Some thoughts at the threshold of the new year

December 31, 2023
Honolulu, Hawaii
Being greeted by a rainbow at dawn off a 10 hour flight from Sydney

I’m a sucker for a new year. The idea of waking up to the slate wiped clean, to peer tentatively through the opening of a calendar beginning again. When I was a teenager, I’d write down New Years resolutions religiously - this is the year that I’ll save money, I’ll drink at least eight glasses of water a day. Most of my ‘goals’ were in pursuit of perfection in my physical or financial self, of chasing an idealized version of responsibility that never seemed to materialize. Setting resolutions has always felt like an act of hope, that I can change, that I can start again. It doesn’t matter if the resolution remains the same on December 31st a year after I set them. New Years feels like a glistening mirage of second chances, of trying again (maybe harder this time), of reflection and change.

Looking back, I’m glad to leave this year behind. It’s the year I downshifted Scallion Pancake to focus on writing and photography, a leap that has been hiding behind a corner my whole life. It felt a lot like pushing a heavy cart up a hill. I tried really hard this year. I cared a lot this year. I continued grappling with boundary setting and putting myself first, and learning to manage my energy levels. I teetered between running myself into the ground and feeling like I had everything under control. I felt tired a lot, part of it was that the world felt very heavy, part of it was from the exertion of pushing myself as someone chasing a dream at age 30, an age that feels both young and like I’m running out of time. My psoriasis was probably the worst it has ever been. I felt the most proud of myself this year, for sharing my photography and my writing even when it felt really really scary. I started writing a book! I saved a significant amount of money for the first time in my life, and I was very hydrated. It only took about 15 years for me to achieve those resolutions I set for myself decades ago in my bedroom in the dark.

  It’s the time of In/Out lists, and so many seem to be personal declarations on the wider cultural zeitgeist. I don’t feel like I have any ability to predict what other people like, but for me:

This New Year, I want to Venmo my friends money for coffee when I’m thinking about them. I want to be the type of person who bakes things and bikes them to the people I love just because. I want to use my library card more, I want to read every book in the world. I want to clean my camera roll out every week so the screenshots of things I forgot the significance of don’t rot in my phone. I want to touch grass, I want to climb outside, I want to swim in the ocean, I want to bury my face in the my dog’s fur more. I want to stick my head out the window of a moving car. I want to play frisbee on the beach. I want to rediscover my sense of joy in style, of feeling expressed in what I wear, even when it feels too cold to do so. I want to finally cook recipes from the cookbooks I collect that sit and collect dust. I want to play more records. 

I want to go on impromptu walks with my friends more. I want to be free of the prison of expectations. I want blind confidence. Big statements. I want to follow through. I want to believe that I am capable of anything I want. I want to save money. I want to buy myself things when it feels right, without guilt. I want loud house music in a dark club, eyes closed, occasionally bumping limbs with someone I love. I want to submerge myself in an open body of water, surfacing and feeling my feet kick against nothing. I want to say hi to people on the street I know even if it feels uncomfortable. I want to listen to my body. I want to hear people make a lot of noise because they recognize that the wellbeing of others is tied to their own. I want peace for the people who are suffering. I want safety, joy and community. I want everyone else to have that. 

Happy new year. <3