Monday, January 2, 2012

On Breaking New Years Resolutions and Meeting Lifelong Goals

I made exactly two resolutions at the beginning of 2011: to rock the knee-high argyle socks off my job, and to read fifty books—five in each of ten categories I wanted to read more frequently. And, well… I didn’t do either of them.

I didn't do them, but in reality I did so much more. Rather than rocking the job that I had at the beginning of 2011, I came to accept that it wasn’t helping me get where I wanted to be, and I made the difficult decision to leave it for a much riskier but much more fulfilling position at Bancroft Press. And while I didn’t read all fifty of the books I set out to read at the beginning of the year, I read sixty-three books in total, including several manuscripts I provided editorial feedback for and a whole herd of books I read either to prepare for interviews or as a part of the new jobs I took in 2011.

In truth, 2011 was a year of accomplishments. I took a risk on a contract job in children’s books that taught me an immense amount and renewed my passion for the field, and from there I stepped up into an even better position in children’s books as the Assistant Marketing Manager at Bloomsbury & Walker Books for Young Readers. I not only survived the first two years out of college (someone once told me those would be the hardest two years of my life, and boy were they right), but I came out of them with flying colors. I moved to New York City, was tough as nails throughout a difficult apartment search and lease negotiation, and befriended roommates who truly make the city feel like home for the first time. I majorly increased the traffic to this blog and (in my opinion) upped the quality of its content, which has spurred enlightening conversations with wonderfully insightful readers all over the internet. And in less than five months at Bloomsbury, I’ve quadrupled the group’s followers on Twitter and helped brainstorm several innovative, exciting marketing programs and promotions for the company’s books, including a really exciting one for Fracture which I can’t wait to share.

2011 plucked me off every path I tried to walk down and plopped me onto new roads I never quite expected to take. It was a year that made me struggle to get a glimpse at my own future. It was often frightening or frustrating, and I was always aware that I should be controlling my own future and yet unable to do anything but hold my breath and leap or stumble forward. And yet, by its end 2011 saw the fulfillment of the goal I set for myself, however spectrally, in 2001—a goal I’ve been actively working towards since 2009.

I realized this late last November, when I stumbled across and reread my personal journal from 2009, the year I graduated from college. 2009 was a difficult year, as anyone who entered (or tried to enter) the workforce at the height of the financial recession can tell you. It dealt my self-confidence blow after blow, and I spent most of it struggling not just to heal my suffering self-esteem and decide what to do with my life, but also to feed and house myself in a city I couldn’t afford or bring myself to like. I remember it as a year of incredible downs, but I was surprised to find in my journal several moments of powerful hope. And, most poignantly of all, I found this moment of self-reflection from a week before I graduated from college and began that difficult journey:

I can remember back to when I was trying to choose a college, and I learned about Phi Beta Kappa and about Goucher's college literary arts magazine, and I told myself that I wanted to make it into Phi Beta Kappa and I wanted to be the editor-in-chief of the lit mag by senior year… I didn't think either of those things would happen… I can't explain how accomplished I feel, having fulfilled to two huge goals I set for myself a very long time ago, when I was a very different person, but just as driven. And I think that I will never stop being driven like that, and since I want to be in publishing so badly, I will never stop trying until I'm in.

And, what do you know, I am in.

It hasn’t been easy at all. A lot of times it’s been terrifyingly uncertain or incredibly painful. But everything I’ve done since graduating college has led me right to where I am now—happy, and doing the work I’ve always wanted to do. And whatever resolutions I’ve broken along the way, I’ve at least proven to myself, once again, that when I set goals I meet them. With flying colors.


  1. Wow, you've had a great year!

    And I bet you rocked the knee-high argyle socks too. :)

  2. You've accomplished a great deal by taking risks. There's a quote by Anais Nin about the risk of remaining as a bud, as opposed to taking a chance and opening up. When that moment happens - you will feel alive in yourself and all that you do. It sounds like you are on this path. Very good!

    I can relate - three years ago I sat in a hospital writing story ideas on the backs of medical papers. I thought I had cancer and I wasn't going to hold back the stories any longer. It was a risk and I am glad I took it.

    - Julie