The A to Z of a new year

With 2016 in the books, I can confidently say it was a pretty great year for me.  I moved to Ireland, got to travel around the country quite a bit (Aran Islands, Limerick, Sligo, to name a few), and finished the first semester of my MPH; all while meeting some pretty spectacular people along the way.  Sure, there were some bumps in the road over those 365 days but overall the good outshone the bad.  Aside from my own successes, I’ve been able to enjoy those of my friends and family as well: marriages, babies, new jobs, finished projects, graduations, first houses, and moves to better areas.  I feel truly blessed for everything I’ve seen and done and the amazing people who have been there with me through it all.

I spent the time leading up to NYE with a good friend who I met in Spain two years ago.  We went a little mental the first night she got here, so we toned it down for the next few days.  New Year’s Eve, in my opinion, is always over-hyped and never lives up to its expectations.  This year was no exception.  I didn’t have a bad time per say, it was just lackluster.  I woke up New Year’s Day desirous of a clean slate for 2017.

Hannah introduced me to the idea of creating an A to Z list of resolutions for the coming year.  That night, we sat on my bed and wrote out our lists, bouncing ideas off each other.  My finished product included such things as finally doing a portion of the (C)amino de Santiago de Compostela in Spain, starting to practice (M)editiation, hiking the (R)ing of Kerry, and (T)ravel to 3 new countries.  Down near the bottom of my list was a big one for me: (V)egetarianism.

I was a vegetarian for a little over a year 3 or so years ago but at the time, I was doing it for health reasons.  Recently, I’ve really been struggling with what I consider a moral dilemma within myself.  It’s easy for me to be ignorant as to how my burger got on my plate.  But the truth is, if I went to an abattoir and saw my dinner being slaughtered, I wouldn’t be able to stomach it.  It’s difficult because I do love the taste of meat, but I’d be kidding myself if I kept seeing what’s cooked up in front of me as separate from the living animals I love so much.  This dietary decision isn’t right for everyone and I don’t judge anyone for the path they choose.  I just know that this back and forth has been eating away at me for months now.  Over the past week, going cold turkey (wish I could say this pun wasn’t intended) has been easy and I feel really happy about.  That inner conflict is now resolved.

In my immediate future, I have a research proposal due on the 11th, then plan to spend the rest of my time reading, writing, and doing a bit of travel until the 2nd semester starts on the 24th.  I’m eyeing Kerry or Mayo as my next destination; I’m going to feel both options out and see how I feel.  It would be nice to cross something off the list, but relaxation is the ultimate goal.

When looking at the year ahead, I want to spend the time getting to know myself even better and continuing to expand my horizons.  This will be a year of major decisions, and hopefully, just as major personal growth.

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