Starting 2018 with Intention

The marina boardwalk near my apartment building, taken during a late night walk around Lusail City.

For the last several years, I have made a writing resolution at the beginning of the new year. Since I write quite a bit for work and for pleasure, I have found that I am more likely to keep and embrace my writing resolutions long after my typical resolutions (e.g. working out, dieting, saving money, etc.) have been abandoned by early February. This year I have resolved to experiment with more genres and forms throughout the year, and to start my resolution off, I will answer a self-reflection questionnaire.

A friend of mine sent me an article, “Seven Questions to End 2017 with Clarity and Start 2018 with Intention,” which provides the seven questions that will supposedly help me start 2018 with intention. There is nothing too profound about the questions, but they seem OK for a heuristic. Normally, I don’t like to answer self-help questionnaires; however, experimenting is experimenting. So, here goes.

What was one of the moments I was most proud of this year? What does that tell me about what I want to spend my energy/time/money on next year?

Souq Waqif during the day

Though watching my oldest son, Zylan, graduate and start college was deeply rewarding; and receiving a set of handmade coasters for Father’s Day from my youngest son, Ronan, was very unexpected but thoughtful; moving to Doha and starting my job at Qatar University is what I am personally proudest of from 2017. This experience doesn’t easily boil down into one memorable moment, but wandering around the Souq Waqif and exploring the mazes of shops and restaurants is a good representation for how I want to spend my “energy/time/money” in 2018. I want to wander and explore new locales on this side of the world.

Who really enriched my life this year in a big way? Who is someone I am wanting to get to know better in the year ahead?

Some colleagues from the Foundation Program Department of English who worked on the blockade play. (Pardon the weird cropping, I cut the female students out of the picture.)

There is not just one person in 2017 that I feel has enriched my life “in a big way,” rather I feel that a collection of people has enriched me—that would be my colleagues in the Foundation Program Department of English (FPDE) at Qatar University (QU). Being amongst such a welcoming, friendly, and talented group of professionals from diverse nationalities and backgrounds has been bliss. I hope to get to know more of my colleagues in the FPDE and at QU better in the year ahead.

It was a year of resistance for many people. What did I resist most effectively? What did I surrender to?

Trump Rooster

Hmm. Tough question. What did I resist most effectively? Maybe the American system because I was able opt out of it, to some degree, by moving out of the country. What did I surrender to? My shock and outrage during the early months of the Donald Trump presidency. At some point, olfactory (sensory) fatigue set in, and I stopped being provoked by his antics and behavior as the leader of the US. Unfortunately, I became numb.

Who did I feel most jealous of this year? What is that person up to that I want to bring more of into my own life?

A colleague and me during the Business English showcase (This day I was wearing four layers!)

There are some well-dressed, dapper men in the FPDE. I definitely want to step up my suit game and to invest in some British cut suits. Also, I need to buy more accessories.

When was I most physically joyful in 2017? How can I get there more in 2018?

The High Line in NYC

When I was completing the apostille process in US before coming to Qatar, I had to travel to NYC in order to hand deliver documents to the Qatari Embassy in Manhattan. I travelled relatively lightly, with only a bike messenger bag and a backpack, using the experience as a personal test to see if I was still fit and patient enough to handle the stress of spontaneous travel. After my business at embassy was concluded, I proceeded to walk from Central Park (59th Street) to the High Line (12th Street). It was a warm sunny August day, but I was prepared for it to be warmer. Then after walking half the length of Manhattan Island, I had to sleep on the floor of a JFK terminal. Still, my day walking around Manhattan and along the High Line was one of my most physically joyful days of 2017. In 2018, I hope to wander around more international metropolises.

What is one question that you found yourself asking over and over again this year? What version of an answer are you living your way into?

From Le Blockade

What did I do to bring this onto myself? Nothing. Things happen sometimes regardless of how I conduct myself. All I can do is proceed in a dignified manner once a decision is made.

What makes me despair and what gives me hope right now?

From Le Blockade

The leadership of the United States. My boys.

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