I know it’s end of July and there’s no new year of any kind in Vietnam. But there’s only a few months left in 2013, and now is a good time to remind me of what I want to achieve this year. My solution is simple, each year I become a better person, and accomplish a couple of things that would be the highlight of the year.  My last year’s highlight was surfing, and a road trip to national parks in the US West Coast. The better person part is harder to measure. I’d say it’s my long term relationship – the longest so far; you always learn a lot about yourself and different tolerance levels, you learn to communicate your thoughts and appreciation and frustration, even when you’re upset and just want to shut the person out. And I moved home to be closer to my parents. I’m in no way the best child my parents could want, but hey, at least I’m spending more time with them.

So this year, what is going on and where do I hope it goes? I’m happy with the job I got at the beginning of this year. And my goal should be working more and better at it. For a while, I considered networking more, especially in the NGO world, but quickly realized that I’m terrible at schmoozing and making friends. I used to be such a social butterfly, babbling away with everyone. Now I’m a hermit. A few years back, no way I could have ever imagined one day I would be such an introvert, and even a little anti-social. My excuse is that when I work I’m constantly talking with people so I need some quiet peace off work.

My networking goal at an impasse, I’ve set a new one which is to bring joy into my life. Witnessing recent dramas at home, I came to the conclusion that bitter people are quick to point out faults in others, as if they are somehow wronged and deserve much better. At 18, I already decided that anger would not be in my life. I don’t get angry, and do not stick around angry people. The negative emotion drains all my energy, and even scares me a little. Bitterness is now gonna be thrown away to join anger. It’s simply not an enjoyable, nor a productive reaction. But to not be bitter is not enough. The goal is to be more joyful. I do not yet know the specificity of this. It might just be showing less of a bitch face and smiling more.

So what would be the highlight of my year? Col was here for 1.5 month, and I might accompany my dad to Europe for 2, 3 weeks. But hmm, something that I do? I need to get off my ass more. Be more physically active. I was surfing a little in Da Nang, but I sucked. I’ll be there again toward the beginning of the winter season later this year, and will try to surf more. And I’ve been considering taking a paragliding course. Just need to get to the action part. Another big motivator is that my sis goes to the gym 4, 5 times a week, AND goes hiking almost every weekend. I feel like a big loser. 2 weeks ago, I went hiking in the Ba Den mountain in Tay Ninh province. It was only 1 km up the stairs to the temple and portersI thought I would ace it, but no, I started panting pretty fast and was soon out of breath. Had to take a few breaks and thought I would pass out. (To be fair to myself, I didn’t have breakfast before climbing, and it was hot). We ran into porters carrying bags of sand up to the temple for construction at VND43,000 ($2) per bag. I was tempted to pay them to carry me.