Birthday Review: Setting Goals for 2018

Happy birthday to me!

Hello, world! Exactly 24 years ago I made my debut appearance in the world. This is the first time I’m going to be home for my birthday in a few years, so I already have a ton of ideas for birthday activities. These include, but are not limited to, having breakfast at my all time favorite diner, taking my mom to see Black Panther, pestering my siblings to do things for me, and snuggling with my cat. I’ve got a lot to fit in this weekend.

I can still remember the first time I ever spent my birthday without my family. It was 2011 and I was two days from the end of my high school exchange month in England – back in the old days when a lot of this travelling nonsense began. I remember being terrified that I would get homesick and be miserable, but it was, in fact, lovely. It’s funny how our ideas of normal can change so much in such a short time.

I decided that I wanted to use this post today to take some time and think about my goals for the coming year. By now the rush of “new year, new me” has died down, so I can focus on what I actually care about. Besides, birthdays always put me in a contemplative mood anyway. I find it satisfying to reflect on the past year, see what I managed to accomplish, and figure out what I want to work on in the year to come. A birthday acts as easy punctuation for the exercise. I’m almost a quarter of a century old, so I think I’m supposed to start figuring stuff out soon? Sounds fake, but whatever.

This year has been one helluva whirlwind. I had an apartment in America for the first time, I paid taxes, I moved to a new country all on my own. Things were constantly changing as I moved from one project to the next, so I’m glad I finally have a chance to process things. Who is ready to set some goals for 2018?

Is it even a birthday without some treats? Last year my sister and I hit up the Little Cupcake Bakeshop for my special day, and their German chocolate cake is fabulous. Everything there is great, I mean look at it, but seriously. You’ve got to try it.

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Smile with your teeth.

This seems silly but hear me out. All of us have our picture faces. The smile we pull that we know won’t give us a double chin or the perfect angle to make your head look round or whatever the thing is. I never smile with my teeth because I am self-conscious that they aren’t white enough or look goofy. This past year I found myself looking at those perfectly posed photos and thinking that I don’t look like I’m enjoying myself. I have a bunch of photos from my Ireland trip where I break my cardinal photo rule. I’m actually fully smiling when I feel like it. And I look so happy in those pictures.

Good people are everywhere

There are so many more kind and generous people out in the world than you think. Living in the hostel in Galway, I was surrounded by people constantly helping each other out and cooking for way more than just themselves. None of us had a lot, but everyone was always willing to give something. It’s reassuring to be reminded of that every once and awhile.

D&D is everything

Dungeons & Dragons is the best game ever invented and I am so blessed to have friends that put up with and feed into my addiction.

Mushrooms aren’t always bad.

I have an intense aversion to mushrooms that I inherited from my Dad, but a girl I often cooked with in Galway always threw them in stuff. I didn’t want to be rude about it, so I figured I would give them a go. Turns out, some mushrooms are okay. Sweeping generalizations are never a good thing, Genna. Remember that. (There are still some very slimy icky mushrooms, and I will never eat those ones. Just to be clear.)

Sometimes what we think we should be doing is not what we need to do.

And that is okay. I’m still working on this one, but I have begun to try to be more mindful about comparing myself to other people. There is no definitive right way to be an adult. That makes things so complicated.

One of my favorite travel adventures this year was driving around the Connemara Loop in Galway. It was so windy, but look at that sky!

Genna’s Goals for 24


Be more consistent. I love beginnings. I love the rush of starting something new and trying things out. Be it a city or book, I love starting fresh, but I have the bad habit of falling off the bandwagon. I am inherently a very lazy person a lot of the times, so I need to work on keeping things up. Whether it is this blog or playing piano or any of these goals I have written here, I want to work on trying to be consistent. I know I won’t nail it from the start, so I just have to keep trying.


Try new hobbies. I love hobbies be it scrap-booking or photography or reading. There are just so many cool things out there, and it feels like I have barely tried any. Starting with March, I want to try a new hobby every month. I figure 30 days is enough time to get invested in something and decide if I like it. A few I have in mind are things I used to do like knit and play piano, but I also want to try new things like bird watching or astronomy or cryptography or ghost hunting. Maybe the last one is a little too ambitious. I just want to switch things up, and it will be an entertaining experiment regardless of the outcome.


Get my driving mojo back. I am such a baby when it comes to driving. It is something I haven’t done a lot since I’ve been living abroad or in cities. I used to drive a bit, but I am seriously out of practice. Since I’m not used to it, I tend to get in my head and psych myself out. At some point this year I would like to take a road trip somewhere and actually have to drive myself rather than forcing a friend to do all the work. I don’t have to drive the whole trip necessarily, but I’ve got to put in my time.

Quality Time

Spend more quality time with the people I like most. The last couple years I have really been prioritizing my desire to push myself over the relationships I have with other people. I don’t think that is a bad thing. It’s important to go out and expand the boundaries of your comfort zone. But for this year I’d like to spend more time with the people I care most about. I’m very bad at verbalizing the way I feel, and I think I take a lot of the friends I have for granted sometimes.

You Do You, Girl

Keep doing things you love because you love to do them. They don’t have to be big, flashy things that sound good when you talk to your relatives over the holidays. They may not be traditional or seem ‘serious’, but it matters to you. Don’t waste the opportunities you have for the sake of other people’s expectations.

Nothing like a good cafe day to get some work done. Throwback to the three months where I regularly bullet journaled…#consistency

So that is where we are. This is where I am and hopefully where I am going. I don’t really know what my next step is. I’ve got some ideas, so we shall see how things go. Thank you for sharing my birthday with me! I hope you all have a lovely day, too. Wherever that may be.

Do you have any 2018 goals? Any resolutions you’ve stuck to (or left by the wayside)? Don’t be a stranger!

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