. Give yourself permission to relax and step away from the grind. Your value as a person is not wrapped up in your productivity. Celebrate your victories. Savor the moments that make you smile. Give yourself permission to make mistakes and learn new lessons. Your value as a person is not contingent upon perfection. Always be good to yourself.
Be good to the people that you love
If you are fortunate enough to be surrounded by people that you love, be good to them. Tell them that you appreciate them. Show up for them when they need you. Make a conscious effort to invest in your relationships. Because everyone isn’t as fortunate, and a loving community is a gift. Be good to the people that you love.
Be true to yourself
You are a person. Before any job, relationship, opportunity, or affiliation, you are a fully integrated person. Invest time in coming into a full realization of who you are. Once you know who you are, own it. Celebrate it. You are the only “you” that this world has. Do not dim your light through self-deprecation. Firmly ground yourself in the principles that guide you. Learn to trust yourself and your instincts. Never lose yourself in anyone else’s dream. Be fiercely true to yourself.
Be your own best advocate
What would you do? Who would you be if your world had no limits? Seek to do that. Seek to be that. On the path to your goal, be your own best advocate. It is not your job to close doors on your own dreams. Never give up on yourself. Even if your goals change, even if your dreams change, always believe in yourself.
Be fearless and confident and free
Don’t chase opportunities that are not meant for you. Don’t linger where you are not valued and appreciated. Don’t invest in love that is unrequited. Don’t tolerate disrespect. Laugh as loud as your soul dictates. Dance whenever the music moves you. Travel as far as the wind will take you. And never be afraid to take a leap of faith.